Local looks at Fashionweek

Published Wednesday, 24 October 2012
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The last of Belfast Fashionweek’s catwalk shows is over, and it’s left me harking back to the excitement of Saturday’s display of talent from Northern Ireland’s local designers.

I was lucky enough to take in the NI designer boutique show on Thursday (which I've blogged about here) where niche stores across the region displayed designer labels.

I've also been checking out reworked furniture at ReFound, which saw some well-known NI names take regular pieces and make them into something really special.

And luckily for any shows that you may have mised, it's possible to pour over each and every piece in photographs from some of the week's other events, but as well as soaking up the styles in the shops this season, Fashionweek gave me a chance to check out what's going on in Belfast's street style scene.

From hair to clothes and accessories, time was taken thinking over each outfit that walked through the doors of the Fashionweek centre, and it's clear that we're growing as a fashionable nation. It's definitely not confined to the women - as the (few) men I saw were also looking rather natty.

But, for me, Saturday night's local designers event was the highlight. It's a chance to check out the talent coming out of the region, and despite our generally unassuming nature, it's safe to say the pieces I saw on Saturday were extremely impressive.
BFW Stephen Mageean finishes the show.

The local fashion scene is flourishing and these designers mixed textures and pattern, while adding rich blocks of colour to rework some classic designs.

Jude Cassidy displayed her sense of humour as well as her textile design skills with a gorgeous grey scarf combining different fabrics, which I think would be perfect for an elegant off-duty look or accompanying a simple shift dress. Why did I giggle when it came down the runway? Could it really be named anything other than Fifty Shades of Grey...

BFW Fifty shades of grey by Jude Cassidy.

I was excited to see Mary Callan Knitwear after admiring her pieces at a previous fashion week and I was not disappointed this autumn/winter. Her take on twinsets and finely knitted jumpers contrasted beautifully with metallic pencil skirts, in pieces I could imagine wearing at work and on days out.

NorLisa's pieces showed her standard passion for flowing skirts and bright colours, and my imagination was captured by a bodice accented with a spray of autumnal feathers.

Fascinators from Grainne Maher Millinery were on display with the recent addition of matching clutches and Grainne's Perspex jewellery range Pluck and Devour, and her heavily studded red bib and cuff set against a dark but feminine feathered fascinator.

BFW Grainne Maher Millinery and Pluck and Devour jewellery.

Fellow milliner John Paul's pieces in bold colours and patterns stood out against his dresses. The Derry designer, who is known for creating bespoke headwear, also impressed with his John Paul Couture pieces which mixed vintage styles with modern fabrics.

Ruedi Maguire is fast making a name for himself in his native Belfast and beyond, with his label Ruedi, which displays the designer's obvious appreciation of what works on a woman's body and love of fabric.

The contrast of the satin skater-style skirt with sheer shirt and black leather belt was one of the evening's key pieces. With its beautifully combined mix of fabrics and feminine silhouette, the tough appearance of the outfit captured so many of this winter's trends.

BFW Ruedi by Ruedi Maguire.

Designers from fashion studio Unify (who I spoke to earlier this year) also had the chance to see their pieces on the runway at Belfast Fashionweek. David Henderson's quirky dresses were followed by pieces from Sean Henry's Van Der Simon range that verge on optical illusion, while Shauna Fay stayed true to form with her elegant dresses.

Northern Ireland fashion heavyweight Una Rodden smashed the brocade trend with black and gold dominating the catwalk, and contrasted slim pencil skirts with flowing tops. Stephen Mageean mixed floor length backless dresses with cropped woven jackets and obi belts.

BFW Stephen Mageean.

Part of the excitement of Fashionweek is the build-up and what I'm going to wear, but as soon as the first model steps onto the catwalk, my thoughts turn to how I can make this trend work for me. So I'm taking home knee-length pencil skirts, rich pops of colour and mixing fabrics from leather and fur to jersey and silk.

© UTV News
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Sara Neill
Sara Neill

Sara Neill joined UTV's Webteam as an online journalist in 2011, previously having worked for radio and print outlets.

She has covered a range of topics, from the Saville Report to the Royal Wedding or new sounds on Northern Ireland's music scene and fashion shows.

In her spare time, she likes to read poetry and 1960s American literature and blog about all things makeup, hair and beauty.

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