Exactly one year ago, I attended the new DFF Creative Quarter Fashion Show for the first time. Having spent the earlier part of the evening at Om Diva & Atelier 27’s Young Designer of the Year showcase, I joined the rest of the divas & guests in making our merry way to the Powerscourt Townhouse’s gorgeously-structured edifice, where we watched Irish dancers glide over the shopping centre’s outside steps before Amanda Byram took to the stage as host of 2012’s Fashion Festival. Watching the models gracefully descend the steps in draped gowns and skyscraper heels was a gorgeous sight to behold – so when the exact date was announced this year for the show, I was adamant this was one DFF event I simply couldn’t miss.
High on my priorities was to arrive at the event reasonably early, as while I had been able to watch the fashion show unfold to a reasonable extent last year, I knew arriving in advance would secure me a proper vantage point. While a road closure for cars on South William Street had been publicised akin to the year before, I arrived at the steps an hour or so before the scheduled show time to find the area void of any barriers, while vehicles passed by the entrance freely. I was quite puzzled by this, and when I entered Lost Society to attend the pre-show drinks reception, I discovered the outside event had been cancelled due to unpredictable weather conditions, with just three hours notice to build a catwalk inside:
While the final touches were being made to the main show area, I lounged in the Lost Society’s upstairs bar area under ambient lighting, sipping a bubbly concoction created specially for the Dublin Fashion Festival. The vibe was relaxed and easy to lose oneself in, but I busied myself by thinking ahead to the upcoming show – some of my favourite Creative Quarter boutiques (such as Om Diva – evidently! – The Design Centre, & Project 51) would be showcasing looks for the night, and I couldn’t wait to see the pieces unveiled.
Exiting to the Townhouse’s central area, I marvelled at the spellbinding environment they’d managed to create in such a short space of time. I love walking through the Powerscourt Centre on a general basis, but the sashes of fabrics draped from columns, illuminated in shades of pink, purple & indigo by the lighting, made for a truly special atmosphere. Openings on the balconies for viewing the show were scarce, but I succeeded in unearthing one gap close to the catwalk – perfect for watching the scene below unfold:
Dublin Town & DFF representatives held initial possession of the microphone before Laura Whitmore joined the stage, clad in a stunning printed dress by emerging fashion design talent Polina Yacobson. In addition to having her pieces housed in the Design Centre alongside highly-acclaimed designers such as John Rocha & Philip Treacy, Polina was chosen from innumerable applicants to join just 10 fellow fashion designers at the 2013 International Talent Support finals in Trieste, Italy – no small feat for a recent NCAD graduate! Check out Polina’s website “here”, where you can view her striking creations – all of which balance seamlessly between experimental and flattering – that have already been featured by the likes of French Vogue and Elle Italia (marking her future as undoubtedly prosperous – even just a few paces after starting her career path trek!)
The catwalk, lit with hues of cobalt and fuchsia, was host to some of Dublin’s most spectacular garments that night. Both men’s and womenswear was showcased, with smart tailoring & Magee tweeds shown alongside glittering paillettes and awe-striking statement pieces. The Design Centre lived up to its near-unmatched style reputation in presenting gorgeously-elegant, floor-length dresses by Russian-born, Dublin-based Lya Solis, while Om Diva left me gaping in amazement at their two impactful looks; a black tulle maxi by Michael Finnegan swished dramatically across the catwalk, contrasting a dazzling snow-white creation (that earned a few well-deserved cheers from the crowd!) by Atelier 27 resident Dolly Delinquent, a gorgeous experimental label founded by Amanda Eustace, whose show-stopping pieces have caught my eye numerous times while browsing the atelier. Both outfits were accentuated by accessories from one of Dublin’s most promising jewellery labels as of late, Capulet & Montague; also showcased in Atelier 27, the diverse-yet-wearable designs have been featured in a plethora of editorials by highly-noted Irish magazines since the brand was launched last year. Watching the audience below as magnificent bridalswear and ivory trains of cascading fabric soon appeared, I knew they were just as taken by the show as I. The finale was beautiful to witness, watching sequins catch the light as gorgeously-crafted garments graced the catwalk for one final showcase. Applause echoed around the Townhouse’s acoustics as Laura bid the audience, and while some headed straight in favour of continuing the night’s festivities while others took the route home, I exited onto the streets of Dublin with a spring in my step, images of rich shades, textures and impactful garments still fresh in my mind.
The Dublin Fashion Festival is hosted annually in September, giving the Creative Quarter a truly merited platform through a series of enticing fashion events, most of which are entirely free and open to the general, style-appreciative public. To find out more info regarding Dublin Fashion Festivals, both past, present and future, check out the official DFF website “here” – you can keep up-to-date via Facebook & Twitter as to next year’s schedule, and offerings from some of Dublin’s most prized boutiques and home-grown brands.
As I devoured a gourmet supper at the Merrion’s Cellar Bar, I thought back to my earlier statement on how Dublin’s answer to fashion week is only strengthening in credibility as each year passes, and after witnessing this year’s events, that fact resonated even more. Surprisingly, even those disinterested in fashion can take something away from the festival, as it creates a gorgeous ambience throughout the city, in various venues, shops and restaurants, that – as Laura Whitmore pointed out so finely – is unique, and impossible to bottle. ♥