Archive: September 2009

Faces of Fashion

22 September 2009

Local models Caitlyn Leckey, Carrie-Anne Burton, Jude Nabney and Miss Northern Ireland, Cherie Gardiner have been chosen as the faces of Northern Ireland’s premiere fashion event, West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK. The pre-event advertising campaign, which kicked off yesterday, is quite literally stopping traffic right across Northern Ireland as these four models’ beautiful faces stare out from huge billboards and buses.
In a move from previous seasons, where the campaign has featured just one ‘face’, Cathy Martin, FASHIONWEEK Director said she wanted a change this season. We have been choosing fabulous models in individual shots for the campaign for the last couple of years now but this season I wanted something different – the models all tell us they would love to be the face of FASHIONWEEK, and I think it has become quite a coveted campaign to be part of, but we always want to stay well ahead so we shocked a lot of the girls by using four of them instead of just one this time. Plus, I believe our combination of models is stunning. 

New face Caitlyn Leckey, who comes from Templepatrick, caught the eye of Cathy in a photograph taken by top photographer Khara Pringle while six foot stunner Cherie was an obvious choice when she won her Miss Northern Ireland crown back in June. Established models Jude and Carrie Anne provided the final touch for the very fashionable picture.  Cathy said; I love seeing fresh, exciting faces on our catwalk, and these girls definitely have that x-factor that we were looking for. The girls will be joined on the catwalk by many other high profile models including former Miss Northern Ireland Kirsty Stewart and former Miss UK’s Lucy Evangelista and Gayle Williamson.

Cherie, whose last modelling assignment before she heads to Miss World is FASHIONWEEK, is excited to have been chosen; Friends and family have been sending me text messages saying they love the pictures, and I have noticed people have been recognising me when I go out. It’s completely unexpected.

The event will run from 29 October in the prestigious Belfast City Hall and organisers have created a jam-packed, fashion filled schedule including catwalk shows, master classes, exhibitions and pop up beauty boutiques. For further information on show schedules, tickets, links to participant retailers and designers as well as the season’s hottest trends, log on to For show tickets, call the Welcome Centre Box Office on 028 9024 6609.

James Street South

15 September 2009
James Street South

Tucked away in a side street off a main thoroughfare to and from the city centre lies one of the gems of Belfast’s restaurant scene, James Street South. The chic, contemporary eaterie which is raved about in gastronomic guides from Britain to Bangalore is modestly named after the street which is home to it; and this modesty is reflected in the character - but not the cooking - of its owner, chef Niall McKenna. 

Its no surprise that the actual location of the restaurant used to be the administration offices of Michael Deane’s nearby establishment, so there’s been food in the bricks and mortar for a number of years now. But in its relatively short life, James Street South has totted up a number of accolades and a huge following from both locals and visitors alike.

 The simple yet stylish décor of white table linens and white walls with understated artwork and an elegant bar area allow the food and the diners to create their own atmosphere. The French inspired menu features flavours which are complex but not complicated and ingredients which are rich but not heavy.  Such are the paradoxes of this unassuming chef who creates world class gastronomic delights with dishes such as a pea risotto being flavoured with black summer truffle or carpaccio of venison with beetroot tartare, shaved asparagus and black olive.  For main course, he conjuours up dishes such as the French favourite, saddle of rabbit, served with sweetcorn and butter braised shallot. Wines too, are an eclectic mix of old and new world with each and every bottle chosen by Niall himself.

Niall is a chef who seems to taste absolutely every dish, survey every service and - if he could - I imagine he’d welcome every guest personally. Its this relentless attention to detail and constant presence in his kitchen which brings clients back again and again. And one of the real gems? A constantly changing menu, with prices and choices to suit a variety of budgets and tastes. This month the early supper menu offers two courses at £24.50, while a two course lunch starts at £14.50.


08 September 2009

Fashion at House of Fraser Belfast takes charge this season with power dressing and investment pieces at the forefront for autumn - winter 09. With new collections launching in store from CK formal, Max Studio and Kenneth Cole, for both menswear and ladies, it’s an exciting time for the house of brands. As well as this, in-house label Untold takes a new direction, focussing on design-led occasion wear in luxury fabrics, while local designers Helen Fitzpatrick and Mary Rose McGrath announce their bespoke bridal service, available exclusively at House of Fraser Belfast from October.  

Mary Rose, who has worked in London for international design houses such as Matthew Williamson and Bella Freud, as well as high street brands including Oasis, will offer a unique bespoke bridal service at House of Fraser, from which the bride can design her own gown during her one to one consultation with Mary Rose. The bride will work with the designer on silhouettes, colouration, fabrics and detailing -ensuring a unique dream dress, fitted to perfection. Also available in bridal will be intricate head pieces and detailed jewels from Moira-based designer Helen Fitzpatrick, whose work has been shown on the catwalks of Vivienne Westwood, Oscar de la Renta and Chanel to name a few. 

Store manager Michelle Jackson said: It’s amazing to work with such a fabulous mix of international designer collections and simultaneously launch the very best in local design talent with our exclusive bridal service. Having talked to our customers we know this is something they will embrace and look forward to experiencing in store. And, alongside bridal, our key fashion trends of the season at House of Fraser include sharp tailoring, sequins and exaggerated shoulders in a nod to 1980’s power dressing as well as chic 1940’s looks with tweeds and hounds tooth as well as interesting pale palettes and coordinating coats for autumnal femininity.  

Power Dressing

Extended shoulder lines lead the way as strong feminine silhouettes and sharp tailoring reign supreme. Black, navy and grey are the sombre colour base while pops of tomato red and bright orange are refreshing highlights. The trouser suit is back with exaggerated shoulders, worn by a new empowered woman who means business. And power dressing gets an urban edge at Kenneth Cole with a simple waist-cinched shift and crumpled leather jacket. Displaying his signature streamlined workwear, the New York designer launches his new womenswear collection exclusively at House of Fraser this autumn.

 Animal print

The love affair with animal print continues for autumn as traditional leopard appears on frilly blouses and in alternative colours on satin tulip dresses. For a more subtle display of animal magic, choose a leopard, zebra or snakeskin accessory, seen best on bowling bags, chunky bangles and scarves.


Whether it’s black on black, shimmers of metallics or splashes of vibrant colour; sequins are in abundance this season. For an air of contemporary cool team a single breasted tailored jacket over a hammered sequin shift, or create a rock chic vibe with an antique gold sequinned jacket for anytime, anywhere glamour. All over rainbow bright sequins are a great way to update simple shift shapes and are a key look for the 80s disco diva.

 Pale & Interesting

Shades of nudes and neutrals have timeless appeal and provide the perfect colour palette for chic wardrobe staples. For plush luxury and investment dressing at its best, choose a skin tinted neutral coat and matching heels. Elsewhere cosmetic pink satin dresses with directional tulip silhouettes embrace a new femininity while Edwardian-inspired cream blouses with enchanted detailing make a come-back.

 Linea takes inspiration from the autumn - winter catwalks this season with a nod to 1940s styling. The focus is on opulent day to evening shift dresses, glamorous knits, fine tailoring and eye-catching print pieces. The design-led collection also includes a range of co-ordinating coats.  As Linea Weekend enters its second season, daytime chic has never been so easy. On a pale grey colour palette, soft jersey and knit layers provide sophisticated weekend wear. The collection also comprises wide leg jeans, prints and stripes on separates while textured scarves create the finishing touch to a deliciously cosy collection.

The season ahead is a sophisticated and glamorous one for Episode. With echoes of 1940s glamour, textural tweed coats trimmed with faux fur are styled over simple satin shift dresses.  The contrast of gentle volume and feminine tailoring is pivotal to the range and a refined taupe tone for bags adds the finishing touch.

 With the focus on quality and design, Untold’s autumn / winter collection focuses on occasion wear with a contemporary edge. The label takes inspiration from vintage couture techniques and current catwalk trends. The result is an apparel and accessories collection which has day-to-evening appeal with a sexy fashion twist.

 With all the right trends on all the right labels, shoppers need look no further than House of Fraser for the best fashion fixes this season.

Top Belfast chef and local entrepreneur announce 25th anniversary Hi-Life restaurant guide

07 September 2009

TALENTED chef, Jason More, teamed up with James Tolland, the Belfast entrepreneur behind Hi-Life Diner’s Club, to announce the launch of the Irish edition of the 25th anniversary Hi-Life restaurant guide.

The two heavyweights of Belfast’s blossoming culinary scene met at City Hall to toast the new restaurant guide, which promotes more than 200 restaurants, including 120 in the city and across Northern Ireland.

Despite recessionary times, Hi-Life continues to expand across Ireland, with 10,000 new members joining in the last 12 months.

Following the sell-out success of Michael Deane’s Gourmet Nights, Jason has been chosen to host the third Hi-Life Gourmet Night of 2009 on September 10, at his chic new restaurant, CoCo, on Belfast’s historic Linenhall Street.

Jason, 37, is a hotly tipped talent and the latest Northern Ireland chef to join the Hi-Life Diner’s Club. He was also one of the founding partners of the hugely successful No 27 on Talbot Street, Belfast.

Jason honed his skills as sous chef to the late Robbie Millar at the Michelin-starred Shanks restaurant, followed by a period under Michel Roux at the three-starred Michelin restaurant, Le Gavroche.

James Tolland, owner and director of Hi-Life, said: CoCo is a prestigious addition to our 25th anniversary guide for Ireland. Jason is rapidly making a name for himself right across Ireland, amongst food fans and restaurant critics alike, and we’re delighted to count him among the growing ranks of Hi-Life chefs.

We’re proud to be launching Hi-Life’s Ireland restaurant guide together and to be introducing so many new restaurants for 2009. What better place to celebrate than with a spot of al fresco dining at City Hall, right in the heart of Belfast!

The new Hi-Life restaurant guide, to be distributed to all 30,000 Hi-Life members in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, boasts 40 new additions this year, including Gourmet Burger Kitchen nationwide, The Ivory and The Lonely Poet in Belfast, Uluru in Armargh and Dublin restaurants, The Church, Chai Yo, SoHo and Louie’s Bistro.

This year, for the first time, a complimentary national guide is also available to Hi-Life’s 100,000 plus members across the UK, featuring 500 new, two-for-one dining out offers, including all PizzaExpress and Milano restaurants in Ireland.

Hi-Life is the UK and Ireland's largest dining club and it celebrates its silver anniversary in 2009. Its members pay a small subscription and in return benefit from two meals for the price of one at more than 2,500 restaurants across the UK, when they show their Hi-Life card.

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