West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEEK took place in Belfast at the weekend shining the spotlight on all the must have fashion for Spring/Summer 2015 while showcasing the best high street stores and top designers that are setting the sartorial trends for this season.
FASHIONWEEK opened on Thursday night, in the quirky surroundings of the BFW headquarters on Bruce St, with the ‘Sunday Life Cover Girl Show’. Ten beautiful girls took to the catwalk, some for the first time, as they competed for an array of prizes including a modelling contract with CMPR Models. The final ten had been selected from hundreds of hopefuls and not only was the competition an amazing opportunity for the contestants but a number of girls declared how it helped them with confidence issues and to embrace their natural beauty! The girls braved the catwalk in swimwear before strutting their stuff in the latest looks from fashion sponsor Castlecourt. It was a difficult decision for the judges but the top three girls who will be heading to sunny Portugal for a photoshoot in a bid to win the Cover Girl competition title are Rebekah Wallace, Lauryn Greer and Aimee Boyle.
The second night of FASHIONWEEK, the ’Designers and Boutiques’ show saw the fashionistas of Northern Ireland out in force at the sold out show. More than 200 looks walked the runway representing the latest lines from seventeen designers and boutiques including Diamond Dolls, Blush and Sara O’Neil. Chic store, Jourdan, showcased beautiful evening gowns with embellished crystal necklines, head dresses and a black midi dress that would have made Fashion icon Audrey Hepburn hand over her credit card without hesitation.
Mimi’s Roadtrip made their debut runway appearance with springfloral dresses, blazers and shorts. FASHIONWEEK regular, Grainne Maher, was back with her signature Perspex accessories from head pieces to necklaces, which are guaranteed to complete any outfit this season. If, however, you’re like me and not one for bright colours and cute patterns designer L’OR DOME has all your monochrome needs from fitted black leather jackets to white wool capes and even leather legwarmers. Or if you are looking for evening wear Belfast School of Art graduate, designer Chloe Dougan’s collection of black Ostrich feather neck pieces, black pleated skirts, lace dresses and embellished capes don’t only scream high fashion but each piece exudes feminine sensuality. In the words of Fashion Queen, Coco Chanel, ‘Women think of all colours except the absence of colour. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.’ And I could not agree more, whatever the season!
The third and final night was the ‘High Street Fashion’ show, by far the most popular of the three nights. Nine stores, The Outlet, Oasis, Excel, Castlecourt, Remus Uno, Warehouse, M&S, DV8 and Next, showcased a number of on trend outfits that aren’t going to break the bank. If Belfast FASHIONWEEK proved anything it was that affordable doesn’t mean tacky. It was feminine glamour that dominated the catwalk in the form of brightly coloured blouses, scallop hem playsuits and floral printed midi dresses. The highlight of the night for me was M&S. I was pleasantly surprised by the intense bright colours and appealing fashion trends for the younger audience from the raspberry fitted trouser suit, Jade Green fitted Pencil Dress, to the must have colour this season, yellow skinny jeans, roll-up shorts and A-line dresses. I tell you something your Granny’s been on to something shopping in M&S all these years!
For most women in the audience it was the hunky male models that stepped on to the catwalk that attracted their attention, I swear there was an audible gasp from a number of people and even a cheeky wolf whistle when one of the models stepped out in nothing more than swim shorts to the audiences delight.
All in all it was a glamourous and inspiring three nights of FASHIONWEEK and an amazing platform for stores, boutiques and designers alike. The only downside? You’ll be left wanting one of everything!
By Sabrina Egerton
Gallery photography by Stephen Potter