It was a night of divas, indie rockers, designers and serious Fashionista’s and Fashionisto’s alike. Dublin’s Brown Thomas was the host for Vogue Fashion Night Out. I went along to see all that the store had to offer and got some first had insight and inspiration from the designers, buyers, directors and wardrobe experts.

First up was famed Irish designer Louise Kennedy who was playing host to her own A /W 11 collection on the night.

CollegeFashionista: So Louise, the new collection appears to be inspired by a few different eras, what was the general inspiration for the collection as a whole?

Louise Kennedy: It is really taken from the ‘30’s 40’s and skirt lengths have gotten longer quite a lot of slips which clients are loving. It’s all about tailoring, textures and tones. 

CF: Do you feel there is a variety for younger buyers in the upper market, considering the current climate and buyers anticipating a different clientele?

LK:  If anything we have seen a younger client basis, I mightn’t have my weekly picks ups but clients are going to save for something that they know they can put their own styling to. Irish women in general are very style aware and style conscious but not dictated by fashion and have a sense of what works for them in their lives.

CF: How do you feel about the way college students dress in general?

LK: I love the freedom of the individual; I think college style is great. You can nearly see the ones who will have a place in fashion, it’s not a copying of a style, they have their own identity. We have a lot of younger intern girls working with us so I see it on a daily basis. It’s interesting to see the maturity and tailoring creeping back in in the last three years. Anybody who truly loves fashion has their own sense of their own style and will slightly tweek it from season to season. My belief is that the great Fashionista’s truly know what works for them. 

I had a similar encounter with Brown Thomas’ fashion director Shelly Corkery

CF: How do you feel the recession has affected your choices for buying in this year’s collections? Is it all about investments?

Shelly Corkery: Yes definitely. We have changed the way we look at buying things in and what will work for our client basis. It is really all about the investment pieces, you can see a lot of good quality coats that will last season through season. We have moved away from ‘fad’ buying or trends that go in and out very quickly, people are more careful and clever with their spending and their fashion.

CF: What do you think of the college dresser?

SC: I think it’s great, there is so much freedom in it. We do get a lot of young designer buyers coming in that are regulars but we also get the young students who may buy one item and pair it with some high street items and make it their own and it looks fabulous! Take this season’s Isabel Marant tassel boots, items like that are great for young buyers who want a designer item that will last and also stand out.

Irish accessories designer Una Burke had a little chat about the impact of celebrity on her own designs and career

CF: So Una your pieces are very individual with inspiration coming stongly from medieval armour. It is pure leather craftsmanship, how has this individuality aided you in your design career so far?

Una Burke: I am a leather worker first and foremost and then a fashion designer. I love working with leather and in the future I don’t want to restrict myself with fashion alone. The celebrity thing however was great, it has impacted my career a lot. I was contacted by Lady Gaga’s stylist in 2009 looking for me to create a design, so during 2010 I was sending pieces back and forth and finally on Valentine’s Day I created the final piece (which nearly ruined my relationship!), but it was fantastic exposure.

CF: You have of course also created pieces for Rhianna and Daphnie Guiness

UB: Yes Rhianna wore one of my pieces at an event in Hamburg which looked fantastic. Daphnie als borrowed some pieces and that was probably one of the best moments for me; she is a true fashion icon in my mind.

The event was a fantastic triumph for Dublin fashion and Brown Thomas, and I for one will be back next year to get some more insider knowledge.

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