With the launch of its nineteenth season, West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK is now firmly established as a key date in every stylista’s schedule. This season’s launch at the BFW HQ in Belfast brought a splash of colour to a cold and wet January, and with it, the announcement of the popular FASHIONWEEK programme. Returning from 19-22 March, with nightly catwalk shows plus the return of Sushi Saturday and Style Sunday, Ireland’s leading fashion event continues to lead in the style stakes.
FASHIONWEEK Director Cathy Martin said: “Following on from a fantastic and remarkable milestone with our ten year celebrations last season, I am excited about showcasing the very best of our local designers and independent boutiques as well as international high street names once again this March.”
“And, as well as the catwalk shows, our new HQ in Bruce Street will also host a pop-up sushi and cocktail bar, courtesy of Belfast’s favourite Japanese and Asian venue Zen. This stylish, pre-show eaterie is the perfect complement to our “shop the show” boutique alley, where show-goers can browse the latest catwalk collections as well as purchase fashionable gifts.
“In terms of trends for this season, we welcome back some of our all-time favourite trends to the catwalk for Spring. Fashion fans should prepare for an array of zingy colour with a palette of citrus bursts – especially bright yellows and lime greens – jumping to the fore. An eclectic mix of vintage prints and fabrics inspired by fashions of the 1970s will also abound, with full flared trouser silhouettes and belted in waists everywhere. For evening, feminine ballerina shapes and fabrics give a delicate alternative to the bolder stripes, prints and colours for day wear.
No stranger to fashion trends, high-street retailer Next’s PR Manager, Chantelle Craig has said: “Here at Next we are truly delighted to be back on board for what is sure to be another successful season at Belfast FASHIONWEEK. We are excited to showcase our latest collections, which include spring floral prints, zesty lemons and luscious limes, appealing to our more daring and vibrant customer. However, we have not forgotten about the fashion minimalists with a stunning pale palette collection consisting of nudes, greys and whites. This season’s trends gave us the perfect opportunity to play around with silhouettes and shape, so you can expect to see feminine fringing and a super stylish addition of cut-outs, mesh, lace and sheer fabrics.”
In terms of the main schedule, Friday 20 March will see the latest collections from local designers and independent boutiques on the runway. Confirmed to return are Blush and Jourdan from the Lisburn Road, Diamond Dolls and Spoilt Belle Boutique as well as designers Grainne Maher, Nor Lisa and Chloe Dougan, among others. FASHIONWEEK new-comers this season include Mimi’s Roadtrip boutique from Moy in Tyrone and The Style Retreat, Lisburn. Dundalk-based designer Gillian Leavy, as well as illustrator-turned-designer Sara O’Neill, who will showcase her Èadach collection, are also coming on board for the first time.
Preparing for her first season, illustrator Sara said: “I’m very excited to be involved in BFW SS15 because, although I’ve styled various BFW shows and shoots over the years, this season I’m taking part as a designer, showcasing my Èadach collection. I always love seeing my work on the catwalk as a stylist, but seeing my own designs up there is really wonderful.”
Following from the ever successful designer night, style proceedings continue with the High Street Heaven shows on Saturday 21 March, bringing the latest looks from the nation’s biggest and busiest stores including Next, Marks and Spencer, Jigsaw, The Outlet, Banbridge, Excel Clothing, DV8 Fashion, Oasis as well as Dorothy Perkins, New Look, Designers at Debenhams and Miss Selfridge from CastleCourt.
No stranger to the FASHIONWEEK format, CastleCourt Marketing Director Camila McCourt said: “As a centre, we are thrilled to continue our involvement in Belfast FASHIONWEEK this season. At CastleCourt, we pride ourselves on having a wide range of high-street stores that reach a varied audience from young, tall, petite and curvy, to those on a budget and those who want to flash their cash. FASHIONWEEK is the perfect platform for us to showcase what is on offer from our retailers – and we’re even more delighted to be announced as the official fashion partner of the iconic Belfast FASHIONWEEK/Sunday Life COVERGIRL competition this year too.”
Having made a special return as part of the ten year celebrations, budding models will be excited to hear of the continuation of the COVERGIRL competition. The team is seeking to find ten budding models – and one ultimate COVERGIRL – who will walk away with a host of amazing prizes including a stint on the catwalk at FASHIONWEEK in March and £1000 worth of fashion from CastleCourt plus return flights from airline partner Aer Lingus. Scouting days will take place in CastleCourt on 31 January and 07 February from 1-3pm. A team of judges will whittle down the entrants to ten finalists who’ll take part in a shoot for CastleCourt, then three lucky finalists from the ten will be shortlisted and whisked away for an all-expenses-paid destination shoot abroad courtesy of Aer Lingus and West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK.
For those unable to make the evening catwalk shows, the return of Sushi Saturday at the uber-chic Shiro is a welcome treat. The “Director’s Cut” fashion event showcases 36 of the best looks from across all shows at Belfast FASHIONWEEK, whilst guests enjoy a welcome West Coast Cooler cocktail and sushi platter – all for the bargain price of £25 per person.
Last, but definitely not least, the schedule will close in sumptuous style with the flagship Style Sunday luncheon at SHU on 22 January. This glamorous four course gourmet luncheon, which is run in association with Mencap NI, accompanies trend forecasts, a mini fashion show and the return of FASHIONWEEK Make-up artist Paddy McGurgan plus stylists from FASHIONWEEK’s hair partner who will host a mini masterclass on how to look fantastic throughout the winter. The lunch costs £45.00 per person and places can be booked directly through the restaurant on 02890381655.
Esther Small, Brand Manager for West Coast Cooler, which sponsors FASHIONWEEK, added: “We can’t believe we are already preparing for another busy season of show-stopping catwalk fashion and runway fun. It has been a wonderful collaboration between FASHIONWEEK and West Coast Cooler over the last decade and we can’t wait to see what is in store from this exciting and varied schedule of events.”
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, which cost £20 (or £25 for a limited number of exclusive front row seats), are available from the Belfast Welcome Centre on 028 9024 6609 or via the website. Ticket price includes a fabulous goodie bag and a refreshing West Coast Cooler.