Saturday evening was the night of the Young Designer of the Year Award and was the first major event to kick off Cork Fashion Week.
I had the good luck to interview four of the six finalists for the Cork Independent last week. They were all nice as pie and very excited to be participating and, as I listened to them describing their inspiration and what they'd be working with, I started to get very excited indeed. As the day neared I started to wonder how their pieces would look on the catwalk as opposed to the images in my mind, and wondered if I'd be disappointed.
Nope. Not disappointed at all. In fact, I'm kicking myself for even harbouring such thoughts in the first place. Although all of the finalist's collections were excellent, for the sake of space (and my sanity because I'd probably end up writing a thesis) I'll stick to writing about my three favourites.
Laura Eliason - I could make a lorryload of puns about this American putting we Irish in the shade with her parasol heavy collection... but I wont. The parasol is a direct link to each of the outfits, as her main source of inspiration is a vintage umbrella that belonged to her grandmother. Everything was suitably vintage-esque, with nude shades and crochet details. The crochet! How my heart breaks for a nice bit of crochet. I really should have paid attention to my fifth class teacher when she was breaking out the crochet hooks instead of reading Sweet Valley High books. As you can see, the shape of the dresses are relaxed and fluid. I really wish I'd taken video footage because these photos really don't convey just how flouncy and flippy and flattering these pieces really are.
Marie Clair Foley
Foley's collection of dresses really have to be handled up close and personal in order to be properly appreciated. The hand dyed material in particular was a great design feature (the bodice on the pink dress above, second from right, was incredibly well constructed. I was staring at it so hard from my seat trying to see exactly where material was overlapped and folded that I almost forgot to take a snap). The hand dyed material really cut through the stripes and gingham, giving it an unusual edge. Also notable were the cut outs under the bust and around the back
And last but by no means least, my absolute favourite, the collection by Belinda Sullivan. There's no two ways about it - she should be working for Prada. While I wasn't too mad about the lime green accents (purely a personal thing), I was in love with everything else - the colours, the tailoring, the perfect balanced proportions, the textures; everything.
Her collection does seem very reminiscent of Prada. Think 'ladylike with a twist'. There's no way I could express how much I loved her looks in one paragraph, especially looks 1 and 4 above. The burnt orange and tweedy brown colour combination of the dress with short sleeved coat with an amazing, puckered texture... To quote Rachel Zoe, I die. And, of course, the the high-waisted sailor trousers had just the right amount of 'flip' at the cuffs - something that is sadly missing in many a pair of wide legged trousers.
Belinda won the competition - a well-deserved win. I can only hope we'll see more of her and the other contestants in the future.