The annual ARC fashion show at the RDS is always much, much more than just Ireland’s biggest fashion show. The showcase is about raising much-needed funds for the Cancer Support Centers, which provide free psychological and emotional support for everyone affected by cancer. And after a two-year absence, Irish fashion designers will be back on the catwalk together on April 21 and the excitement is palpable.
The show is particularly exciting for the talented Ennis sisters Bláithín and Niamh, and the Co Wexford Aborigines will finally be able to unveil their creative collaboration they were working on before lockdown. Bláithín is already a well-known jewelery designer, well-regarded for her special skills with her dramatic jewellery, and in particular her gorgeously feather-light glam earrings, which she crafts using seashell fabric, metals and Czech crystals.
She worked with Paul Costelloe on his recent AW22 show at London Fashion Week and in this new family venture, Bláithín teamed up with her younger sister Niamh, who recently graduated with a Masters in Fashion from Grafton Academy and American College. It’s a relatively new course, only in its third year, and Niamh graduated with first class honors.
Inspired by planets, comets and stars, Niamh presents two outfits from her “Celestial” collection, which references the colors and rings that surround Saturn. Her signature approach to achieving drama through layers of tactile fabric shines through in each piece.
Crafted from sheer silk organza, the high neck dress has balloon sleeves (€150) and is worn under a fitted black and gold bodice dress with hand-sewn crystal embellishments (€350, available at @niamhennisdesign). The look was completed with Bláithín’s ‘Topaz’ four-row earrings (€65, available at blaithinennis.com).
Look Two consists of three separate elements, starting with a black boned corset top made of Italian crepe with off the shoulder puff sleeves, hand-sewn with crystals (€225). Wear it with a detachable crepe peplum belt with hand-sewn crystals (€80) and high-waisted palazzo trousers (€145). This look was completed with Bláithín’s Couture’s ‘Spinnaker’ earrings (€185).
Niamh’s debut collection includes bold looks in navy mesh and a statement mint green boning corset top with attached chiffon cami worn over jacquard cigarette pants.
Two of Ireland’s most accomplished couture designers, Helen Cody and Sorcha O’Raghallaigh, will open and close the show respectively.
video of the day
In between there are collections by 24 well-known designers and milliners. Host and ARC supporter Mairead Ronan is hosting the show, while Eddie Shanahan is the show’s producer.
Co Galway’s Niamh Daniels has designed spectacularly printed kimonos and giant shawls to be worn at night by a number of cancer survivors affectionately known as the ‘ARC Angels’.
Doors for the show open at 7:00 p.m. on April 21, with the event starting at 8:00 p.m. sharp. Tickets cost €60 and can be purchased on eventbrite.ie and also on arccancersupport.ie.
The busy mother of three, Fiona Heaney, creative director of Irish fashion label Fee G, has long been a go-to source for women who want something special that they wear time and time again. Her new SS22 collection, entitled ‘Communication and touch’ focuses on movement and includes some clever, multi-purpose pieces.
I particularly like the effortless femininity of the blue chiffon ‘Victoria’ dress with subtle draping and a hint of skin. This midi dress boasts many upscale accents.
The skirt is fitted at the top, the skirt falls into an A-line silhouette and the dotted tulle mesh, which is sheer at the front and back at the yoke, is repeated at the sheer hem. Crafted from buttery soft cream tulle with gemstones and gold lining, the ‘Lily’ dress (€308) is a real eye-catcher with its raised neckline, embellishments and lace.
Women looking for something beautiful to wear again for communion time will find plenty to choose from in this Irish collection. The pink Pia midi dress (€274) has a flattering V-neckline and ruched sleeves that fall to the elbow.
The blue and white striped 100pc cotton ‘Hamptons’ dress with embroidered sleeves (€252) is my winner and Fiona has also created a cropped wrap top version called ‘Daisy’ (€154) to pair with white jeans enjoyment is.
By the way, Fiona told me that a new season of her “Day” sweatshirts is coming back soon. See fee-g.com
https://www.independent.ie/style/fashion/style-talk/style-notes-the-sisters-that-are-doing-it-for-themselves-and-others-at-annual-arc-fashion-show-41479697.html Style Notes: The sisters doing it for themselves (and others) at the annual ARC fashion show