Hottest new looks grace catwalk at Belfast Fashion Week
When CastleCourt Shopping Centre first opened its doors, Belfast was instantly transformed from a bit of a fashion backwater into the makings of a proper capital city.
Until then, inexplicably, there were noticeably fewer places to shop in our big city than an average small English town.
The big chains and street-wise names were inexplicably yet conspicuously absent and so keeping up with the international trends was easier said than done, unless you owned a sewing machine and/or private seamstress or better still, had your own light aircraft that would get you there and back to the mainland with plenty of room for carrier bags.
But that was then and this is now. And boy what a difference a decade (or two) makes!
Castlecourt is 20 years old this year (can you believe it?) and, along with the majestic Victoria Square, houses some of the most happening retailers in the UK, putting Belfast easily on par with any European fashion capital. And last night they were out in force, in day three of the West Coast Cooler Belfast Fashionweek.
The theme of the show was High Street Style and was the most colourful and exciting yet, with fabulous new looks from Benetton, French Connection, Liberty Blue, Lipsy, Argento, Marks & Spencer along with CastleCourt’s finest including Vero Moda, Dorothy Perkins, New Look, NV, Quicksilver and Designers at Debenhams.
But the most highly-anticipated highlight of last night’s show was a sneaky peak of styles from the fantastic new store Republic which is due to open on Monday, March 15 on the site of the former Zavvi/Virgin store on Donegall Place.
As you would imagine from such an array of labels, there was every imaginable variation on the season’s newest themes.
Lace is everywhere, in simple shift dresses and A-line tunics and colours are all palest pastels or hint-of-a-tint shades of peach, champagne or blush. The waistcoat returns and the maxi dress has been omnipresent all this week, with almost every label showing at least one.