Belfast Telegraph

End of little black dress at West Coast Cooler Belfast Fashion Week

By Frances Burscough

Fashion this season is all about extremes, from the sublime to the ridiculous, real or fake, massive or miniscule.

For example hem lengths are either very long maxi or very short mini; silhouettes are flowing and drapy, or structured and shapely; colours are vivid and bright or pale and barely-there; textures are opulently encrusted or transparently sheer; fabrics are super synthetic or just as nature intended.

And c'mere, there's more. Remember that wardrobe stalwart the LBD? Forget it.

This season we're being liberated from the dark side and the incarnation for the coming summer is the all-new little white dress. (LWDs? Sounds like an excuse for war ...)

So it seems that designers and dedicated followers of fashion alike are daring to be diverse in 2010 and the results are fascinating to behold.

Such was certainly the case last night at the second sell-out show of West Coast Cooler’s Belfast Fashion Week at the historic Old Bank Building in the Cathedral Quarter.

Proving that opposites really do attract, the result was like a Hadron Collider-scope (sorry-couldn't resist) of clashing colours and contrasting themes.

Statuesque models clacked down the mirrored catwalk in skyscaper stilettos or slinked softly in bohemian bare feet to present the latest looks available here and now for women in the know.

More specifically, this was the chance for some exclusive designers to get their awe in and strut their stuff. Luxury labels from Belfast store Cruise included a fabulous capsule collection from the inimitable grande-doyenne de la mode, Vivienne Westwood as well as the evening wear wonderwoman Diane Von Furstenberg. Silk presented some exquisite numbers by Sonia Rykiel and Valentino for those with a more expensive taste.

Also on show were some smaller more exclusive boutiques from across Northern Ireland including Candy Plum of Hillsborough, Blush of Newry, Atelier, Harrison and Jourdan, all showcasing their Spring/ Summer 2010 collections.

>>Video: Gary Grattan checks out the catwalk action>>



As with Day One, some specific colours came across loud and clear, including vibrant pinks such as fuchsia and coral, florals such as rose red and cornflower blue, shimmering metallics in silver, gold and bronze as well as midnight blue and brilliant white.

But for me a highlight of the show was the couture collection by Belfast's star designer (and former Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year) Una Rodden, who showed a truly stunning array of Grecian-inspired column dresses and tunics fashioned from sheer silks and satins — in neutral shades with an occasional flash of coral — which draped and flowed with absolute perfection across statuesque models.

She was delighted with the event and the reception that she received: “Belfast is becoming increasingly more cosmopolitan and this year’s Fashionweek underlines this and proves that our own fashion industry is worthy of international limelight. Not only were we treated to a state-of-the-art show brimming with inspiration but the surroundings were amazing.”

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