Fashion by definition is about transience and Irish and international fashion will each have their own turns in the spotlights this year. Yesterday, Ireland featured for the first time at London Fashion Week, as part of Year of Design 2015 and in association with the BFC (British Fashion Council) International Showcase. Eight up-and-coming young Irish designers are showing their work, with an installation by architects ABGC* of South Studios, in Brewer Street Carpark,a trendy location for fashion and film shows in Soho. The exhibition is called In The Fold.
Those selected are Rory Parnell Mooney and Richard Malone, recent menswear graduates of Central Saint Martins; National College of Art & Design graduates Naoise Farrell (menswear), Caoimhe McNeice and Jocelyn Murray Boyne; Limerick School of Art & Design graduates Laura Kinsella (millinery) and Michael Stewart, along with Oliver Doherty, a young Donegal weaver. All have been selected for innovation, creativity and confidence. Entrance to the presentation, which is supported by Kildare Village, is free.
The biggest fashion event in March will be Alexander McQueen 'Savage Beauty' at the V & A in London, due to run until August 2nd. When presented in New York in 2011, a year after the designer's death, it broke all attendance records, with more than 600,000 visitors to the show which, for the first time in the museum's history, remained open in the last week until midnight. To skip the four-hour queues, more than 23,000 people purchased membership of the museum and more than 100,000 copies of the catalogue were sold.
Whether the V & A will face such an onslaught, only time will tell, but the designer, who was born on St Patrick’s Day in 1969, continues to fascinate young and old alike, both those with or without an interest in fashion. See vam.ac.uk
Also in March, 'Fashion China', the first book on Chinese fashion will be launched by Thames & Hudson and its author is the Irish curator Gemma Williams, from Cloughjordan in Co Tipperary. Williams, who began her career studying film and broadcasting in DIT, was one of the first to complete the MA in fashion curation at the London College of Fashion, the only course of its kind in Europe.
Her book showcases 41 design talents, one of whom is Huishan Zang, who trained in London and whose collection of Chinese inspired pieces sold out after his exhibition at London Fashion Week. The foreword is by a Chinese media superstar blogger, while interviews with the designers reveal their training, inspiration and how they view their work in a global context.
March will also see an exhibition of Irish fashion photographers taking place in the Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar.
Conor Clinch an 18-year-old from Coolock, whose greatest cheerleader is the celebrated photographer Rankin, is currently working full time in River Island as their in-house photographer. Later this year, he will be one of the youngest taking part in an international photography exhibition in Shanghai, with a series of Irish themed images.
Young Irish photographers are certainly making their mark in the international sphere and a rising star is the super talented Ronan Gallagher from Lahinch in Co Clare who has shot Kate Moss for Gucci's Jackie O campaign, and the first official portrait of the company's new creative director Alessandro Michele. Last year was an exciting one for him as he shot for New York-based Swedish brand Lindex, Esprit, H & M and Nautica and got to work with Swedish indie pop singer Lykke Li, US actor Kate Hudson, German model Toni Garrm and Beyoncé. He recently shot a menswear campaign for UK fashion brand Beau Homme and in March he heads to Mozambique to document education programmes that Gucci and Unicef have partnered for Gucci stores worldwide.
Another Irish talent surfacing in New York is fashion designer Sinead O'Dwyer, the daughter of acclaimed artist silversmith Kevin O'Dwyer who, after a brief two-month internship with Alexander Wang, has been appointed as a trainee in the ready-to-wear division. Prior to New York fashion week, she was working 12 hours a day and loving every minute of it, according to her proud father.
As for Paris fashion week, which starts next month (March), the question on many people's lips is whether 80-year-old novelist Joan Didion, the face of Celine's current campaign, will appear at the catwalk show which is a hot ticket and always held at the Tennis Club of Paris, usually generating traffic jams and bad tempers outside.
In Dublin, be prepared for the opening of Other Stories before the year is out. We may not see their spring parkas, new shirts, floppy hats, luxe leathers and great accessories in the spring collection, but it is expected that the younger sister brand of Cos will open its doors on Grafton Street in the former a/wear corner store, pending permission for a new facade, in December. The lifestyle brand which is less minimalist than Cos and more expensive than H & M, is designed in small ateliers in Paris and Stockholm and it shows in the clothes.
In May, the clothes of Danish-born Dublin-based Ib Jorgensen, spanning four decades, will be the subject of a retrospective exhibition in Collins Barracks. It will show the couturier's work from the 1960s to the mid-1990s when he finally closed the doors of his salon. Garments that have been donated for the exhibition include haute couture items from high profile Irish and UK clients such as Anne Heseltine, wife of former British deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine.
Penneys/Primark expansion continues this year, with highlights being the brand's first venture across the Atlantic in Boston, in the former 70,000sq ft Filenes department store, opening in September. Later in the year, a Spanish flagship will open on the Gran Via in Madrid, generating 600 jobs.
*This article was edited on 21/02/2015