Belfast Telegraph

West Coast Cooler FashionWeek back for thirteenth season

Ireland’s leading fashion extravaganza, West Coast Cooler FashionWeek, launched its eighth year and thirteenth season of exciting shows and fashion events recently.

Celebrating Spring/Summer 2012’s key trends including pastels, sports luxe and shimmer, the programme – which runs from 14-18 March - includes three days of catwalk shows, master classes, the Culloden’s Fashion Teas and the popular Style Sunday event - and it promises to have something to suit fashion fans of all ages and tastes.

Director of Belfast FashionWeek, Cathy Martin, said: “Our exciting programme will include breath-taking catwalk shows featuring stunning models styled to perfection by the most fashion forward retailers and designers. Then we’ll also introduce our free kids’ fashion seminar in conjunction with the Belfast Children’s Festival as well as our now popular daytime events - Style Sunday at James Street South restaurant with exciting new store Please Don’t Tell and designer Una Rodden as well as the Culloden Hotel’s Fashion Teas in association with luxury retailer CRUISE.”

And from Belfast independents to those from right across Northern Ireland at FashionWeek, Cathy also introduced the wide range of independent stores and designer boutiques which would be showing at FashionWeek saying: “On opening night we pass the catwalk gauntlet to our stunning regional designer boutiques, giving them the chance once again to wow audiences with their latest ranges. Boutique stores include Logans of Cloughmills, Candy Plum in Hillsborough, Notaria in Larne, Diamond Dolls in Banbridge, Yoke, Jourdan and Blush in Belfast and Armani at The OUTLET in Banbridge. Also from the OUTLET, we’ll have collections from DKNY, Calvin Klein underwear and Chloe – as well as many others.”

“We’ll also host local design talent in the form of talented milliners John Paul from Derry and Belfast’s very own Grainne Maher. Lizzie Agnew, Maria Cardenas, Lisa McCabe, Zoe Boomer and Una Rodden will also showcase their collections while newcomers Ruedi Maguire and Dave Henderson will also host their edgy dress styles.

“For our high street catwalk night we’ll see Spring/Summer collections from online fashion store boohoo.com as well as French Connection, Exhibit, Marks & Spencer, George at Asda, and stores including Oasis, LK Bennett, Kurt Muller and Pilot from The Outlet in Banbridge. CastleCourt stores GAP, New Look, Designers at Debenhams, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins and Republic will also showcase.

“Our official legwear sponsor theRightTights.co.uk will ensure our models’ outfits throughout FashionWeek are accented perfectly with their gorgeous tights as well as bang-on-trend pop socks and ankle socks. Likewise eyewear partner William Morris will certainly have the eye on trend as their latest collections complement the fashion looks on display.”

Sarah Harvey from FashionWeek’s sponsor West Coast Cooler commented on the eight year partnership saying: “The ideal choice for a night out with friends or a fun night at home, West Coast Cooler matches perfectly with the ethos of FashionWeek, providing a chic and refreshing accessory to the style on the catwalk. And we are very much looking forward to seeing what’s on trend for Spring Summer 2012.”

As well as the main catwalk shows, the programme also welcomes a new fringe event this season – and one that budding fashion stars of the future can enjoy – as the team at FashionWeek have paired up with Belfast Children’s Festival and The Fashion Souk to host a free designer master class for children aged between 10 and 13 who have a passion for fashion design and style.

Alyson McElroy, from The Fashion Souk, whose design team will deliver the event in association with local designers said: “The event, being held at The Europa FASHIONWEEK Centre on Friday 16 March, is totally free and will give the kids exclusive behind the scenes access to the hottest fashion show in town as well as giving them the opportunity to interact with experts and professionals involved in showcasing a top fashion event.”

Back by popular demand are the Fabulous Fashion Teas at the Culloden Estate and Spa featuring clothing from designer retailer, Cruise in Victoria Square.

Cathy told guests at the launch what to expect: “In October last year over 100 ladies enjoyed an afternoon of teas, delicious sandwiches, pastries and chic cakes, as well as a welcome cocktail from West Coast Cooler and of course an intimate look at some very cool designer collections from Cruise. This was a sell-out very early on last season, so we would recommend anyone wanting to book a place to do so sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. The show is personally compered by charming store manager and seasoned stylist Stephen Mageean who is fantastic at reading body shapes and answering personal styling dilemmas for ladies of all shapes, sizes and shopping budgets. Tickets cost £30 and can be purchased by calling the Culloden directly on 02890 421066.”

Style Sunday at James Street South restaurant, on 18 March, also makes a welcome return this season as the event finale, and will feature stunning fashions from Lisburn Road Boutique, Please Don’t Tell, as well as seasonal style tips from top Northern Ireland designer, Una Rodden. The chic event, which supports charity Mencap, features a delicious three course luncheon designed by chef Niall McKenna, and also hosts some of Northern Ireland’s top make-up and hair experts. This season, the team from Cloud 9 hair products – official hair partner for FashionWeek- will produce some serious session hairstyles for the guests while FashionWeek’s charming and entertaining official make-up artist Paddy McGurgan will talk make up for the Spring 2012 season. Places are £45.00 per person and can be booked directly through the restaurant on 028 9043 4310.

Throughout the week, breast cancer charity Pretty‘n’Pink will collect funds at all shows to support women who need to feel better about themselves after undergoing debilitating breast cancer surgery or treatment.”

The full show schedule is available online at www.facebook.com/belfastfw or at www.belfastfashionweek.com along with details of this season’s trends plus links to all participant retailers and sponsors. Catwalk tickets, which cost £15.00 (or £20 for a limited number of exclusive front row seats) are available from the Belfast Welcome Centre on 02890246609 or via the website. Ticket price includes a fabulous goodie bag and a refreshing West Coast Cooler.

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