Innocent Knit Up at The Pavilion, Cork

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll know that I got involved in the Innocent Irish Big Knit this year. It’s as easy as pie; knit a pile of teeny, tiny hats, send them to Innocent, they put the hats on bottle of smoothie for sale, and with every hatted bottle sold, Innocent donate 25 cent to Age Action, which supports elderly people all over the country.

If you know me well, you know that I have a phobia of knitting, bought on mostly by my third class teacher Mrs O’Keeffe, who had zero patience for nine year-old girls with two left thumbs. That year, we had to knit a cushion made out of six different knitted patches. My friend Collette’s looked perfect as she’d been knitting with her nan for years. A hobo would have scoffed in disdain at mine. It was so crap and misshapen and embarrassingly small that even the filling got sick of it and tried to jump ship in between burst seams and dropped stitches.

So, when it came to re-learning knitting for the Big Knit, I turned to Collette and not Mrs O’Keeffe. And this time around, I found out that not only do I love knitting, I am actually kinda good at it. My mother, who is the Simon Cowell of the knitted garment, was borderline impressed.

I knitted these ALL BY MYSELF!

With a little help from James and the ever-accommodating Aisling at The Pavilion, Cork, I somehow managed to host a Knit Up, attended by total novices, tiny hat maestros and the occasional person who just wanted a free smoothie and a pattern leaflet. It was most excellent fun and I did by far the most constructive thing I’ve done so far this winter by teaching my friend Hayret how to knit. Her little purple hat is a source of great pride to me (and, I hope, to her as well).  We had a tiny pile of hats after a few hours.  Banter, smoothies and knitting – it was pretty good going.

The Force compels you to knit more tiny hats. Yoda says so.

Innocent and Age Action are accepting hats until the 30th of November, so get them in at your local Age Action shop or send them to Innocent Towers at 120/121 Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2.

Diet Coke Fashion Friday: Cork Fashion Week Style

Cork Fashion Week finished for another year last week and I was lucky enough to go along to their High Tea at Hayfield Manor Hotel, which kicked off the event schedule.  Hosted by the loverly Angela Scanlon, we saw the very best that Cork’s shops have to offer, and I got to hang around backstage, interview all the main players and try not to accidentally ogle models as they changed (I’m not so used to being backstage that I can be properly nonplussed yet).  Did I mention that there’s going to be a video?  Oh yes, there is a video – not of models changing by the way; that would be weird and incredibly invasive.

Here’s a few snaps of some very stylish people.

Diet Coke and Benefit and Me, oh my!

If you live in an Irish city, own a tv or pay attention to bus stop hoardings, then you’ll know about the Diet Coke Get Glam campaign with Benefit.  Pick up one of the swanky Diet Coke cans and you could win 99 euros worth of make-up.

Over the past few weeks, there have been Benefit and Diet Coke events taking place in selected Debenhams stores.  Free drinks, free makeovers and general merriment to be had – in short, lots of nice things.

The last stop is on Saturday the 24th of March in Debenhams in Mahon Point and guess who’s playing host for a film like the one above and covering the event and the make-up looks?

Ok, don’t guess.  It’s me (cue intense internal ‘squee’ing).

I’ll post up more details as I have them – see you in Mahon Point on the 24th (or else we’re not friends anymore).

Cork Fashion Week Photos

Yep, Cork has a fashion week.  Pretty good it is too.  Here are some pictures of the Fashion at Christchurch event.  Photos courtesy of Margaret – more on her blog!

Leopard moments

Serious contender for best outfit

The best dessert table ever

Kieran, Aisling and my big head. One of these days I will learn how to pose.


dressing room

The Joy of Books

These books came in the post for me last week, with more to come. If there’s a Great Boyfriend Lotto, I’ve got a winning ticket.

Posting will be a little bit slow this week as said Great Boyfriend is otherwise occupied and probably won’t be able to edit photos.  You can probably tell that this was not taken by him.  D’oh.  I’ve got an interesting project coming up (more on that in a few weeks – mysterious, wha?) so I really should learn how to use my DSLR properly instead of using at as an expensive, fragile paperweight.

Above are a slew of fashion books, some on Lee Miller photography, a history of glamour, Frida Kahlo’s Diary, The Annotated Lolita (so I don’t miss any Nabokov jokes) a book on tattooed ladies, a history of the Bright Young Things and a guide to tying scarves.  Do you approve?

Expect lots of book-centric posts over the next few weeks.  Lots of ’em. Lots and lots.

triskel 1

Related #4: Made In Cork

This is a very belated related post (ooh, rhymes).
Adding on from last week’s post on the Cork Fashion Week launch, here are a few pictures of the newly-refurbished Triskel Christchurch building, which will tentatively host the opening and closing nights.

The Christchurch building has been in Cork in some incarnation for around a thousand years or so. It’s a former church (no big surprise there) and it is thought that the poet Spenser was married at the location.

The weight of history aside, it’s a beautiful building that has been lovingly restored and is the lynchpin in Cork’s cultural life, playing host to cult record shop Plugd and cafe Gulpd, art gallery The Black Mariah and as a music venue and arthouse cinema in the main building. They also have catacombs if you’re of a morbid persuasion (like me).

A Fashion week event would look amazing here. Bet the last pastor never thought of that.





For more on the Triskel Arts Centre, click on their website.
For more about the building and refurbishment, click here.

Photos 1,4,5 from here.
Photos 2,3 from here.

Licentiate Column 02/06/11: Made In Cork

Cork Fashion Week is a bit of a misnomer. A fashion week is industry only. In Cork, shows are ticketed and open to all. The clothes you see on a runway are shown six months ahead of production. What you see in Milan in February, you won’t see in Brown Thomas until September. In Cork, what you see is already, or very soon to be manufactured. Fashion weeks are intense, fraught and cloaked in mystique, albeit a mystique that dissolves a little bit as each season passes.

In Cork, we take a much more leisurely pace. It’s both our idiosyncratic advantage and the perpetual pebble in our shoe.

It was with that in mind that I went to ‘Made in Cork: A Prequel to Cork Fashion Week’ in the Woodford Bar last Sunday. As I was waiting to go in, a possibly drunk, possibly homeless man tried to climb a tall, spiked, wrought-iron gate opposite the bar. He made a decent go of it, but impaled himself in the groin over two spikes and had to be lifted off the gate by a bartender and a slightly wobbly passer-by, who managed the whole procedure with a cigarette clamped between his teeth.

A Garda van pulled up, obscuring the view. Then, the sound of denim ripping and a very loud, sharp intake of breath. It was time to go inside. An inauspicious start in any circumstance.

I hoped that this wouldn’t be the marker for the event. Taking a seat inside the smoking area afforded the best views and elbow room, so that was where I sat myself, with a notebook, an unfortunate looking BIC pen and an endless supply of fizzy pop.

The crowd was a mix of models, photographers, fashion lovers and one small, very bored looking boy in Communion garb. Unlike London fashion week, where everyone is stressed beyond belief, the attendees looked genuinely happy. They were smiling, greeting each other with hugs, buying pints (of champagne), trading bon mots and making plans for the evening.

It was as if they were actually glad to be there (with the exception of Communion Boy, who had a pout that Andre Leon Talley would spontaneously combust with jealousy over). This is not the fashion week the world was used to. I was bamboozled. Pleasantly bamboozled.

The first half of the show was excellent. Trends were expertly curated. The preppy looks were a particular favourite – all white jeans and jumpers casually knotted over shoulders, ready for a game of tennis in the Hamptons. The vintage dress selection from Miss Daisy Blue was excellent as usual, with a mix of psychedelic print maxis, prom dress and LBDs that looked classically and contemporary.

It’s always good to see something grow and expand. I’m very proud to have been a witness of such growth from Cork Fashion Week’s inception. This September promises to be the most diverse and exciting Fashion Week yet.

Each year it gets a little bit bigger and, as Cork become even more creative and focused on fashion niches, the community at large adapts and rallies around it. Even if it’s something as ridiculous as lifting a stuck wino off a gate.

Cork Fashion Week Young Designer of the Year Award

>Saturday evening was the night of the Young Designer of the Year Award and was the first major event to kick off Cork Fashion Week.

I had the good luck to interview four of the six finalists for the Cork Independent last week.  They were all nice as pie and very excited to be participating and, as I listened to them describing their inspiration and what they’d be working with, I started to get very excited indeed.  As the day neared I started to wonder how their pieces would look on the catwalk as opposed to the images in my mind, and wondered if I’d be disappointed.

Nope.  Not disappointed at all.  In fact, I’m kicking myself for even harbouring such thoughts in the first place.  Although all of the finalist’s collections were excellent, for the sake of space (and my sanity because I’d probably end up writing a thesis) I’ll stick to writing about my three favourites.


Laura Eliason – I could make a lorryload of puns about this American putting we Irish in the shade with her parasol heavy collection…  but I wont.  The parasol is a direct link to each of the outfits, as her main source of inspiration is a vintage umbrella that belonged to her grandmother.  Everything was suitably vintage-esque, with nude shades and crochet details.  The crochet!  How my heart breaks for a nice bit of crochet.  I really should have paid attention to my fifth class teacher when she was breaking out the crochet hooks instead of reading Sweet Valley High books.   As you can see, the shape of the dresses are relaxed and fluid.  I really wish I’d taken video footage because these photos really don’t convey just how flouncy and flippy and flattering these pieces really are.


Marie Clair Foley
Foley’s collection of dresses really have to be handled up close and personal in order to be properly appreciated.  The hand dyed material in particular was a great design feature (the bodice on the pink dress above, second from right, was incredibly well constructed.  I was staring at it so hard from my seat trying to see exactly where material was overlapped and folded that I almost forgot to take a snap).  The hand dyed material really cut through the stripes and gingham, giving it an unusual edge.  Also notable were the cut outs under the bust and around the back


And last but by no means least, my absolute favourite, the collection by Belinda Sullivan.  There’s no two ways about it – she should be working for Prada.  While I wasn’t too mad about the lime green accents (purely a personal thing), I was in love with everything else – the colours, the tailoring, the perfect balanced proportions, the textures; everything.

Her collection does seem very reminiscent of Prada.  Think ‘ladylike with a twist’.  There’s no way I could express how much I loved her looks in one paragraph, especially looks 1 and 4 above.  The burnt orange and tweedy brown colour combination of the dress with short sleeved coat with an amazing, puckered texture… To quote Rachel Zoe, I die.  And, of course, the the high-waisted sailor trousers had just the right amount of ‘flip’ at the cuffs – something that is sadly missing in many a pair of wide legged trousers.

Belinda won the competition – a well-deserved win.  I can only hope we’ll see more of her and the other contestants in the future.