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Battle of the weather forecasters

IT took a leprechaun to take down Jean Byrne.

The RTE weatherwoman's kooky outfits have solidified her status as a star to be reckoned with, but little did she realise that her style choices would spark a fashion war with a rival station.

TV3 has declared fashion war against Byrne after her unusual outfits have forced weather presenters across the board to up their style.

Weatherman Deric Hartigan (29), who works between TV3 and 3e, revealed that because of Jean's style, all presenters are being scrutinised for their outfit choices.

But he said that he spotted her emerging style two years ago when she wore an over-the-top silver number for a Christmas broadcast.

"To be honest, I think she looks just fantastic," he said.

"I remember seeing an outfit she wore at Christmas two years ago, that was this silver dress, and it just seems that ever since then she has caught attention.

"I think she wears these really cool outfits, which puts attention on all of us a little bit. Obviously her being a girl and me being a guy, I can't dress like her, but it does force everyone to up their game.

"I do my own style on 3e, I don't wear suits or ties, I just wear what works -- a lot of high street and stuff I have myself."



SHIVERS

And Jean's unique style has become so scrutinised that only wearing a leprechaun outfit could rival her in the style stakes.

Deric sported his homemade leprechaun outfit on St Patrick's Day last week, in a bid to inject some humour into his daily forecast.

Despite the burgeoning style war, he insisted that there were no hard feelings between them, and he had never even met Jean, whom he described as being the "Oprah of the weather world".

"I'd love to meet her, I'm good friends with Audrey McGrath and I'd know Nuala Carey, but I've never met Jean. She is like the Oprah of the weather world. She is the queen of all weather fashion."

And while Jean's outfits have sent shivers down fashion critics' spines, one woman who loves her style is emerging designer Claire O'Connor, who regularly dresses the RTE star.

Although critics have been poking fun at Jean's quirky style, Claire is getting the best publicity of her career.

The Grafton Academy graduate told the Herald that Jean contacted her after seeing her pieces in the Design Centre in Powerscourt Shopping Centre last year.

"She came across my work in the Design Centre and we got in contact only in the last few months -- I've been making pieces for her since," she said.

"Some would be [custom made], others are that she bought off the peg. I think she carries them really well, she's really stylish. It's great to have her wearing them."

cmcbride@herald.ie