Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Fashionweek day two - boutique chic

Sophisticated styles take the spotlight as our leading fashion houses reveal what's in store

By Francis Burscough

It's day two of Belfast Fashionweek - and the entire team moved lock, stock, and barrel across town to the impressive Europa Conference Centre on Glengall Street to present the new collections from Northern Ireland's most exclusive designer boutiques.



And this show proved to be as sophisticated and elegant as the previous night's - staged in the underground carpark of Victoria Square - had been street-wise and edgy.

The stunning models from the Alison Campbell Agency took to the all-white runway in a riot of colours and styles for spring/summer 2011 and the impact and contrast was quite spectacular.

But don't worry if you missed the live shows. Everything on the catwalk last night is available today in a store near you; just remember to bring your credit card. Or your 'sugar daddy'.

Here are my favourite pieces of the night, hot off the runway:

e Rio/Brazil - From the doyenne of British couture, Vivienne Westwood's Anglomania label included a typically eccentric but beautifully-tailored cocktail dress in pearl silk taffeta with gun-metal ribbon stripes and a giant pussy-cat bow. Perfect for a summer wedding or a day at Down Royal.

e CandyPlum of Hillsborough - Another cocktail dress caught my eye from the Wonderland Collection, in vivid coral pink (this season's hottest shade) sequins and satin, set against a petticoat of ivory silk voile. Super short but ultra chic.

e The Wardrobe at Ballyclare - My favourite piece from this collection was a full-length corseted gown fashioned from mint green satin, featuring a fabulously frivolous overskirt in rainbow-coloured silk tulle.

e Sarah-Jane Boutique (Magherafelt) - Sarah-Jane Matthews never fails to impress with her sumptuous bridal and eveningwear. My pick of her newest range is a ballerina gown in ivory silk tulle with gorgeously ornate embroidery at the bodice and an ostrich feather-trimmed bolero.

e The Boudoir at Dungannon - One of the most stunning dresses of the evening was possibly the most simple. From the exclusive Gina Bacconi collection, this classic body-con dress came in vibrant jade green silk georgette, swathed and draped across the body in soft but figure-hugging pleats.

e Una Rodden - The former Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year is still going from strength to strength and can always be relied upon to generate a few gasps from the audience with her dramatic designs. A high point of the show was her Grecian gown in shimmering blush-tinted satin featuring a long, billowing train for maximum catwalk impact.

Millinery, jewellery and accessories were courtesy of the brilliant Grainne Maher; make-up was the work of our own celebrity columnist Paddy McGurgan, and up-and-coming designer Lizzie Agnew ended the show with great aplomb, showing a fabulous Queen of Hearts grande-finale outfit in scarlet silk dupion. Fresh from a front row seat at the show, designer Lizzie Agnew raved: "The event has allowed local designers, like myself, a chance to showcase their designs to a much wider audience."

Fashionweek continues tonight with the high street show where brands such as French Connection, Exhibit, One & Hot Diamonds will all hit the catwalk.

e For further information on show schedules, tickets, links to participant retailers and designers, as well as the season's hottest trends, log on to www.belfastfashionweek.com.

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