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The team with designs on making you look fabulous

A team of local experts in fashion, beauty and hair has come together to host a unique, all- encompassing style event for women across Northern Ireland.

Directory 14, sponsored by ALFAPARF Milano, is a three-day style extravaganza which aims to celebrate and concentrate on women of all ages, shapes and sizes.

The hands-on fashion experience will see some of the best-known names in the industry join forces to offer style, hair and make-up tips to women, ranging from teenagers to pensioners.

The Directory 14 team includes multi award-winning hairdresser Paul Stafford, former top model and style queen Nuala Meenehan, highly acclaimed fashion designer Una Rodden, Maureen Martin, former Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year and owner of Maureen Martin Model Management Styling and Stage Management, and Edna Gillen, co-founder of Models-eg model agency, Northern Ireland's first and only model agency specialising in models aged 35-40 plus and sizes 10-18.

Two bespoke master-classes will take place at the Ivory restaurant in Victoria Square, Belfast, starting on Tuesday, September 17, with advice, live demonstrations and insider tips from well-known Clarins make-up artist Claude Defresne.

The following evening, celebrity hair stylist Paul Stafford and designer-to-the-stars Una Rodden, whose creations have been worn by Nadine Coyle and Mischa Barton, will team up for a similar master-class on upcoming trends and styles to suit all sizes and shapes.

The Directory 14 finale will be a runway spectacular on Thursday, September 19, at Riddel Hall, Stranmillis, featuring the autumn/winter collections from Una Rodden, Evelin Brandt, Belfast and designer boutique Yoke, who will be showcasing their hot picks for the season ahead.

The night will begin with the unveiling of the four new faces of Directory 14 – four women chosen from across Northern Ireland who encapsulate style.

The women will be chosen by a panel of judges after taking part in a Directory 14 Style Search competition. Each will win £1,000 worth of prizes and will reflect the all-embracing theme of Directory 14.

The models used in the Directory 14 ad campaign and who will take part in the fashion show finale will also represent Northern Irish women in general.

The concept behind the event is to make style tips and trend advice available to all women and not just the young and hip followers of fashion.

Project co-ordinator Nuala Meenehan explains: "Many fashion events in Northern Ireland tend to attract mainly young women and those who follow the latest fashion trends, so we wanted to organise something that women of all ages could avail of.

"Our models will reflect a wide range of ages and sizes. One of them is 74 while another is a size 16. We want women to feel they're being represented by models they can relate to.

"At nearly 48 years of age, I'm lucky enough to still be regularly working as a model in Northern Ireland.

"The Directory 14 concept comes from the current trend for an increasing number of fashion designers, major high street fashion brands and well known retail outlets to use experience mature catwalk and commercial models, who offer a level of experience and charisma which is unparalleled.

"We started the concept before the much applauded Marks & Spencer campaign celebrating the best of British women, such as Grace Goddington and Helen Mirren. We want everyone to feel welcome at our event.

"It doesn't matter if you're a size 8 or 18, four foot or six foot, young or not so young. Directory 14 is for everyone, not just the fashionistas.

"This is for everyone who is interested in style, whatever your look or genre.

"Our experts will provide advice on everything from fashion, skincare, make-up and hair, tailored for your needs."

Joining Nuala on the Directory 14 team is Edna Gillen, who has been modelling for up to 25 years in the UK and Ireland. Edna began her career at Northern Irish agency Stages and has modelled for the likes of John Rocha and Paul Costelloe.

She has also featured in many commercial and advertising campaigns, the most recent being for The Outlet.

Edna co-founded Models-eg in response to a gap in the market for experienced, mature models.

The concept was further cemented by organisations such as All Walks Beyond The Catwalk, a UK-based organisation founded by former top model Erin O'Connor, former PR whizz Debra Bourne and fashion expert Caryn Franklin, to challenge fashion industry ideals and to promote diversity within the industry.

Edna says: "The Directory 14 concept evolved when like-minded, creative people from the industries of hair and fashion design, modelling and show production, came to the same conclusion that fashion, beauty and style should be inclusive, for all ages, all sizes and that more visibility of diverse beauty and body ideals should have a positive impact on self esteem for every woman. After all, style has no sell-by date.

"The team is aware that all demographics have a desire to be represented, that to narrow fashion and style imagery to a slim audience, pardon the pun, is now an outdated concept."

Edna said Directory 14 promised to be an "amazing programme of truly original and exciting style events", which hoped to change the face of local fashion and become an annual fixture in Northern Ireland's style calendar.

Award-winning hair stylist Paul Stafford, who will host a master-class with designer Una Rodden as part of the event, said he was keen to get on board.

"Directory 14 encapsulates all that is great about hair, beauty and fashion for women of all ages, incorporating developing trends and vision," he said.

"The focus is on the person within so the look is an expression of the individual, not the definition of her."

Belfast-based designer Una Rodden, who has been making her mark on the fashion industry for over a decade, adds: "I wanted to work on something completely new.

"What I love about the concept of Directory 14 is that it involves women of all ages and is reflective of all women. It's great to have a brand new platform to help showcase and celebrate other talent that's available."

The fifth member of the team is Maureen Martin, an original partner in Stages agency and founder of Maureen Martin Model Management/Show Production.

Maureen, who has worked with some of the most iconic designers in fashion, says: "Directory 14 began with a discussion between myself, Nuala and Edna, who both modelled with Stages and we agreed that one thing all women want to know about is how to dress at different ages to make the best of their individual style.

"Directory 14 is aimed at women of all ages whose individual style says something of the wisdom and pleasure of accepting trends regardless of age."

Maureen adds: "Throughout three unique events this month, Directory 14 will provide an opportunity to show women at their best, regardless of their age and shape."

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