A collection of designers, a brief to make a washable red dress and €10,000 up for grabs. I headed down to the Persil Fashion Awards with Z to check out those competing and hopefully get an inside look into the soon to be graduates from Griffith, NCAD and LSAD colleges. (It's the best way to get insider tips into who to watch!) The competition is currently in it's 12th year and the €10,000 prize can provide a great start to new designers, especially in this economy where funding and financial backing can make all the difference.
WHAT : The 12th Persil Fashion Awards 2011.
WHERE : Marks and Spencers rooftop cafe, Grafton street. Dublin
WHAT I WORE : I decided last minute not to wear heels, given that I had an article due and was running to meet deadlines! Needed to be able to move! Not to mention walk home! I teamed my flat boots with leggings, a long black Topshop Unique T, gold jewelry and a simple hair bun.
WHAT WE ATE : Roasted olives on red cabbage brushetta, mini mushroom and garlic salads, garlic, onion, tomato and pine nuts brushetta and, I'm going to take a moment to describe this - my weakness : cheese boards. The cheese boards were possibly the nicest thing I have ever been given at an event. Six varieties of cheese ranging from cheddar to chili to blue cheeses with a selection of crackers. Topped only with the selection of desserts brought out after the show : Profiteroles and Belgium chocolate brownies.
WHAT WE DRANK : Champagne, White and red wine.
TREND WATCH : We noted a lot of cobalt blue, in shorts or dresses, a lot of prints on a range of things, shorts teamed with blazers for a sharp city work look and blouses.
WHO WE SAW : TV3 and City Channel filming and Peter O' Brien the Irish designer.
Although sadly Z's shoes gave up the good fight and her heel broke! Luckily she managed to stick it back together and hold it down until the show ended. But for new shoes, I would have been outraged!
I loved the shoulder detail on this. I wasn't too keen on the ruffle going down the center of the dress, it detracted from the shoulder detail. Students took inspiration from a number of different places - everything from Piano keys and circus performers to poppy fields and bowler hats. Presenting a varied and impressive collection of talent.
An A line design. There were quite a few A line dresses and also bows featured quite heavily throughout the students designs. Mostly on the back of the dress.
But there can only be one winner! Mary Lennon from Mayo studying in NCAD walked away with the €10,000 cheque, presented to her by Peter O' Brien. Her design can be worn ten different ways! However it would have been nice to see all the different ways in a demonstration! It was based on garden umbrellas. O' Briend revealed that the judges received over 120 different design portfolios! They then narrow this down to 15-20 which go through for the next round of judging, from there they picked 9. 120!!! That's a lot of late nights.
My pick of the collection would have been the piece with the statement shoulder. The plaited piece. It was stunning. Amazingly, a lot of the pieces on display seemed R-T-W! You could imagine them on shop rails in Brown Thomas ready for sale. But then Griffith, LSAD and NCAD produce extremely talented students who are good at what they do.
A close up of the shoulder detail. I really do love that. The designer was inspired by Native American design. Love the red woven into the hair. Reminds me of the hair at Alexander McQueen this season. Although a brighter version of it.
A view of all the pieces. Excluding the winning design.
The designer, Mary Lennon with her winning design. The dress as I mentioned can be worn ten different ways. Using the buttons, ribbons and features on the dress to tuck or gather the fabric creating a completely different look each time. She was inspired by umbrellas which can open, close and extend and took this transformability into the design. As I also mentioned, it would have been great to see all the different possibilties but, congratulations!