Spring/Summer 2017 and it’s the 23rd season of Belfast Fashion Week. Over the years I’ve seen catwalk shows in car parks, museums and churches, I’ve got up close and personal with the trends attending afternoon teas and sushi lunches, and all throughout I’ve seen it grow and evolve. I’ve enjoyed the events and fashion updates each season even if my bank balance hasn’t!
This year director Cathy Martin brought a new event to the timetable – Style Saturday in the form of a fashion brunch. I was expecting a “director’s cut” of all the trends gracing the Boutique and High Street catwalk shows but I was pleasantly surprised to find out four stylists would be showcasing their takes on the latest spring/summer fashion.
Robinson & Cleaver was the sunny morning’s venue, the balcony overlooking the city hall provided the backdrop for the social pics before we dined on a healthy brunch as the sun streamed in through the windows. Whilst enjoying our brunch of porridge, avocado toast, eggs, pan au chocolat, West Coast Cooler buck’s fizz and Lavazzo coffees (both sponsors of the event) the models sashayed past our tables in both wearable and edgy designs.
First up was our host Rebecca McKinney. Rebecca, radio presenter, stylist and co-presenter of BFW, based her picks on this season’s floral trend. While admitting it’s not exactly a groundbreaking trend it does epitomize spring and is an easy trend to introduce into the wardrobe. Taking the best of the high street Rebecca’s looks included pinks, nudes and navy, printed trousers, tulle tops and dresses from Mango, Ted Baker, River Island and H&M and added the wow factor with a full skirted floral print dress from the Walk in Wardrobe (pictured above).
Irish stylist, columnist and Fashion TV expert, Courtney Smith joined us after her stint in Mexico styling the new Primark campaign to take us through the main trends and how to wear them in Belfast. Marks and Spencer, River Island and Oasis featured with blue pinstripes in structured shirts and skirts, monochrome gingham, floral and tropical prints, and a fabulous printed Kimono from Zara.
Next up were two individual collections from Lewis Robert Cameron and Jamie Russell. Both local boys and friends, they flew in from their new home of London especially for the brunch. Lewis, fashion editor of Beyond Man magazine, pulled together edgy statement looks with a Club Tropicana feel from his own designs, holographic harnesses and statement jewellery. Inspired by Gucci, Kenzo and Mui Mui Lewis created playful feminine looks finishing with a fun Gucci inspired look – embellished sheer dress over leggings complimented with Moschino jacket and jewellery from Belfast boutique – House of LoLo.
Our morning was beautifully rounded off with Jamie Russell’s take on his favourite looks of the catwalk. Tulle and sheer layers played a major part in Jamie’s stylist picks, teamed with hints of lace underwear the collection centred around feminine sensuality. Blush hues and florals were given a couture twist with khaki and black. A simple black shirt dress buttoned asymmetrically and a leather bra-let with a fun embroidered motif illustrated a fun way to change up an outfit. Jamie ended the show in pure glamorous style of voluminous sheer monochrome layers.
With all the stylists’ looks one thing was key, make the look work for you. This season’s trends are bold but mixing and matching separates or introducing one key piece to an outfit is an easy way of getting an on trend look for the season ahead. I’ve already bagged a few of the featured pieces, having been inspired to try out a bolder, more statement look. The Style Saturday brunch was a perfectly relaxed way to enjoy food and fashion with friends and hope it makes a reappearance on the autumn/winter schedule!
***All images, with exception of last three, courtesy of Belfast Fashion Week.