For a project that's still in its infancy (this is only year six), the annual Create initiative at Brown Thomas, which launched yesterday, has evolved into one of the most anticipated dates in the Irish fashion calendar. Curated each year by fashion'director Shelly Corkery, Create provides an invaluable platform from which chosen designers can launch or gain further traction for their brand.
The quality of the collections on show yesterday (and the size of the crowd that showed up to get a first look) was testament to the energy and drive invested in the initiative by Corkery and Brown Thomas, but also to the quality of design and craftsmanship among young designers in Ireland right now.
To namecheck just a couple, Fintan Mulholland stood out for his innovative knitwear collection. His approach to texture and silhouette was considered and fresh, his finish first class. This range could confidently sit alongside any of its international competitors. I'm coveting almost every piece for AW.
Teatum Jones' white midi-length shirtdress was simply exquisite, while Mary Gregory's architectural separates were the sort of strong contemporary pieces that modern women build their wardrobes around. Simply stunning.
Kinsale Leather's fold-over clutch bags (in two limited edition colourways of grey and navy available only at Brown Thomas) would add a touch of class to any woman's collection. The beautifully textured leather and subtle detailing suggest they'll be a modern classic. And finally Wild Cocoon drew me in with its textured knits in vibrant colourways. Just what I'm looking for to add energy and freshness to last year's outerwear.
This year Create seemed to strike that perfect balance between commerciality and creativity. These are the kinds of clothes women want to wear, not just admire from afar. Isn't that the holy grail of retail?
Holding shot: clothes by Aideen Gaynor