Fashion designer Pat Crowley on survival, success and bringing her business to America.

Leading fashion designer Pat Crowley has dressed the great and the good of Irish society, but when recession hit she had to change tack, and set her sights on the American market.

I was in dire straits.

With help from friends and acquaintances Pat Crowley quickly established herself in the United States, where she was surprised by the difference between American women and customers this side of the Atlantic,

They know what they want. They know where they are going to wear it. They know exactly what to do and how they want to look.

Pat Crowley sells directly to her customers, and prefers this business model to that of dealing with boutiques or stores. In the last twelve months she has made ten trips to the US. Her mainly wealthy clientele means she stays only in high-end hotels.

Even if you can't afford it, you must stay in the best place.

The fashion business changes constantly however,

You've got to keep getting new customers while you have your little nest of people who support you all the time.

Thanks to her decision to bring her designs to the American market Pat Crowley has been able to stay in business and take on more staff. Olivia Treacy models a dress called 'The Islander' inspired by how the other half live,

They visit islands like Mustique, Santo Domingo, and they go for weekends, private jets, can you imagine?

This episode of The Late Late Show was broadcast on 27 February 1987. The presenter is Gay Byrne.