It’s a double dozen this October as West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK reaches its twenty fourth season.
The now iconic event, which is firmly fixed in the social calendar, will see four days of fantastic fashion from 26-29 October with the main runway shows taking place at a new home in St. Anne’s Cathedral – meaning longer catwalks, more space and lots of interesting backdrops for photos – both of the fashion on the runway and of the guests in their stylish looks.
As well as the runway shows at St Anne’s, there will also be the popular weekend events, including Sushi Saturday at Zen, Style Sunday and a new ‘F Words’ brunch on the rooftop at Bullitt, featuring speakers including Tiffany Brien, Kim Constable, Maria Rafferty and ‘Gluten Free Fi’ talking Fashion, Fitness, Food & being Female.
Shows will include collections from several boutiques including Ruby 67, Cameo, Lisa’s Attic and In Chlomo as well as staples Jourdan, Blush and Spoilt Belle. Designers Angela Sloan and AKANI are among newcomers on the local design radar. The high street show will open with a fantastic collection of lingerie by Victoria Square’s Boux Avenue as well as a Debenhams’ Designers at Debenhams showcase, including some special pieces from Julien McDonald, Henry Holland and John Rocha. And after some affordable fashion by George, the style team will also show the top picks from the very best of online and the high street including TopShop, Zara, ASOS & Boohoo as well as French Connection, Oasis, Jigsaw & Karen Millen, among others. Finally, this season, family will come first as there will also be childrenswear from DIGG Fashion in Dungannon, Bluebird in Ballymena and Bambinos in Donegal.
Fresh out of a summer at Vogue’s intensive summer course, director Cathy Martin is excited about the colours and textures on the catwalk. “I’m looking forward to seeing local retailers and designers showing off all the colours, silhouettes and textures which we saw at the international shows. From fiery red shades like those seen on Gigi Hadid at MaxMara, to deep Burgundy and Bordeaux colours which were prevalent at the Burberry and Mulberry shows; plus there will be plenty of futuristic metallics as seen at Chanel and Balenciaga as well as total texture clashes which took over the runway at Gucci’s super maximalist show.
“We always try to make our shows a true example of fashion theatre. And as people move towards more experiential activities, our events allow them to really engage with fashion first hand. We’ll have our usual complimentary West Coast Coolers for every guest at the show as well as a William Morris eyewear ‘Specs Appeal’ pop up, where style spotters will seek out the best dressed guests, who’ll win sunglasses and eyewear. There will also be a beautiful Versace wallpaper backdrop for photos courtesy of Noblett’s as well as other beauty, boutique and designer pop ups for guests’ enjoyment before and after the shows themselves.
“Our hair partner is the Lisburn Road’s newest salon, Monet Hair, and L’Oréal Colour Trophy winner Lee Stinton will lead the creative direction alongside Paddy McGurgan on make up, who’ll be supported by global cruelty free make up brand Illamasqua, so I’m excited to see what this creative team comes up with – they’re even talking about a fantasy hair and make up show to round off one of the St Anne’s catwalk shows. I hope that vision comes to life!”
Paddy and Lee will also be speaking at the flagship ‘Style Sunday’ event on 29 October at James Street South. The sumptuous style luncheon will close FASHIONWEEK and round off a month of activities by Action Cancer for breast cancer awareness month. The event will showcase top stylist picks from Blush Boutique in Belfast as well as the trend masterclass from hair partner Monet Hair and Illamasqua at Make Up Pro Stores. Plus, there will be an Illamasqua gift for every guest as well as West Coast Cooler cocktails on arrival.
Brand manager Laura Shiels from title sponsors West Coast Cooler commented: “Here at West Coast Cooler we are excited to continue our participation with Belfast FASHIONWEEK. Celebrating individuality and creativity is something we are passionate about and we cannot wait to see what the new season has in store. Amazing campaigns like our #WCCStyleSquad gives us a great opportunity to integrate our audience with our brand activity and allows us to interact with all of our fashion-savvy consumers”
The full show schedule is available online at belfastfashionweek.com along with details of this season’s trends plus links to all participant retailers and sponsors.