Sunday 25 September 2016

Ten Irish designers take a bite of Big Apple at showcase

Published 10/09/2015 | 02:30

Caroline Mitchell
Caroline Mitchell
Fiona Heaney
Hat by Carol Kennelly
Chupi jewellery

The strength of the dollar and a thirst for newness in womenswear has triggered major interest in the inaugural Ireland Fashion Showcase which takes place in Manhattan tonight, on the opening night of New York Fashion Week SS16.

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The swish midtown address of the Consulate General of Ireland on Park Avenue helps enormously to pull in key influencers, and buyers from important retail stores like Saks of Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales have already accepted invites to see 10 fashion designers showcase their current and upcoming SS16 collections.

Among the fashion illuminates showing are leather artisan Úna Burke, from Co Roscommon, who helped dress supermodel Cindy Crawford and 'ER' actress Ellen Pompeo in Taylor Swift's 'Bad Blood' music video, and Madonna for her recent world tour.

Also showing is Helen Steele from Co Monaghan, whose artistry in dramatic graphic print is loved by the A-lister Delevingne sisters, Cara and Poppy.

Barbara Jones, Consul General of Ireland NYC, is the host and attending will be Anne Anderson, the fashionable Irish Ambassador to Washington, who often wears the Irish brand Fee G. The brand's designer, Fiona Heaney, a mother of three from Dublin, is amongst the clutch of designers who have travelled to NYC to drum up business stateside.

Barbara said: "Telling Ireland's story as a young, creative, innovative and peaceful place and working to develop US-Ireland links across all strands is at the heart of what we do at the Consulate.

"This mission, alongside our commitment to the aims of the Year of Irish Design, made hosting and supporting such a talented group of designers in this great fashion city a perfect fit."

The event was organised by stylist and presenter Marietta Doran from Carlow and Tralee-based fashion PR/event manager Orla Diffily.

Kerry-based bridal designer Delphine Grandjouan, will present the grand finale as she showcases her new collection.

Port-laoise designer Heidi Higgins has been planning for expansion over the past 18 months.

"While we are fortunate to have private customers overseas in the US and Australia, we haven't been able to show in New York to date and this is a brilliant opportunity," she said.

"The US market is quite different to Europe and demands onsite research to develop an export strategy. Exclusive designer fashion is highly comp-etitive in NY and European fashion on a small scale is nothing short of a huge challenge to make it commercially work."

Other designers previewing their SS16 collections will be Lucy Nagle, Jennifer Rothwell, Caroline Mitchell, Caroline Matthews, Chupi (Jewellery) and Carol Kennelly Millinery.

Among the models walking the show are Michaela O'Shaughnessy, social media producer for MTV who is just back from LA after covering the VMAs, and former Miss Ireland Emma Waldron. They will join models from Fenton Moon Model Management.

Special guests tonight include Don O'Neill and his fiancé Pascal Guillermie.

Irish Independent

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