Belfast’s leading designer Una Rodden took a welcomed creative risk last season, opting to take a step away from the catwalk and showcase her opulent couture and bespoke gowns and garments in an intimate and innovative fashion installation. A risk that certainly paid off, proving a major hit with the fashion fanatics of Northern Ireland and so it is no surprise to find Una moving forward for SS14 with the best of both worlds, combining a mini model installation and her own full blown fashion show in the recently launched Aether & Echo.
Entitled ‘Usine’, the French word for ‘Factory’, the 36 piece collection kicked off proceedings with the glamorous six models standing statuesque as guests viewed an up close and personal peek into every aspect of the world of Una Rodden. The first six looks were styled exclusively by fashion stylist Jamie Russell, utilising elements of trademark Una Rodden signature body work, incorporating drapes and layers in a bondage style ‘futuristic warrior princess’ theme as belts, harnesses, fringed neck pieces, capes, robes and toga infused silhouettes flowed through every single piece on display.
Then the metallics arrived. Wave after wave of crisp gold, soft copper peaches and bright sheen turquoise, taking pastels to a whole new level. Followed swiftly by a minimal chic injection of the monochrome variety as lasercut leather tops, a mesh panelled sweater and black and white laser lace dresses all sashayed their way down the runway in tremendous cutting edge fashion.
My favourite pieces included a white leather avant garde apron dress and a metallic printed skirt. Not to mention local artist Sara O’Neill collaborated with Una, designing a capsule range of hand-drawn prints all incorporated into eloquent capes, oversized maxi dresses and loose hanging flowing silhouetted tops.
The final look was naturally the show stopper, a majestic and opulent embellished black lace number complete with bird-like structured wings and a Gatsby inspired gold fringing detail in the form of a metallic fringed neckpiece. By the end, there was very little to say to designer Una Rodden other than ‘congratulations’ and ‘well done on yet another successful show and awe inspiring collection.’
A stunning fashion film was also screened on the night, directed by Una Rodden Campaign photographer Neil Kerr who previously collaborated with Una on her AW13 showcase. The clip accompanied the ‘Usine’ collection with a heavenly, hypnotic and hallucinogenic film fit for high-fashion’s finest.
Overall, a tremendous event pushing the boundaries of Northern Ireland’s ever-growing and ever-evolving fashion scene and a designer worthy of the uttermost praise and prestige.
Written by Lewis Cameron
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Photography: Stephen Potter
Designs: Una Rodden ‘Usine’ Collection SS14
Styling: Jamie Russell
Hair: Andrew Mulvenna
Make-Up: DJ Griffin
Models: Aoife Malone, Joanna Cooper, Emma Zacharopoulou, Emma Cusack, Alana Fullerton and Jane McKenzie