Milan, New York, London and Paris are all highly regarded fashion capitals of the world, but for this coming week Ennis will be the only fashion capital worth talking about, as it underscores its status as the Boutique Capital of Ireland with the launch of Ennis Fashion Week.
Building on the success of the previous two fashion week events, which drew fashionistas from across the country to the heart of Clare, this year is no exception, with socialites and camera crews also expected to make appearances in the town throughout the week.
The grand launch takes place on Saturday at 2pm in the Square where Clare Rose, Audrey Flynn, along with recent sporting heroes, are expected to join the participants of this year’s high fashion event.
In launching the event, the organisers have an exclusive evening planned with Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, as they screen the documentary film, The September Issue.
Directed by RJ Cutler, the documentary was filmed over the course of eight months within the offices of Vogue.
It offers a first-hand look at the inspirational editor-in-chief at work but more specifically it examines the creation of the September issue of Vogue, regarded in the fashion world as the style bible.
This will be the only screening of the film outside of Dublin since its release and it will be held in the Old Ground Hotel on Saturday at 7.30pm, with supper offered after the movie. Proceeds from the screening will go towards the Marie Keating foundation.
The week will continue in glamorous style with a family event in the Temple Gate Hotel and treats for adults and children alike.
The Hollywood-themed afternoon of fashion takes place from 4pm to 6pm on Sunday, where there will be a fashion show of ladies and children’s wear and accessories and exhibition stands showcasing shoes, eyewear, makeup, tanning and fashion.
In addition, a children’s movie will be shown and nail art and temporary tattoos will also be available. Entertainment will be provided by Kate Purcell and Deborah Wallace on the day.
While fashion is constantly evolving, a new event organised for this year’s Ennis Fashion Week will give people an opportunity to learn about the development of fashion from the 1200s to the 1920s.
On Tuesday, October 20, Noreen Ellerker of the Hunt Museum will give a free workshop at the DeValera County Library at 8pm, on the changing costumes of the day.
She will have reproductions of the costumes on display and will outline the societies where each of the particular costumes were worn.
Meanwhile, the free events continue on Wednesday, October 21with a health, beauty and wellness seminar at the Old Ground Hotel at 8pm, where one-on-one consultations and advice will be on offer.
A new feature in this year’s fashion event will see the opening hours of the boutiques and shops of Ennis stretch for the first time outside of the Christmas period, with late night shopping being made available on Thursday and Friday and stores opening on Sunday during fashion week.
Speaking about this development, Gwen Culligan, of the organising committee, said, “While Ennis has never traditionally been a late night opening town or a Sunday opening town, as a group, Ennis Fashion Week are hoping that with time we could develop a culture where we could offer an extra hour or two on a Thursday and Friday evening.
“And while we may not open every Sunday in the year, that maybe we could offer that service during the summer and on bank holiday weekends, rather than a blanket opening.”
She explains that the experience of shop owners has been that tourists would often enquire about Sunday and late night openings, as would other visitors to the town, who may arrive on a Saturday and leave again on a Sunday evening.
But Gwen believes that while the demand is there over the Christmas period and in the summer to a certain extent, it would not necessarily be an all-year round demand.
Contributing to the additional opening hours, each Fashion Week participant will offer their own in-store events on Thursday, October 22, which include free cocktails, bra fittings, Avoca Tea parties and lots of great offers.
The week would not be complete, however, without the Style and Glamour Awards, which this year takes on a new format, where it will be open to all those in attendance.
The awards will be held in the Queens niteclub and this year there will be awards for the most stylish man and woman, as well as the design student award, hair award and make-up award.
Ennis native, and one of last year’s judges, Margaret Nelson with FM 104, is really looking forward to this year’s event.
“I had such a great night last year that I’m going to have a girly night out for myself and meet up with eight of my friends.”
Meanwhile, Glenda Gilson and Lisa Cannon of TV3’s Xposé will also be in attendance at this year’s awards event.
Everyone who arrives at the event can enter the awards to be in with a chance of winning the use of a Fiat car for a year, a weekend away in Doonbeg and a watch from Collins Jewellers.
Hollywood glamour will also be brought to bear around Ennis, as each of the participating stores will be competing to win Ennis Fashion Week’s window display competition.
Speaking about her highlight for the upcoming week, Gwen commented, “I’m really excited about The September Issue. I’ve seen the movie The Devil Wears Prada and when I heard about The September Issue and I saw an interview I knew I’d love it.
“Anna Wintour is such an unusual character and the film is a real life documentary about how they bring out the September issue, picking the clothes, looking at what’s in and what’s out. It will really appeal to people.”
All details about Ennis Fashion Week are available on their website, www.ennisfashionweek.ie and brochures are available in all participating outlets.