Saturday, 14 November 2015

Galway Fashion Trail

Last Saturday, I finally managed to get my butt over to the other coast and attend an Into The West Blogger Network event - and, boy, am I glad that I did! Not only was everyone involved with ITWBN great and super-friendly and welcoming, the event itself was fantastic. The very first Galway Fashion Trail, organised in conjunction with and, thanks to the help of, Galway Now magazine (who are also outstanding) saw retailers all over Galway city open their doors and welcome both us bloggers and the general public along for shows and showcases. Incredible generosity was displayed all day as we were fed, taken care of and given amazing gifts. I was really blown away by the whole experience and I have to thank everyone involved for showing us such a good time - Saibh and Sinéad and everyone else who was helping out with ITWBN, Galway Now and all of the retailers.


The day began relatively early in An Cupán Tae, who provided us with breakfast and the fuel we needed to keep going on a jam-packed day. We had their BeforeNoon Tea in their private dining space upstairs, the Serendipity Tea Room, and the whole set-up was so elegant and cute that I couldn't help but think it would be the perfect thing for starting out on a more refined Hen's or for a birthday brunch - basically for anyone else that is a bit of a Victorian granny at heart, like myself.






Next up, we headed across town to Colette Latchford's on Eyre Street for our first fashion show of the day. Colette (as well as being a name buddy!) stocks some fantastic labels including Marc Cain, Marella and Gant and while much is aimed at a slightly older demographic, there are also things that I was majorly lusting after. German brand, Oui, is, funnily enough, the epitome of French girl style and I was seriously digging their garments. Colette had picked out the cutest shirts with charming prints and cosy outerwear that had me wishing for bad weather. Basically, if you're looking for seriously chic investment pieces, this is where you need to head. The show at Colette Latchford's also included some pieces from Irish knitwear designer Heather Finn which was a nice little bonus as I'm a fan of her work.




Some Heather Finn knitwear






Then it was quickly on to the next stop, Gosh! Shoes in the Eyre Square Shopping Centre. We first had a wander around and took in the insanely impressive selection of boots, in particular. The store stocks New Balance, Doc Martens, Converse, Superdry and lots of other brands that I really like. It's incredibly well-curated. So much so that I wanted something at every turn! Their show featured shoes from the store paired with accessories from The Hat Shop downstairs, showcasing a variety of looks from the highly practical and wearable to the whimsical and avant-garde.








Rushing ever forward, we then visited My Shop...Granny Likes It, a store that stocks everything from jewellery to candles, textiles to ceramics and lots more in between! And, best of all, it's all Irish brands, including (but not limited to) Lynsey de burca, Chupi,Ursula Celano, Jenny Walsh Designs,Claddagh Designs,Liz Christy, Moth to a Flame, Slated, Aliquo,Friends and Family Tree, Rachel Mc Knight, Button Studio, Fab cow Designs,Lisa Ryder, Made Pretty, Oly Art, Cloonmore Pottery, Stephen Farnan Landscapes, Rag Button and Snow. I was seriously enamoured with the store. I LOVE Irish design and it's rare to see somewhere so absolutely chock-full of the best of the best of Irish brands. The jewellery from Isle, Arty Smarty and Kiki Na Art as well as the beauty bits from Barechic Skin were all so cool - as were the general vibes of the store - that I immediately fell in love with the place.




Then it was on to the Galway institution that is the Treasure Chest where Christmas was already in full swing with a Winter Wonderland above the floor where we were attending the fashion show. Sadly, I did not get to go up and wander but, if the entrance is anything to go by, it seems pretty damn magical! The Treasure Box is a great place to get gifts and bits and bobs but also your races and occasionwear destination. Again, I'd say much of the target audience is a little older but they really stock some pieces that perfectly suit Irish women and celebrations - whether that be weddings, parties or days out. The outfits showcased were all completed by the work of Suzie Mahony, a milliner who seems refreshingly no-nonsense and dedicated to kitting out her customers to perfection.





We then went into Hartmann's jewellery store for a goo where all of us bloggers were immediately drawn towards Maria Dorai Raj's simple silver geometric pieces which are beautifully minimalist and restrained.




Next, we moved on to Anthony Ryan's, one of the longest-established and best-loved department stores in Galway, with homeware, menswear, womenswear and clothes for kids as well. Here, they showcased their elegant selection of occasionwear for women but the show was slightly stolen by the head pieces by Caithriona King Millinery. For my personal taste, some millinery is just a little too old-fashioned and stuffy but her pieces were true works of art that had the crowd ooohing and awwwing the whole way through the show.





Then we finally made time to squeeze in some lunch as I was beginning to fade away and needed desperately to sit down for a while. We headed to Cask on Middle Street and had some quick and delicious tapas to refuel and it was only a pity that I couldn't sit for longer and really soak it all in. However, I definitely want to pop back in some time and try out some more bits on the menu - especially after meeting the chef, who was an utter dote!



Saibh had been bigging up the next stop on our tour all day. Willow is a recently opened branch of a store which, Grace informed me, was established first in Ennis, Co Clare. The Galway store is gorgeous. The décor is amazing and the stock is even better with a really cool international vibe. We're talking streetstyle, cyber-celebrity level of cool clothes. I even saw two sweaters that I immediately feel in love with and WISH I'D BOUGHT AT THE TIME. WHY AM I SO SILLY?!

Sigh. Anyway, expect more on this store later because I'm obsessed!





Finally, the sun appeared, and when we headed to the Kilkenny shop they were able to have their show outdoors, which was a nice respite from the heat of crowds indoors. After a drunken man (who appeared to be on a stag weekend) was encouraged to stop voguing on the runway area, the show began.










While in the area, we ran across the road to Cloon Keen Atelier, on High Street, who I've had a candle-crush on for quite some time now and have been eyeing up in Brown Thomas. However, I've never been able to justify purchasing one for myself. Wonderfully they provided a candle to us in our gift bags in the scent Rose Tea which smells exactly like my favourite rose tea! The store itself is stunning and I could have spent hours mooching around (despite its compact size) but it was too hectic a day for that kind of thing!




Finally, as I had to leave early, I popped along to newly-opened Muse by Dee, an adorable boutique on Middle Street. Dee's stock (and catering) really impressed me and it was really balanced - truly something for Irish women of all ages and tastes. And I was even more impressed that they also took this time to showcase some of the graduate collection of the really talented Dearbhla Joyce, who is very much one to keep an eye out for in the future.







A piece by Dearhbla Joyce

One of Dearbhla's show-stoppers!

Well, that was a whopper of a post. No wonder I was wrecked on the day! 

Thanks again to Sinéad, Saibh, ITWBN, Galway Now and all of the retailers and a special shout-out to the crew and models who must have been even more exhausted than us.

It was all truly amazing.


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