It was a fabulous night that kicked off Belfast Fashion Week in a luxury suite in the Europa Hotel in Belfast city. The decor and atmosphere walking into the room were enough to excite anyone, even before the beautiful models took to the cream luxurious catwalk. As this blogger sat down on the clear Perspex and surprisingly comfortable seat with her free West Coast Cooler Citra, the anticipation was welling up and it didn’t disappoint me. As the lights dropped on the swathes of cream voile hanging from the ceiling, Katie Larmour took to the stage to MC the event and introduced the first collection for the Designers and Designer Boutiques show.
‘Candy Plum’ in Hillsborough was first to the stage, showcasing a gorgeous collection of autumnal colours including Sonia Rykiel for us to feast our eyes on. There were scarves, coats and jeans in lovely colours, reminding us that even with an apparent cruel winter ahead, we can still dress beautifully for it! There was a very cute brown duffle coat that had a hint of Paddington Bear about it, ideal to bring you through the winter months. A personal favourite of mine was a fur gilet that every girl in the audience wanted, teamed with jeans and boots, a fabulous look for any fashionista going into the cold weather. The whole showcase was very casual and very wearable, there were no pieces that shocked or offended, it was very safe but still covetable. There was even a Erdem style silk dress that I could see quite a lot of the audience mentally noting. The models used were absolutely gorgeous and anyone who was watching Britain and Irelands Next Top Model this year would have recognised the fabulous Stacey from our own Northern Ireland modelling.
Then it was the turn of ‘Silk’ Emporium based in Newry. The styles from Silk were a lot edgier and embraced the fetish trend from this season. There was a lot of silk used (who’d have thought), and there were looks vaguely reminiscent of both Kate Middleton and Kate Moss, not something you often see in one collection! The pieces had a very retro twist about them, there was a strong use of fur and zip detail and one jacket looked like it came straight off the set of Pirates of the Carribean. There was a gorgeous sequined mini-dress that caught my attention and their tan coat and matching accessories were to die for.
‘Sarah Jane’ Boutique from Magherafelt was next, with a collection that appealed to just about everyone. There were dresses and outfits that appealed to the more middle-aged market right down to girls in their teens. There were a couple of dresses that sported a very ruched effect and would be beautiful for both proms and cocktail parties and again there was a lot of fur in the collection. The beautiful model Finola wore a fabulous two piece suit in burnt orange, a cropped jacket and dress that instantly brings Jackie Onassis to mind. There were more casual looks as well with fur gilets and brown jodhpurs, unfortunately only for the slimmest of people but still beautiful pieces to add to an already brimming shopping list. The colours Sarah Jane had in their showcase were very bright and eye-catching compared to the earthy tones of some of the other collections and the use of sharp shouldered dresses and starry tights really widened their demographic for the night.
‘Elegance’ in Lurgan was next, showing items of Ralph Lauren and Moschino clothing. There were fabulous waterfall jackets and Ralph Lauren tweed jackets with velvet leggings. It looks like Elegance has embraced the Navajo trend, showing Native American style prints on cardigans. There were paisley dresses that screamed Jonathan Saunders Autumn/Winter 2011 and gorgeous jewel tones in azure and maroon. They had very comfortable-looking clothes too including cardigans, jeans and a gorgeous houndstooth coat in black and grey with bow details. Again, like ‘Candy Plum’, everything was very safe but looked luxurious and easy to wear. The last piece was the antithesis of the rest of the collection, a black stretchy style dress that scream ‘naughty nurse’ with gold zip details. It wasn’t my favourite piece but it did cause a stir with the audience.
‘Rebecca Jane’ had a very young looking collection and I could see a lot of the younger audience members faces light up when they saw the looks, mentally making Christmas lists in the back of their minds. There were grey shorts, navy high-waisted jeans, leather jackets and dresses with ra-ra skirts attached. Rebecca Jane were feeling the equestrian trend as they showcased brown jodhpurs with a brown blazer with elbow patches that are very current and fresh looking, I think we can thank Ms Middleton again for that! Like a lot of the collections, they were showing hats and scarves so we can remember to wrap up warm for the winter in serious style. There were also a few dresses that tied at the waist for a very youthful vibe, again appealing to the younger half of the audience. The last piece was a stunning black sequinned backless mini-dress that looked like it would marry your curves if it could. Teamed with a statement necklace, it closed the Rebecca Jane collection perfectly!
‘Paparazzi’ had some beautiful clothing next, especially the Valentino pieces. The first piece was a favourite of mine, a red Valentino coat with bow detail and flicked out at the bottom. It was a real statement piece but if anyone is looking to invest, this coat is the way to go! This boutique used a lot of metallic sheens which are very in this season, and teamed them with puffa jackets, which seemed a recurring theme throughout the show. There was a crested leather jacket that made the model look like a slim Hell’s Angel, but in an utterly fabulous way. A use of ruffles, leather and crunch effect pieces in the collection was popular and a lot of dresses that could be used as prom dresses, so if you’ve a prom or a dance coming up, you know where to look!
Next were the collections of lingerie provided by Orchid Lingerie, The Bra Boutique and The Lingerie Room. There was a gorgeous selection of balconette bra and knicker sets in delicate colours teamed with light tasteful stockings and fur coats. The models sported slips, negligees and camisole sets to showcase the luxuriousness of the designs
Grainne Maher Millinery came next, with a selection of individual and exciting pieces from her hat collection. There were berets, which are always very chic for the winter season due to the impeding bad weather and Jude Cassidy scarves with giant bobbles on the ends of them. There were hats that looked like buttons which were very like Marc Jacobs collection for A/W 2011 and headpieces that were sure to win you the best hat competition at the races. But the show-stopping piece was the ‘Medusa’ headpiece, a piece Lady GaGa would be proud to own, containing large green snakes, (obviously not real!) in a hair-shaped ball. Only photos can show the sheer beauty and erratic quality of this piece, so I’ve provided one!
Next came Una Rodden, a newer designer on the block. The collection contained a lot of blues, greys and browns, generally very earthy colours but there were splashes of orange and metallic as well. She showcased a beautiful black dress that was not unlike a costume from ‘Black Swan’ which was breathtaking, and although I’ll NEVER be able to afford if, it’ll be going down on the list anyway! Her style was very contemporary, built on classic pieces and made into beautiful modern designs, almost like architecture, not fashion.
Jourdan was second to last with a collection of very young, vibrant colours and animal prints. Again, like a lot of the other collections, there was a strong use of metallic and fur and crepe effect. There were Egyptian style body-con dresses, turbans, daisy appliqué evening gowns and cocktail dresses to die for. The pieces were a lot more youthful than some of the others and were aimed at the younger demographic but at the same time, were still absolutely gorgeous, and were a fresh take on some of the popular outfits choices at the moment.
Last, but certainly not least, was Blush. The boutique showcased a gorgeous selection of wedding dresses, including Jenny Packham. Personal favourites were the 20’s style beaded dress and the exquisite ‘Flower Bomb’ dress with a strapless sweetheart neckline. The dress inspired awe within every woman in the audience and the whole collection was very dramatic in a classy, sexy way.
The night was utterly fabulous from start to finish and the goodie bag was great, especially my collector’s edition Karl Lagerfeld Diet Coke bottle!
This blogger wore a houndstooth blazer, mans white shirt, wet look leggings and heel, loved my outfit! If you love it too, check it out on Lookbook and hype me
Stay tuned for Day 2 of BFW :)