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With the end of the summer fast approaching, and a chill in the evening reminding us that autumn is just around the corner, I was more than happy to attend the official media launch for this year’s AW17 ‘WEST COAST COOLER FASHIONWEEK’. Where better to get a sneak peek at the trends and designs for the season ahead.
Now in its 24th season, this year’s launch was held @ The Bullitt Hotel in Church Lane (my favourite spot on a Saturday afternoon); and, while it might have been an Autumn/Winter launch, it was juxtaposed with the rather glorious sunny afternoon in the courtyard (nothing like moving the party al fresco).
Now firmly fixed, in the social calendar, this year will see four days of eye-opening and thought-provoking fashion, from 26-29 October, with the main runway shows taking place at its shiny new home, in St. Anne’s Cathedral (how cool is that?). This will mean longer catwalks, more space, and lots of interesting backdrops for photos; of both runway fashions and the guests, in their stylish looks.
As well as the runway shows, at St Anne’s, there’ll be the popular weekend events, including Sushi Saturday at Zen, Style Sunday and a new ‘F Words’ brunch (tickets purchased), on the rooftop at Bullitt (can’t wait to see this new space), featuring speakers including Tiffany Brien, Kim Constable, Maria Rafferty and ‘Gluten Free Fi’ (she’s so funny, and has an adorable pooch called Bruiser) talking Fashion, Fitness, Food & being Female.
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. There’ll be plenty of futuristic metallics, as seen at Chanel and Balenciaga, plus total texture clashes, which took over the runway at Gucci’s super maximalist show".
This year’s 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. Martin added, “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!”
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 Belfast’s Blush Boutique, as well as the trend masterclass from hair partner Monet Hair, and Illamasqua at Make Up Pro Stores. Plus, there’ll 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: “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”
How can I get tickets to WEST COAST COOLER FASHIONWEEK?
The full show schedule is available online at www.belfastfashionweek.com, along with details of this season’s trends; plus, links to all participant retailers and sponsors. Catwalk tickets for the main shows on 26 & 27 October, which cost £20 (or £30 for a limited number of exclusive front row seats), are available to purchase from Belfast Welcome Centre on 028 9024 6609 or via the website. For reserved seats and groups of four or more, the BFW team can take direct bookings - just call 02890421509 or email, to place an order and reserve seats.
Throughout the events, breast cancer charity Pretty‘n’Pink will collect funds, at all shows, to support women after undergoing debilitating breast cancer surgery or treatment. Action Cancer is the official charity partner for Style Sunday and funds raised with go towards their breast screening for women aged 40-49 and 70+ in Northern Ireland.
Part of me so badly wants to hang onto those warm summer days; but, whether I like it or not, the season of braving it without a jacket may well be over. See you all in October. XO
What I wore ...
Coat: Riana @ Peel, Bloomfield Avenue
Bag: Prada Saffiano