Belfast Telegraph

Belfast riot of autumn chic for Fashionweek

By Frances Burscough

Belfast FashionWeek opens with several local collections.

Some of the colourful and spectacular fashions on display from Northern Ireland’s designers on day one of Belfast FashionWeek at the Europa Hotel last night.

West Coast Cooler’s Belfast FashionWeek kicked off in true style last night as the chic cognoscenti assembled in the impressive Europa Conference Centre for a much-anticipated first glimpse of the new season.

The imposing main hall had been transformed for the week into a modernist monochrome fashion parlour complete with a pristine white runway, swathed with translucent white voile drapes and bordered by gigantic black and white fashion stills.

And the stark simplicity of the stage set worked beautifully to accentuate the riot of colours and spectacular sparkle of the autumn/winter collections from Northern Ireland’s couturiers and designer boutiques.

Candy Plum of Hillsborough kicked off the evening with an array of soft knitwear in angora and Merino wool, coloured like the season in shades of rust, copper, mustard and terracotta.

My favourite dress from this collection was a damson velvet flapper-girl shift with ornate art deco embroidery at the bodice.

The Silk Emporium of Newry showed a return of the layered look with a collection featuring fine cable knits in cream, ivory, taupe and mushroom shades highlighted with black lace, tassels and pom-pom details.

Paparazzi of Lisburn brought a burst of colour onto the runway with a capsule collection of cherry and ruby red separates from the one and only maestro of intricate tailoring, Valentino.

Rebecca Jane boutique in Crossgar showed a very gentrified country look at the start of its collection, featuring tweeds, suedes and micro-corduroy in autumnal shades of earth, moss, clay and ginger. Fur stoles and shrugs once again appeared as did clever use of patchwork and quilting in an assortment of fabrics and textures.

Back to Belfast, and Jourdan of Lisburn Road showcased the clever use of asymmetric quilting in a number of garments, often with fur, fluting or ruffles at the neckline and in metallic shades and finishes.

The evening wear couturier and former Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year, Una Rodden, can always be relied on to make a magnificent and dramatic statement on the catwalk and last night was no exception. Her Grecian toga style gowns in finest silver tulle and georgette shimmered and billowed along the catwalk while her collection of column dresses in ornate midnight blue brocade made a fabulous contrast.

Fresh from a front row seat at the show, boutique store owner Pat Jourdan raved: “Belfast FashionWeek is the absolute highlight of each season as it allows local boutique owners, like me, a chance to showcase our designs to a wide audience.”

The fashion fun continues tonight with the High Street Heaven show.

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