Archive: October 2013


29 October 2013

Make up pro Paddy McGurgan is no stranger to the beautiful people of Ireland, and has painted the faces of well-known models, actresses, singers and TV personalities for almost a decade now; however, this Hallowe’en Paddy is taking his creativity to the extreme with movie quality special effects make up.

If you are bored by plastic masks and uncomfortable with wigs, then make the move to ghoulish special effects make-up at Paddy’s new store and studio in The Quays, Newry where he and his team are available to help you steal the show and wow the crowd at any fancy dress party during the spooky season.

Paddy said: “I’ve always had a passion for the world of special effects make up and the demand has become so big in recent years with productions like Game of Thrones and the new Dracula movie being made right on our door step. At the Make Up Pro stores in Belfast and Newry we can do anything from air brushing and stencilling to casualty effects like black eyes, bruises, cuts  and bullet holes, so it’s always great when a customer lets you have free reign on their make-up, you can really let your creative juices flow! The run up to Halloween is the perfect time to let your imagination run wild and really make your costume or character come alive. Quite a few of my clients have won all sorts of fancy dress prizes in the past because their make up is so realistic – and so ghoulish! I just hope the Hallowe’en customers don’t scare other shoppers as they walk back to their cars!”

Paddy, who employs eight people at the new store in The Quays, sees the expansion to Newry and the widening of services to include special effects make up, as a natural progression.   He said: “My Newry store isn’t just about make up applications for weddings or nights out, or indeed about selling make up; we’ll also be giving private lessons and group courses to people from the Newry, Armagh and Louth areas, who were previously travelling to Belfast to avail of the education side of things. I’m from Armagh myself, so it’s nice to make the move to somewhere close to home.”

For bookings please call the Belfast Store on: 02890 434007 or the Newry Store: 02830 251003


22 October 2013

Budding designer Gordon Donaldson from Newcastle, County Down was last week announced as the winner of the fourth Diet Coke Design Award. His unique design of ‘Pink Ice’ which consisted of a pastel pink a-line skirt and grey sheer chiffon top, premiered on the Belfast FASHIONWEEK catwalk alongside creations from two other finalists, Lucy McElwaine and Scott Wilson, but it was Gordon’s ‘Pink Ice’ design which caught the attention of the judges on the evening.


Gordon said: “The concept of my design was to demonstrate the best of the past 30 years of fashion and to create an outfit which was both classic and sophisticated through making use of classic cuts, colours and sumptuous fabrics.  It’s stylish, sophisticated and timeless and I think that ties in nicely with the Diet Coke brand and everything it represents.”


Winning the competition has provided a platform to Gordon to further his dress making and design skills as Diet Coke will fund a trip to attend a short course at the London College of Fashion in the incoming year.  He will also take part in a photoshoot with their winning creation by top fashion photographer, Khara Pringle.


Aoife Nagle, Senior Brand Activation Manager at Diet Coke said, “We had many applications to this year’s Diet Coke Design Award and we were encouraged to see so many which were of a very high standard.  Gordon has a very bright future as a designer and on behalf of our fashionable brand we are thrilled to aid his progression as he continues to carve a successful career path.”


15 October 2013


Expectations are soaring for hugely talented artist Trevor J. Brown’s forthcoming solo exhibition that has been three and a half years in the making. Entitled ‘Aviary Exotica’, this, impressively, shall be Trevor’s twelfth solo show and again he has created a multi-layered exhibition which will excite, challenge and intrigue each and every art lover. Trevor has brought together over 70 new artworks which will be shown exclusively for one night only at The Merchant Hotel, Belfast on Friday 18 October 2013 with a cocktail reception by Bottle Green.
This new exhibition actively draws in and embraces the viewer with a collection of paintings which splits distinctly into five interlinked themes or vignettes called ‘A Social Celebrity’, ‘Bestiary’, ‘Bird People, ‘Ceremony Ware’ and ‘They Dine By Night’.   
‘A Social Celebrity’ is the bold curtain raiser that reflects Trevor’s fascination with the iconic silent movie actress Louise Brooks and the late couture designer Alexander McQueen. A burlesque show of sorts, the first painting ‘Diary Of A Lost Girl’ takes its inspiration from the G.W. Pabst 1929 film classic of the same name. This painting depicts a madam entering the dressing room; the mirror in her hand reflects the partial reflection of a nude. This chapter closes with the set of four ‘Champagne Venus’ works, literal busts framed with foliage representing the four seasons.
‘Bestiary’ holds animals - both expected and unexpected - with two laughing pigs taking centre stage whilst a collection of small expressionistic preparatory paintings of Adam and Eve culminate in the finished painting ‘Dust & Bone’.
‘Bird People’, which holds the exhibition’s namesake, is the backbone of the show where sixteen creatures, half man, half bird, have been conceived to play on the idea of dining as they are best appreciated when viewed from below.  Exuding a warm glow, they have been painted directly onto gold.  The style featured in this theme is a meld between the farmscapes seen in his 2007 ‘Farm & Country’ exhibition and the classical techniques explored in 2010’s ‘au.ton.o.mous’ exhibitions. Being the title series of this exhibition, this section opens with the painting ‘Ortolan’, a six foot canvas representing the choices Alexander McQueen made in a life that burned brightly but only for a very short time. ‘Aviary Exotica’ closes this chapter resting within Trevor’s decorated frame of grotesque masks and stag beetles.
Next up, ‘Ceremony Ware’ introduces a collaboration with young ceramicist Victoria Bentham, its preparation and execution having taken a year and a half. These 20 handmade artisan ceramic pieces were created in a traditional way utilising cutting-edge techniques to create a look that is handcrafted yet modern.
The final vignette entitled ‘They Dine By Night’ opens with ‘Pepper’s Ghost’, another tribute to the short life of designer Alexander McQueen. This depiction reveals a lady entranced by a stag beetle resting on her bosom, her hair tangled in branches that form a cage for another ‘bird person’. The exhibition ends in epic form with ‘The Sea Of Sin’ where the beginning of a feast is witnessed. Nine individuals circle a table draped with the ocean as tablecloth with each sitter showcasing eye-popping detail that mixes symbolism and storytelling on a mammoth 6 foot canvas.

A prolific painter, Trevor’s work ethic stretches back to his upbringing on the family farm in County Tyrone. Over 25 years later and Trevor’s staple disciplines of oil painting and watercolour have been enhanced by the addition of furniture and ceramic pieces to create a singular vision of a multifaceted journey. For Trevor, his drive for creativity has been a curse as well as a blessing. In 2011 the artist underwent treatment for a debilitating back condition that was brought on by the long hours spent creating such detail and scale. Crippling pain, relieved by spinal injections and regular breaks have meant Trevor can only paint for short periods of time. The mere existence of ‘Aviary Exotica’ is a measure of Trevor’s passion for his art. Against all odds he has produced a collection of wealth, breadth and quality from such restrictive conditions.  Trevor’s enthusiasm for art and astounding attention to detail is truly evident throughout this impressive body of work and it is sure to challenge its viewers in the same way that it has challenged Trevor in execution.

In speaking of his latest exhibition Trevor commented: “Each painting within ‘Aviary Exotica’ combines classical style with modern relevance, establishing reality within a surreal setting that incorporates twists that demand thought.  I’m hoping that my passion will hold the imagination of the viewer for hours, ensuring ‘Aviary Exotica’ is remembered long after its one-night-only mayfly existence in The Merchant Hotel Belfast this autumn.”

W:  F:



That's a Fashion Wrap!

14 October 2013

What a week it’s been for Northern Irish fashion fans.  Once again, Belfast FASHIONWEEK pulled out all the stops and brought us another successful season of all the very latest in chic, on-trend style from local designers, boutiques and the high street making sure we more than got our fashion fix for autumn/winter.


Cathy Martin, Director of FASHIONWEEK said:  “It’s been another jam packed and hectic week of beautiful and impeccable fashion.  Each night was a sellout and the Ulster Museum was lit up in true style as our models took to the catwalk delighting the crowds with the latest trends and must haves this season.”


And in case you weren’t already aware, the trends that you need in your wardrobe this winter include, reds, pastel pink, oversized coats and capes, leather, tartan and animal print.


This season, the action-packed programme included three main catwalk shows; from a variety of local boutiques including Blush and Jourdan from the Lisburn Road, Liberty Blue, Cruise and Diamond Dolls in Banbridge; designers such as Una Rodden (who held her own unique private installation at the Meter House at the Gasworks), Grainne Maher, Shauna Fay, Riona Treacy and Larissa Watson among others as well High Street fashion from Next, M&S, Jigsaw, Heatons, CastleCourt and The OUTLET Banbridge.  As if a triple whammy of catwalk shows wasn’t enough for fashionistas to feast their eyes on, there was also an afternoon tea at The Merchant Hotel with an intimate fashion show from Cruise all rounded up with a sumptuous Style Sunday luncheon held in SHU restaurant. 


The week kicked off with a remarkable opening show from our designer boutiques followed on Friday 11 October with the best of the High Street.  Our home grown talent provided a wonderful finale to the runway shows at the Ulster Museum on Saturday 12 October with, what can only be described as a fantastic display of true style and glamour. 


‘Trashionista’ students from across Northern Ireland also showcased amazing outfits designed and made using only recycled materials as part of the Junk Kouture recycled fashion competition. Last year’s finalists showcased what the next batch of students could potentially make for the grand final in Dublin in May 2014. 


Saturday night’s show also saw the winner of this year’s Diet Coke Design Award being announced. Three hopeful fashion fans Lucy McElwaine, Scott Wilson and Gordon Donaldson were shortlisted from scores of entries to have their sketches and drawings turned into beautiful garments by designer Una Rodden from their and then one winner, Gordon Donaldson walked away with a mini-scholarship to the London College of Fashion as well as a fashion shoot and having his winning design on the catwalk.


The week came to an elegant and stylish close with a delicious three course luncheon at Style Sunday held this season at SHU.  Around 100 glam ladies enjoyed an intimate show of fashion, beauty and style offering fashion fans the last opportunity for a final FASHIONWEEK fix as the schedule came to an end.


Cathy said:  “Style Sunday is an extra special event at FASHIONWEEK.  It offers a sumptuous and intimate setting for our beautiful ladies to socialise with other glam gals over a delicious three course lunch and to enjoy being privy to some top hair tips from FASHIONWEEK hair partner Andrew Mulvenna and make up tips from Paddy McGurgan.


She continued: “Every show at this season’s series of events was completely sold-out proving that when it comes to fashion – Northern Ireland audiences just can’t get enough.


“Myself and the rest of the FASHIONWEEK team, including my staff, hair and beauty team and our little army of volunteers, have worked very hard to make it another raving success and I’m proud to say it was.” said Cathy.


Preparations have already begun for West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK’s tenth year next March - for further information on West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK log onto or


13 October 2013

Fashion fans from Belfast and beyond were out in force yesterday as they attended not one, but three fabulous events in the city as West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK continued. The morning started off in Spires Mall where the popular Fashion Souk event hosted stalls and pop up stores for vintage and previously owned clothing, then later, designer emporium Cruise, from Victoria Square, hosted an exquisite Fashion Tea at the glamorous, five star Merchant Hotel while the catwalk shows continued back at the Ulster Museum with a fantastic show of collections from the very best in Northern Irish design.


Cathy Martin, FASHIONWEEK director said: “Cruise went above and beyond to ensure they provided a truly exquisite display of designer outfits from Victoria Beckham, Vivienne Westwood, Diane Von Furstenberg and Pinko, among others.  Each outfit was complemented by fabulous hairstyles, created by our official hair partner, Andrew Mulvenna, and make-up by the Paddy McGurgan Make-up Academy.


Lisa Keir, from Cruise said:  “The Cruise fashion teas this season were bigger and better than ever with over 100 ladies in attendance enjoying the fashion and food extravaganza. Our collections were modelled perfectly by the gorgeous FASHIONWEEK models, and in the ultimate luxurious setting.”


Later, at the Ulster Museum, local designers including milliners Grainne Maher and Marie Claire Ferguson alongside Shauna Fay, David Henderson, Nor Lisa, RUEDI, Riona Treacy and Larissa Watson’s Goddess and Swift range, took to the catwalk with their individual collections, showing that Belfast talent is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to flawless fashion design.


Young design was also supported in the form of the Diet Coke Design Award. Three hopeful fashion fans Lucy McElwaine, Scott Wilson and Gordon Donaldson were shortlisted from scores of entries to have their sketches and drawings turned into beautiful garments by designer Una Rodden with the winner walking away with a mini-scholarship to the London College of Fashion as well as a fashion shoot and having the winning design on the catwalk.


‘Trashionista’ students from across Northern Ireland also showcased amazing outfits designed and made using only recycled materials as part of the Junk Kouture recycled fashion competition. Last year’s finalists showcased what the next batch of students could potentially make for the grand final in Dublin in May 2014.


FASHIONWEEK Director, Cathy Martin said: “I really enjoy the designer show and feel very proud when watching the work of new and returning talent under the bright lights of the catwalk.  The quality of their designs and energy that they put into their work is second to none and they deserve all the recognition they get from the crowd. ”


Returning to Belfast FASHIONWEEK was Newry native Shauna Fay whose sleek designs were a hit with the sellout crowd.  She said:  “I’m thrilled to have returned this season and to show off my latest work.  It’s always nerve wracking for a designer to show off their new collection for the first time, but the Belfast crowd are always so encouraging and complimentary towards my work and this season was no different.”


Also returning to the catwalk this season was the stunning collection Nor Lisa by print and fashion designer Lisa McCabe, she said: “FASHIONWEEK is a great event for young designers which is why I continue to return each season.  It opens up doors for young talent and there’s always a great atmosphere at the shows.  I also enjoy seeing the collections of the other designers taking part.”


FASHIONWEEK comes to an end today [Sunday 13 October] at SHU restaurant with Style Sunday, which offers a ‘best of FASHIONWEEK’ with key pieces from a selection of the local designers followed by a three course luncheon, all in aid of Mencap.  Guests will also have the opportunity to pick the brains of the hair and beauty team for their advice and top tips on hair and make up trends which are big this season. 


11 October 2013

It was another packed house at Belfast’s Ulster Museum last night [11 Oct] as hundreds of Northern Ireland’s most dedicated fashion fans gathered to watch this season’s top trends from the High Street on the catwalk at the second night of West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK.


Taking part in the show was high street staple Next, which dazzled the crowd with a selection of tartans, reds, winter woollies and leather from their stunning autumn/winter collection.  Chantelle Craig, PR Manager from Next said she was delighted with the response from the audience: “Belfast FASHIONWEEK set a stunning scene to showcase the latest collections from Next.  We’re really pleased with the positive feedback from audience members and look forward to welcoming customers in store to shop for their favourite pieces.”

FASHIONWEEK regular, The OUTLET in Banbridge also presented their high-end designs from L.K. Bennett, Jaeger and Armani Exchange, wowing the crowds with a chic display of designer wear at up to 70% off.  


Siobhan McKeown, Marketing Manager at The OUTLET Banbridge, said she was delighted to be back and part of the buzz at the city’s premiere fashion event: “Once again, FASHIONWEEK didn’t disappoint in providing a stunning setting to display some of our favourite autumn/winter looks. It was great to see hundreds of fashion fans out in force and enjoying the spectacle as each stylish look was presented.  It was a great opportunity for us to demonstrate that you can dress on trend without spending a fortune.


Then, with collections from Designers at Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, GAP, Dune, Burton, Exhibit, Blue Inc and many more, was popular city centre shopping centre, CastleCourt.


As if that wasn’t enough, crowds were then treated to even more new collections from High Street stores Marks & Spencer, Mexx, Jigsaw and Heatons who all showcased beautiful, high fashion looks to the eager stylistas in attendance.


Preened to perfection, over 20 models strutted the High Street’s stuff to rapturous applause and beautifully fashioned the favourite trends from the popular stores this season which included oversized coats and capes, boldly cut shapes, tartan, plaid and other prints, eye catching embellishments, sumptuous fabrics and cosy winter woollies – you name it and the High Street has it!

Jackie Kelly, Director & Senior Buying Controller for Heatons said they were delighted to be taking part in Belfast FASHIONWEEK: “Our autumn collection is our most impressive one to date, with an abundance of designer catwalk inspirations including leather touches, feminine tailoring and a strong monochrome story featured at prices that are as impressive as the on-trend looks we sent down the catwalk.”

Mexx Marketing Manager and Area VM Alison Paul said: “It’s great to see such huge support for Belfast FASHIONWEEK again this year and at Mexx we’re enjoying working with the behind-the-scenes teams.  Fashion is a lifestyle and we think of the street as a runway.  We’re mixing navys and blacks, using geo-metric, paisley and tartan prints and one of our big statement pieces is the 50s polo neck. This season Mexx has something for every fashion lover.”

Also back by popular demand this season was Oasis, who returned following a successful spring/summer showcase.  Shona Perkins, Area Manager for Oasis, said: “It seems like no time at all since we were last here at Belfast FASHIONWEEK showcasing our spring/summer collection and we’re pleased to say that our autumn/winter fashion which included lots of tweed, leather, print and colour was every bit as well received as last season.”

Director of West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK, Cathy Martin said the sell-out show was a great success and was very well received among the diverse crowd:  “The High Street show is always a sell-out and tonight has proven why.   The atmosphere was absolutely buzzing as each and every outfit had stylistas at the edge of their seat and ready to hit the High Street to buy the very affordable fashion!”


West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK continues today, Saturday 12 October, with the free Fashion Souk – the popular fashion market for previously owned and vintage clothing - at Spires Mall. This is followed by an intimate afternoon tea show hosted by designer emporium Cruise at The Merchant Hotel.  The chic showcase will include collections from Victoria Beckham, Vivienne Westwood, Diane Von Furstenberg and Pinko, among others. This show precedes the Saturday evening finale catwalk show for West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK with fashion on display from both Northern Ireland’s established and up and coming designers as well as student collections from the Junk Kouture fashion recycling project.  Also tonight will see the announcement of the 2013 winner of the Diet Coke Design Award.


For further information on West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK log onto or


10 October 2013



West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK got off to a truly glamorous start on Wednesday night [09 Oct] with an intimate fashion show by award winning designer, Una Rodden at the Meter House at the Gasworks, Belfast.  Five stunning models posed on plinths beautifully showcasing the latest couture collection from the talented designer, which served as the perfect opening event to kick off the celebrations of the sixteenth season of Belfast’s favourite fashion event. 


The glamour continued last night, [Thu 10 October] as hoards of fashion fans were treated to an evening of catwalk glamour at the very first of the Belfast FASHIONWEEK runway shows which kicked off with a remarkable display from Northern Ireland’s designer boutiques at the Ulster Museum. 


Independently owned stores that impressed the packed out audience with a showcase of the very latest trends from their autumn/winter collections included Liberty Blue, Jourdan, Blush, Cruise, Diamond Dolls and Rio|Brazil’s new online boutique Mr & Mrs Stitch.    


Following what has been a difficult year for many independently owned retailers, Director of FASHIONWEEK Cathy Martin said:  “There’s no denying that the past few years have been difficult in retail, particularly for our indies, but last night’s show provided a platform for those boutiques to put on an incredible display of the beautiful and stylish collections that they have to offer. The show seemed to wow the crowd and the audience members were audibly impressed by the high-end and one-off pieces sashaying down the catwalk - perfect for fashionistas with their own sense of style who like to stand out from the crowd.  Let’s hope that FASHIONWEEK encourages audience members and those seeing the pictures afterwards to come into the stores and buy.


As usual, the evening went by in a blur of stunning outfits worn by over 20 of Northern Ireland’s up and coming models all groomed to perfection with hair styled by Andrew Mulvenna.


Steven Simpson, Manager from Rio & Brazil commented: “We’re delighted to be taking part in Belfast FASHIONWEEK to show off our latest collections under the bright lights of the catwalk! It’s also a great opportunity to be able to offer the audience a sneak peak on what they can expect from our new online store, Mr and Mrs Stitch which is launching next month.  Belfast FASHIONWEEK really is a fantastic marketing tool for local retailers and also offers a great opportunity to catch up with others in the industry.”


Claire McCallion, Manager at Liberty Blue said the event provides the perfect outlet for boutiques to communicate with their target market: “FASHIONWEEK is one of the hottest events on the fashion calendar and is very popular with young ladies who love their fashion and have their own sense of style, so it’s great for us to be here to showcase all our beautiful fashion to the stylish crowd.”


The catwalk was ablaze with all the hottest trends which are making a big style statement this season.  In terms of colours, red and burgundy made an appearance in many of the collections on show with texture obviously being another big fashion hit this autumn/winter with lots of delicate, feminine lace and in contrast, the dark and edgy leather look.  Another key trend was strong prints with leopard print, tartan and plaid all featuring heavily on the runway.


Brenda Diamond, Manager at Diamond Dolls boutique in Banbridge, said: “Belfast FASHIONWEEK is one of my favourite fashion events.  Of course, it’s fantastic to be able to show off our stock and the various individual and quirky collections that we carry but it’s also great to come to Belfast to let people know that there are good boutiques outside of the city too.”


West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK continues tomorrow with the massively popular High Street Heaven catwalk show which, unsurprisingly, sold out weeks in advance.  Lucky ladies who managed to snap up a ticket will enjoy high street winter fashion from CastleCourt, The OUTLET, Banbridge, Next, Jigsaw, Mexx, Oasis, Heatons and M&S.


For further information on West Coast Cooler FASHIONWEEK log onto or


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