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Top hat designer Grainne Maher opens new boutique in Spires

By Audrey Watson

Award-winning milliner and jewellery designer Grainne Maher has opened her first permanent retail outlet in the Spires Mall, Belfast.

The move follows the success and expansion of Ms Maher's home-based, online business and a concession in House of Fraser in Belfast.

The new boutique, Grainne Maher: Fashion Vault builds on Proof - her previous pop-up venture - and will stock a range of independent fashion and accessory labels from Ireland and the UK, as well as Ms Maher's millinery creations and Pluck & Devour jewellery range.

Fashion Vault customers will also be able to commission made-to-order millinery and hire hats.

A regular exhibitor at London Fashion Week, the Belfast designer's work has featured on magazine covers and in television adverts.

Dame Mary Peters wore one of her designs to Buckingham Palace to receive her MBE and in 2011, Hollywood actress Selena Gomez wore one of Maher's pendants onstage at the MTV music awards in Belfast, garnering worldwide attention.

"Consumers are looking for something different and are keen to support up-and-coming talent," Ms Maher said.

"My online business will continue, but I've found the perfect venue to house my own studio and retail space, and also provide a platform for the incredible independent Irish and UK-based designers who have something unique to offer shoppers. I have some great local designers stocked in the shop, as well as talent from the Republic of Ireland, whose designs are not available anywhere else in Northern Ireland."

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