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All-Irelands 2012

CLRG All Irelands 2012 – Overall Trend Recaps

As I mentioned yesterday, FeisPix has put up all their pictures which means I can do a full recap of the All-Irelands trends with pictures! This AIs was probably one of the most interesting majors from a fashion and dancing sense. A lot of inspiring talent and outfits. It definitely was a great way to celebrate the last All-Irelands in February. It will be very interesting to see how the Irish dance fashion cycle changes next year with no majors between the Oireachtas and Worlds. I’m betting on Worlds becoming huge in terms of new dress and vest debuts!


1. Celtic Knots. One of the biggest stories of the All-Irelands was that Celtic knotwork is making a strong come back. Celtic Star really kicked the large knotwork trend off last year and Gavin really embraced it with his new dresses. I absolutely love this and judging by the response in the Irish dance community, most people do too. It’s traditional yet modern. My personal favorite is this Gavin creation in black and gold – so classy and stylish.

2. Ballet Shrugs

This look came out at the Oireachtas and is going strong in the new dresses that were just released. It’s definitely a trendy look, but it is bold and stands out on the stage. Gavin is fond of the solid ballet shrug while Doire tends to embrace the feel with embroidery. This picture shoes off a good example of the two ways to do the ballet shrug. It also shows off a more bold Mandarin collar!

3. Belted looks

Again, this look has been out for a while but it really flourished at the All-Irelands this year. It’s a less trendy look than the ballet shrugs so if you want to be on trend but have more staying power, this design might be a better choice. There have been some amazing dresses with this design that are really figure flattering so it’s a great choice for older dancers.

There’s also two ways of doing this – one strategic belt or several belts motifs. The one belt look is very classy and polished while the several belts is a more popping look that has some fun options. This belted motif dress combines the belt trend with Celtic knotwork for a great look. Love it.

This belt look is so bold!

4. Sequins

Sequins have been on the rise since the North American Nationals and they’re now firmly in fashion in the Irish dance world! Sequins covered dresses at the All-Irelands. Some were in accents, some were full bodices, some were ballet shrugs – so many options! I personally prefer sequins in strategic locations and keeping the rest of the dress simple to let the sequins shine.This look is updated from the 2005 time period because the sequins are strategic and in very sparkly colors like silver and gold. It’s not the matchy-matchy applique look from years past. This is another great sequin skirt with sequin accents. I love this sequin bodice as well!

This Gavin dress goes all out on the bodice and the skirt!

5. Collar – bodice line work.

Another major design trend is the look where the collar and bodice design are related and compliment each other. Check out this dress as an example – a bit hard to explain this one but its one of my favorites of the week.

6. Loose vests or corsets.

This is another look that premiered last year but is still going strong. This year the look was updated by being slightly looser and a little less structured. This dress is a good example of a more loose, updated corset look. The red dress below shows a slightly more structured take on it.

7. Fanned Bodice

Another new look from Gavin. Definitely a bold look that creates depth and texture without overwhelming the look. I’m interested to see if it will take on for the rest of the designers and if Gavin will keep using it.


1. White with copper and gold accents.

White dresses have been popular for a while but this year we saw several white dresses with very classy copper and gold accents. This is a great look that really pops on girls with red hair. Such a great look. I love this version on U20 winner, Jessica Hindley.

2. Bold red.

Thankfully, this year’s All-Irelands had more of a color variety so we didn’t see the lines and lines of girls in pink. However, red did stand out as popular more than any other color. There were some very strong red dresses at the All-Irelands and I loved them. I’m a huge fan of a bold red anyways, so I’m all about this. What better color for killing your set on stage?

3. Strong color blocking.

Like I said, there was much more color variety this year at the All-Irelands. Strong primary colors really stood out this year on stage. This is a trend that everyone can wear because you can choose the colors that look good on you! I love it!

4. Florals – a look on the rise.

This isn’t a huge trend yet, but I think it’s on the rise and will be big at the Worlds or nationals. Florals are big in the real world right now, so it’s not surprising that designers are using florals in their dresses. I saw a few bodices featuring a floral print that was a strong but fun look. For example, this dancer and this dancer! I love it for the mid-teens groups! Kevinah Dargan rocked an awesome print dress – prints may be taking over! Keep a look out.

5. Cross-hatch Sequins

I mentioned sequins earlier and one more aspect to the sequins is the cross-hatched sequin fabric that Gavin used on several dresses. It’s a great way to add sequins without overwhelming your dress with them. Gavin used it in a ballet shrug look and as more of a main fabric so it definitely is pretty versatile. I’m curious to see if designers will continue to use similar fabrics. Shannon Bradley rocked a beautiful dress covered in this fabric.


1. Mandarin Collars

Doire debuted the updated Mandarin collar last year and it was absolutely everywhere at the All-Irelands. I’ve talked about them before, but I absolutely love this look. Very classy but modern. I really love this with a loose bun wig. A red carpet worthy look for one of Irish dance’s biggest stages.

2. Soft skirts

Skirts have been getting softer and softer over the years and the soft skirt trend continue this year. The big cupcake skirts are dying out and being replaced by clean skirts with some light layering and structuring. Love it! I really like the skirts that have designs going all across the front as well, like this dress.

3. Updated knife pleats

Knife pleats had been dying out, but Gavin brought them back with his dresses at the All-Irelands. Interesting structure with a classic, balanced look works great with bold asymmetrical tops. The 2nd dress from the right on the picture below shows off the look.


1. Side ponytails

It was a huge year for hair at the All-Irelands! The side ponytails that rocked the Oireachtas reappeared at the All-Irelands. It looks like this look is catching on! Can’t wait to see if it catches on the among the main portion of Irish dancers! We’ll just have to wait for nationals. I love this more natural take on the side pony. It really looks great. Here’s Kate Kaneko’s look that created waves at the Oireachtas.

2. Natural hair

I’m very excited to see this look catching on! There were some great natural looks like year proving that you can balance out a dress without a huge wig. Don’t get me wrong, I love wigs but I like variety and everyone having options they love and feel comfortable in. Check out my post on going wigless for tips on how to rock this look. This picture shows the two natural looks – one more straight and one more curly. Both lookin’ good! This is another great natural look.

3. Big tiaras

The rhinestone tiaras that debuted last Worlds continue to be very popular. However, the lighter big tiaras are also popular and allow for a lot of bling without a lot of the weight. Brogan rocks a great version of this.

4. Accents

It looks like flowers are dying down a bit as accents, at least in the U13+ age groups. I love the flowers on the younger age groups but I think it’s a smart move to pare it down a little in the older age groups. The tiaras and blinged headbands are strong enough stand out on stage without too much embellishment.

5. Bun wigs

Bun wigs have grown in popularity over the past few years and they were all over the place at the All-Irelands. Most age categories had at least half of the competitors rocking bun wigs, especially senior dancers and younger dancers.This loose bun wig is very elegant and a great take on the bun wig trend. Again, I really love bun wigs with Mandarin collars! Check out this post for how to get that perfectly loose look.

Make Up

1. Smoky eyes

The biggest make up trend right now is a smoky eye. This is a great look on every U13+ dancer and looks awesome in the Irish dance world and the real world. I love this look rather than the matching eye shadow look.

2. Strong pink lips

What better to match a smoky eye than strong lips? On stage this looks fantastic. I love a strong pink lip

Vanishing Lake

The vanishing lake competition was a great addition to the All-Irelands this year. A true celebration of Irish dance. One of the interesting things of the competition was that the competitors had to wear all black. But that didn’t stop them from adding their own flare! You can put the dancers in black but you can’t take the flare out of the dancer! Make sure you check out all the looks!

That’s it for now – boys coming tomorrow! Did you see anything else? A few more All-Irelands posts to come this week!

Stay Fashionable, Feisers!



6 thoughts on “CLRG All Irelands 2012 – Overall Trend Recaps

  1. I could not se a link on how to get the loose wig look you were talking about on this last post. We are switching from a regular wig to a bun wig for worlds, and I want to her her that perfectly done loose bun wig look. Please repost or send me the link you were referring to. I would really appreciate it! I love your blog and recommend it to all our dancing friends! Hope to hear from you soon! Jenn

    Posted by Jennifer kaiser | February 27, 2012, 3:46 pm
    • Thanks so much! Ah, you’re right I forgot to link it. I’ll update later today! The post was called “getting the look: loose bun wigs” if you look through everything.

      Posted by feisonista | March 1, 2012, 2:38 pm
  2. I loved this post and seeing those trends!
    Just one thing: in the ‘florals’ bit you linked to Fiona Dargan, not Kevinah.
    Keep up the good work! ^_^

    Posted by Kirsten | March 6, 2012, 7:13 am
  3. That’s Fiona Dargan, not Kevinah. Great overview of fashion trends!

    Posted by Kathleen | March 6, 2012, 2:50 pm
  4. I just wanted to comment that you have Kevinah Dargan in the post, but that is actually a photo of Fiona. Thanks for all the great info!!!

    Posted by Gretchen | March 7, 2012, 12:20 am


  1. Pingback: Getting the Look – Top Trends for Summer 2012 « Feisonista - May 27, 2012

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