Saturday, 12 November 2016

Galway Fashion Trail | November 2016

This time last week, I was in the middle of my third Galway Fashion Trail and while I was tired, we had all learned, as a group, to pace ourselves and weren't the wrecks that were seen rambling around the city the same time last year.

It's always great to see the ITWBN and Galway Now Magazine gangs and to catch up with blogger friends that I don't get to see as much as I would like and, as Colm Quinn BMW were being kind enough to feed and chauffeur us around again that morning, we were given the perfect opportunity to do so. After grabbing something to eat, mingling and creeping on cars for a while, we were ushered out to a line of BMWs waiting to drive us into town. The fanfare of snapchatting (including some going as far as standing up through sunroofs to get a good shot), honking horns and laughter meant we got our fair share of funny looks as we made our way to our first stop. It was all a little silly and over the top but very fun! While in the car, we got to browse our first goodie bags of the day, which were sponsored by a whole host of generous retailers (Espresso44, Caprice Cafe, Standun of Spiddal, the Zipyard, Brid O'Driscoll, Crevation Design and Matt O'Flaherty).

We then arrived at our first stop of the day, Colette Latchford's on Eyre Street for a show of seriously elegant clothes in Colette's cosy and pretty store. The shop itself and the curation of clothes both reflect the owner, who is an all-round class act. Colette stocks some fantastic labels including Marc CainMarella and Gant and while much is aimed at a slightly older demographic, there are also things that I was majorly lusting after.

Next up was Greenes shoe store in the Eyre Square Shopping Centre who showcased a varied selection of their stock paired with accessories from The Hat Shop downstairs. After the show we went down to visit the Hat Shop for the first time, as they have always been involved but are too compact to house a show themselves. We somehow managed to fit all twenty bloggers who had been invited, plus a photographer, the shop's staff and people helping out on the trail, inside the store as we hunted down the perfect hat for each person for a photo-op. I wore a fluffy black beret for the shot but ended up buying a red felt beret that is made of a lovely thick felt and seriously high quality. I was rather pleased with it and only realised upon showing it to the others that my love for berets is, apparently, very common knowledge. As we left, we were generously gifted with a lovely piece each from Absolute jewellery.

After that we rounded the corner to the Galway fashion 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. This time I did get a chance to pop upstairs and have a goo at the Christmas display and it's as damn magical as everyone had told me. The store, in general, though, is a little bit magical. There's something quite Old World and charming about the place and Mary, an utter powerhouse, lady and the owner of the store, only makes it all the more charming. She is incredibly warm, sweet and unwaveringly savvy, as is apparent from the fact that they are celebrating fifty years in business this year. The lady herself plied us with drinks and then wowed us with a show that is, admittedly, more aimed at an older demographic but actually rather cool and chic. At the end of the show they even snuck in a few pieces from young Irish designer (he hasn't even graduated yet) Colin Burke, which wowed and completely blew us away - there's a reason that he's already being lauded.

Upon saying goodbye to Mary, we scooted along to Willow, which is always one of my personal highlights and this time was no different. I love the décor and the cool-girl stock and the show was one of the most personally relatable of the whole day. Those multi-coloured stoles stole my heart, for reals! Everything they put out, in fact, was rather lust-worthy.

At this stage we were all fading so we went to Caprice Cafe for lunch. Once again, it was a place of incredible décor that was very Instagram-worthy. The food we had was lovely but it was all a bit chaotic, what with the large crowd of us, hectic charging station and our growing pile of goodie bags - I'm sure other patrons hated us! But I really want to go back on my next non-business visit to the city to properly try it out.

Full, happy and ready to go once more, we made our way to Rococo. I had never been in the store before but I was instantly impressed with the nice changing rooms (good mirrors and lighting - no idea why this isn't the norm, it should be), spacious layout, cute interiors bits and boho vibe. And, while boho is not my thing, there was still plenty in the store that appealed to me.

It was at this point to the day that the prosecco really started flowing and we made our way to Choice, where they "forced" two glasses on me. Once again, the stock of the store doesn't really cater to my boyish, punky, streetwear-inspired sense of style but it was one of the stores that garnered the most happy noises from the bloggers and customers and they clearly really get what the average Irish woman actually wants in her wardrobe.

We only had to pop across the road for the next show at Kilkenny, where they proved, once more, why they are one of the constant go-to destinations for Irish women looking for occasionwear and elegant, high-quality clothes.

Our final show of the day saw us all trek back towards Eyre Square to Harper on Eglington Road. Again, it was a new store to me and I was really pleasantly surprised by the extremely warm welcome we received. At this stage, we were all very tired but being handed sweets and prosecco as we walked in the door helped. The show itself then made it apparent that it is the destination to hit up in Galway if you are looking for dresses that wow. I'm talking red carpet worthy, Old Hollywood and Met Gala kinds of dresses and, best of all, in a range of sizes that such boutiques often aren't conscientious enough to stock.

We then finished out the day in The Front Door pub with some food and cocktails before I got the bus back to Dublin and collapsed upon finally, finally getting home.

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