Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Fashionweek finishes with a flourish

By Frances Burscough

The ladies who lunch were out in force yesterday for the last day of Belfast Fashionweek — and talk about going out in style!

An exclusive gathering of our most trend-conscious movers and shakers gathered in ultra-chic James Street South restaurant for the Style Sunday Mencap charity lunch, when the city’s top stylists present their fashion forecasts and tips of the trade for Spring/Summer 2011.

As the complimentary West Coast Cooler cocktails, wine and gossip flowed (very liberally indeed), statuesque models sashayed between the tables in a variety of styles and looks from the ultra-upmarket boutique Cruise (pictured below).

Meanwhile, its fashion director Stephen Mageean talked us through every nuance of the new season, giving Gok Wan a run for his money.

World famous designer names on show included Hugo Boss’s trendy Orange & Red labels, Vivienne Westwood, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and the most magnificent matriarch of them all, Vivienne Westwood.

After a starter of seared scallops, cured salmon and basil aioli that looked as pretty as a picture and tasted like the dreams I have after watching Masterchef, our own beauty columnist Paddy McGurgan took centre stage to explain all the new cosmetic trends, techniques and colour palettes of the new season. He’s such a knowledgeable and talented guy, and I could have listened to him all afternoon.

A main course of succulent Duck a l’Orange with a trio of vegetables (which coincidentally matched all the summer’s new fashion shades, I noticed), went down with relish before we were treated |to another of |tailored cocktail wear, perfect for a day at the races or a summer wedding.

Then we were treated to an eveningwear collection designed by Belfast’s own award-winning couturier Una Rodden, whose full ranges had given such a dramatic and theatrical flourish to Fashionweek’s catwalk shows earlier in the week.

A mouth-watering white chocolate crème brulee served with coffee was accompanied by a fascinating hair presentation by the celebrity stylist Denise McCluskey, from Belfast city centre’s hidden gem of a hair salon, Michele International.

Her creations were all beautifully feminine for spring and summer, with an emphasis on soft, wand-created curls combined with the new short, blunt fringe. Denise’s tip for the day: the new clip-on fringe, which allows you to transform your look without any dramatic measures.

Meanwhile, across the road at The Europa Fashionweek Centre, The Fashion Souk vintage clothing fair was taking place, where beady-eyed browsers enjoyed an afternoon of rummaging for relics from the recent sartorial past.

You thought it was all over? It is now.

The closing event of Belfast Spring/Summer ’11 took place yesterday evening with the Schwarzkopf Essentials Looks Tour, which arrived from International fashion weeks in London, Paris and Milan, and featured some of the UK and Ireland’s most celebrated hairdressers, including our own Paul Stafford and Denise McCluskey, as well as stylists from Michele International and Hair Traffic.

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