Thursday 30 March 2017

Glamourati make a stand on high street

Barry Egan

Barry Egan

AS it says somewhere else in this paper, they've messed up the banks, they are afraid to tackle the public sector, so they are hammering the high street.

Well, not if the high street has anything to do with it. Last week was the week the high street fought back. I refer, of course, to my favourite species -- the fashionistas. Because, of course, they are the biggest anti-recessionistas I know. Not only have top boutiques, such as Diffusion, Fran & Jane and Elaine Curtis, decided to up the ante and have shows again, but the industry is getting back to its first principle, design.

Just take Thursday night when there were two events of major significance for those eternal optimists, the Irish designers. First we had the official launch of Project 51, the Irish fashion collective, on South William Street, where my VBF and your Very Best Fashion editor Constance Harris did the honours with a rousing speech in which she reminded us that 20 years ago, Ireland supported its own to such an extent that designers Paul Costelloe, John Rocha, Michael Mortell and Ib Jorgensen all had shops of their own. Then we had the Brown Thomas Irish Design Installation, where 17 Irish designers of clothes, jewellery and accessories will be showcased for 10 days.

"2011 is proving to be a year -- finally -- of tremendous support for Irish design. Apart from great initiatives such as Project 51 and Atelier 27, Brown Thomas's pop-up Irish store on their third floor is a great vote of confidence," Constance told me. "I look forward to the exciting project the Crafts Council is getting off the ground this autumn. Irish design is finally getting it on."

Then the assembled glamourati, including Jane Leavey, Sharon Malone, Fiona Foy Holland and actress Maria Teece -- who has a show at the Odessa Club on October 5 -- all made their way to the even bigger hooley at Brown Thomas. There, my favourite brunette and BT's fashion director Shelley Corkery gave another rousing speech. It was that kind of night. They should have called it the Buzz in BTs, such was the electricity.

There will be a similar celebratory buzz around John Rocha's show at London Fashion Week next week. His spring/summer 2011 show at London Fashion Week earlier in the year was about bone corsetry and Lincoln tweeds inspired by the landscapes and tranquillity of fishing trips.

After last week, I reckon it will be more of tranquillity recollected in emotion.

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