Pal Zileri Brunch at Harvey Nichols Manchester

A while ago now I was invited to Brunch with the team from Pal Zileri at Harvey Nichols in Manchester. What did I know about Pal Zileri? Nothing. All I new was that I couldn’t afford it. So. Just before I decide to go I think, ‘Oh go on, dress up, it’s Harvey’s’ and swap my Cheap Monday’s Tee for a TM Lewin Shirt and Tiffany and Co. Cufflinks. Thank Christ I did, everyone around the table was in a suit costing £1,500 or more. I gulped my latte and played with my collar.
Need I be worried? No. The team from Pal Zileri were amazing. Bruno, Chief Tailor, was a  masterpiece. He has worked on his craft since he was 14 and is responsible for a staff of 1000 members in Italy that create the timeless suits the brand has become known for. The brand pretty much hires an entire village of Italians.

We ate bacon, talked Politics and Manchester City FC and I even got complimented by the notorious Mark Garner/Gordo from Confidential Publishing: ‘Italian suits look better on someone like my colleague here’ *points to me as I sneeze orange juice*

Still, the brand isn’t all £2,500 suits and old blokes talking EU – they have a new diffusion, LAB by Pail Zilieri. Gotta love a good diffusion.

LAB by Pal Zilieri is a little younger, a little slimmer, a little shinier and a little right up my street. Lapels are tighter, waists are smaller, styling is more casual and palettes are a little more experimental. Bruno and General Manager Phillip dragged me to the Pal Zilieri Concession in Harvey’s to make me try on a jacket. ‘OK’, I said, thinking ‘I don’t think I even like Pal Zilieri’. Phillip took one glance and picked out a jacket that fit like a a £2,500 suit should fit. Only, it was £500. ‘Bargain’ I heard myself say before my bank balance smacked me in the gut. 

Pal Zilieri has me sold. Well, once I can pay off that electric bill.


Harvey Nichols Autumn/Winter (A/W’11) Catwalk Show

It’s that time of year again. Just as London Fashion Week kicks off, Manchester punches first. Harvey Nichols hosted its biannual fashion catwalk show to launch the upcoming commercial season. This time the shindig was held at the Victorian-Gothic Manchester City Hall at Albert’s Square. 
The cars? Oh yeah. Landrover sponsored the do.
The building, eliminated in pink, looked fabulous, as did the event attendees who flocked for not one but TWO shows this year as past shows have always been sold-out and full to capacity. Let the fashion commence. Whilst the ladies wear offer was amazing I was (as usual) very interested in the menswear! The Harvey Nichols styling team did a fantastic job and the attention to detail was inspired, (I know I always say that, but it is true).

Pictures? First off, ‘Canadian Commando’ – a take on last year’s Scandinavian obsession. Layer last year’s Reindeer knits with this year’s lumberjack shirts.

The models get ready….
The model walks.
Paul Smith Hat – £180.00
Nudie Jeans Denim Jacket – £155
Markus Lupfer Tee – £110
J.Lindeberg Shirt – £115
Polo Ralph Lauren Scarves – £70
Redwing Shoes – £159
‘Football Fashion’…. I wasn’t so convinced (not least because I don’t remember seeing football players in boxing gloves). HOWEVER, if we’re allowed to wear boxing gloves with vests now, I am totally willing to give it a try.

Dolce & Gabbana Vest – £125
Dolce and Gabbana Gym Pants – £275
D&G Rucksack – £340
 Dolce & Gabbana – £180
Prada Shades – £184
G-Shock Watch – £110
Can’t do hats. Can do leather, ‘Dark Twisted Fantasy‘ is a reincarnation of last year’s Rock look. Save the glitter Tees and add a new leather number (as a treat)

Paul Smith Hat – £130
Markus Lupfer Jumper – £280
Dsquared2 Jeans – £380
Galliano Jacket – £965

 Now. for more fashion than you can handle, watch this video (courtesy of Tunafish Media) of the night. ALSO, watch out for my cameo speaking about the evening. 😀


Fashion Rambler meets Roland Mouret

So. I’d barely slept since my insane holiday to Gran Canaria with boozy friends (pictures coming soon if you’re good) and I was already back on form.
Roland Mouret, the french man that makes all women weak at the knees and the purse strings, was launching his latest collection at Selfridges Manchester Exchange. I got the chance to ask him a few questions whilst resisting his annoyingly sexy accent.

You can see my interview with him here, but I saved the more important questions for Fashion Rambler readers (as per).

Shirt, customised from Jaeger
Trousers, my trusty TOPMAN Ltd.

Fashion Rambler: You do Bloke’s clothes too. Love it?
Roland Mouret: Menswear is great, it’s fun and different. I hope that my male customers are the partner of my female customers.
(So the gay only designs for Heteros?)
FR: You told the Guardian that we all dress up to undress. Is this how you dress?
RM: Yes. Less now because I’m a bit older. I think we all dress to undress, to find our long term partner, to be a bit sexy and it is really important. It’s the way we are and we shouldn’t avoid it but we shouldn’t put it in people’s faces like ‘I wanna shag’.
FR: Favourite Spice Girls song? (not so odd, he’s BFFs with Victoria Beckham/probably does her designs for her)
RM: No, I don’t have one. I hated the Spice Girls.
FR: Does Victoria know?
RM: She does, it makes her laugh because we are really good friends now. I hated that they were everywhere, in your face. It was what it was and it was the 1990s. But no, I wasn’t a fan.
It was then time for the fashion show which was my cue to exit to get to my dinner at Harvey Nichols (and you thought I’d dressed up for him?). To celebrating their being chosen as Manchester Cathedral’s main grub provider, Harvey’s threw a dinner party for the Manchester set. Any excuse.

Lily Allen’s Lucy in Disguise North West Launch in Harvey Nichols

Lily Allen was in Manchester on Thursday night to launch her new Lucy In Disguise brand to Harvey Nichols’ Northern flagship. Accompanied by her business partner and sister Sarah Owen Lily was greeted by paps, journos and fans in the second floor ladies wear department of the designer store.
Lily and Sarah at their covert photo call. 
Champagne circulated and brownies on sticks (i know, odd) were munched by girls in vintage inspired attire whilst grammar-phones played tinny tunes (yes, it did get annoying after a little while).
The designer duo arrived by wheels and were ushered into a lift from the security ridden underground car park. The lift hoisted them up to Womenswear where in Personal Shopping a photo-call for the national press was held before Emma Doyle of Manchester Fashion Network brought them out for questioning. The military precision of the exercise is what amazed me, these event always look for effortless and fun but the work that has gone in, behind the scenes, to prevent Miss Allen throwing a hissy, is immense.
can you see me?

A swift 13 minutes of questions, non direct from the floor out of worry for rude hecklers (heckle, moi?), followed and Miss Doyle surpassed my expectations as a rather fantastic interviewer. 

Emma Doyle and the sisters.

On the reasons for going into fashion Sarah, the considerably more business minded of the two, said: “sizing was always key for us”. The Lucy In Disguise store in London brings vintage clothing from around the world into the contemporary shop floor. Vintage sizes are notoriously awkward and Owen saw a market for change. Lily adds that “contemporary wear theses days is quite androgynous and we thought there was a hole in the market for femininity”

 Shirt, Jaegar
Jeans, ASOS,
Boots, Hudson at Schuh (
The pair meet with their ghost designer and bring images, cut-outs, film references and books to the table to sketch out the ideas for their creations. The sisters are very much involved in the design process, Owens telling the crowd: “I am taking it very seriously, I’m just not up my own arse with it”. I asked the question as to whether the brand would branch into Menswear, a question which to my surprise was met with laughter from the pair. Lily screamed: “No!…Brucey in Disguise” to the near applause of the audience. She continued, “I’m not sure how I feel about vintage menswear, I don’t find it very sexy”.
That was me told (but I ignored.)
Lisa Stannard, the North West based Illustrator whose work makes up 
 the Lucy In Disguise branding.
The best coverage of the event has to be Lynda Moyo’s for Body Confidential, here.

Fashion Rambler meet Heidi Gosman

After a delay of volcanic proportions Heidi Gosman of Heidi Klein touched down at Manchester’s Harvey Nichols to chat to me about her latest venture. Menswear.
The London shopkeeper boasts two swim and holiday-wear boutiques in Westbourne Grove and Chelsea. After a significant impact online with both their own buy label other brands stocked Gosman and her business partner at going global. Stores are planned for Miami, New York and Montenegro whilst pop-ups are being tested in Manchester’s Harvey Nichols ahead of possible national expansion.
Another feather in Gosman’s cap will soon be that of menswear designer, adding menswear to the online store.
I had to test her skills out…
Fashion Rambler: Speedos, Boxer Briefs or Shorts?
Heidi Gosman: Never Speedos! It’s the shorts. I think men need more choice, as I think menswear is where womenswear was ten years ago and men are becoming more savvy and going on holiday more.
FR: European influence I think, Italian men get swimwear.
HG: Yes! The women on the continent change bikinis all day!
FR: Flip-flops or sandals?
HG: Flip-flops, but nice ones. You can get nice sandals sometimes but flip-flops are great.]

FR: Foot care for men?
HG: They have to do it. I was in St. Tropez last week and this really nice looking young boy was just getting off one of the yachts. He walked past and his feet were…. well, the illusion had just gone!
FR: Parasol or Windbreaker?
FR: Parasol of Windbreaker?
I think a windbreaker can look quite nice and retro… with a deckchair (we use them a lot in our windows)
FR: Quite Victorian… Beer or Cocktail?
HG: Cocktail.
And she was doing so well.

My favourite picks for the current offer?

 Vilerequin Shorts £110.00, buy here

Vilebrequin Vintage Shorts, £80.00, buy here

You can see the full interview with Heidi here.


Harvey Nichols S/S ’11 Catwalk Show

It was that time of year again. The time for WAGs and Fashion Insiders alike (I’m somewhere in-between methinks) to gather and be mesmerized by the Harvey Nichols Collections Catwalk Show.
This season’s show was hosted in one of my favourite Manchester landmarks, the Manchester Art Gallery. Upon moving back to Manchester one of my first dates with the city was spent here. I would wander the halls aimlessly for hours, alone, contemplative and supremely happy. The drama of the 18c epics and the intricacy of the antiques is something no one can pass by. The place has always had a special place in my heart and so it was a thrill to spend the evening among the greats in Art and in Fashion.
The show itself was hosted in one of the temporary exhibition lots towards the rear of the Gallery. Guest wondered through the gallery with drinks and were papped en route to their seats. The usual gaggle of WAGs were present although as far as celebrity guests were concerned they must have been filming late at Granada because I spotted non of the usual crowd. The biggest clique by far was the Manchester Confidential lot who stole the twitter airwaves throughout the show with the hashtag #mclt (Manchester Confidential Live Tweet) and ended up getting the discussion topic trending as one of the most tweeted topics in Manchester! Read there commentary of the night here, see if you can spot my tweets!
 from left Lynda Moyo: Fashion Editor for Manchester Confidential, Mike: Brands Assistant for The Fashion Network, Emma: PR for The Fashion Network, Katie: Manchester Corespondant for Stylist Magazine and moi.
Before I delve into my favourites of the menswear effort I’ll let you know what I wore. Everything was new with a healthy (for my bank balance) ratio of 1:3 designer to highstreet.

 Blazer, Zara
T-Shirt, John Galliano
Trouser, TOPMAN Ltd. Edition
Scent, Tom Ford (of course)
The show was separated into 12 trends, six for each gender. My favourites for menswear were American Preppy and Sports Luxe.
Prep was represented by some of the usual American suspects i.e. Ralph Lauren and Ray Ban but the Yanks were teamed with the Best of British to create a transatlantic sense of summer tosh.

Nicole Farhi cardigan (£160), Nicole Farhi shorts (£109), Polo Ralph Lauren polo (£70), Dolce
& Gabbana bow tie (£95), Paul Smith bag (£175), FFOR shoes (£80)

Ralph Lauren polo top (£70), Gucci jacket (£865), Nicole Fahri trousers (£99), D&G tie (£65),
Sperry shoes (£82), Polo Ralph Lauren socks (£10.50)
What I loved about the American Preppy look is that is is so easy to replicate when on a budget. Half of the staples I have in my ‘it might come back into fashion’ pile and the extras are easy to find in the high street. Although, I wouldn’t mind treating myself to a D&G Bow Tie…
Sports Luxe was a surprise because whenever I see a show with a sports theme I usually get bored and think, “these are the clothes they couldn’t fit into another theme”. This was not the case this time! Sports Luxe wowed and got me thinking, I should get that gym membership.

Moncler gilet (£275), Markus Lupfer jumper (£195), D&G shorts (£125), Balenciaga bag
(£550), Balenciaga hi tops (£345), Casio watch (£85)

D&G shorts (£125), Umbro jacket (£120), Umbro t-shirt (£40), Paul Smith bag (£120),
Alexander McQueen trainers (£145), Casio watch (£110)
I was especially impressed with the way Umbro was styled into the theme. Umbro have recently launched a new line designed by Peter Saville formerly of Factory Records. I went to the launch and will blog soon! Anyway, the New Fabric of England collection ‘tailored by Umbro’ was a smash hit and injected a little Manc passion to the sports proceedings.
The show ended and guests shopped the show at Harvey Nichols just down the road. enroute myself and my ever-gorgeous +1 Christopher Hulme stumbled across a H&M Student 20% Lock In and had our mug shot taken… odd.
Before I sign off. An important message. £10 of every ticket sold for the Harvey Nichols show was donated to the Manchester Art Gallery to keep the Arts alive in Manchester. The Arts desperately need the support of the people who enjoy them in these disastrous economical times. Cameron has already dissolved the UK Film Council, what’s next? Don’t let art die in the UK, support it here.

Tag, I’m it!

I’ve been a busy pea these last few weeks. So, in light of my revision nightmare I’m going to plan this blog before writing it.
Introduction: DONE
1. Post-Christmas trauma
2. Exam revision 
3. Moving house
4. Sale shopping 
5. Conclusion
Those of you delightful stalkers that follow my life on Twitter will no doubt already know about all of this and more.
So, Christmas was amazing. I didn’t want it to end, hence being so bloody late with my Xmas review. I got lots of lovely pressies and gave some homemade joy too. Adam and I (in a bid to save money) made: candles, bath bombes, gingerbreadmen, soaps, shortbread, truffles, decorations and more (and ended up spending a fortune!) But it was fun.
This is me being all Wolf Whistle with my new camera from Mother and Father and my new Fashion Rambler (publicity whore) bag from the rents too (I know, cool parents ‘eh?)
Hair, not done (I’ve been busy!)
T-Shirt, Religion
Jeans, H&M
Socks, ASOS
New Flat’s funky mirror, included in rent. 
2. Revision Hell. Why would I bore you with that?
3. Moving House. We’ve moved from our lovely green-house of a glass box to a bigger more comfortable premises in the historic heart of Manchester. 
Google Maps
The Victorian train lines go over head, the canal systems merge with the old Mills (now £3,500 pcm Penthouses and Key 103 FM HQs) and the bars sell £4.50 pints. The whole place, an urban heritage park, is beautiful and Mancunian and post-industrial and amazing. Very fitting since I’m currently reading Shirley and it’s all about Yorkshire Mills and petticoats. Outfit posts feat. the surroundings coming soon (maybe even a petticoat)
4.  Sale Shopping: I think the sales have been poor this year. Just pants. Although I found an amazing Galliano Tee (The Galliano Gazette Tee) for Harvey Nichols from £105 to £75!!! I hesitated, waiting for final reductions. When they came the Harvey Nichols Manchester twitter announced the reductions, I tweeted them to ask if the Tee was reduced, IT WAS! So, I ran to the store and….they had sold out. Online too. GUTTED.
5. Conclusion: Sara Wilson, my absolute favourite, has tagged me in one of those tag-a-blogger-for-stupid-reasons games that I (secretly) love.
So, I now have to write seven things about myself… pointless procrastination (much needed)
1. I was deaf when I was born and make up for it by being all loud and stuffs.
2. I had a love affair with London, until I went to New York… though Manchester will forever be my home.
3. I have a thing about tidiness and cleanliness, my home must be orderly for my brain to be.
4. My Mother is my bestest friend, don’t care what Freud would say.
5. I study English Literature despite being dyslexic and never having time to read.
6. I went to a press day yesterday at Selfridges Manchester Trafford and made the Fashion Editor of Manchester Confidential lol when I did a U-turn from a PR trying to get me to sample Sandro S/S’11.
7. I have not even been blogging for a year and consider it one of my bestest hobbies ever.
Now to tag: Buckets & Spades, Male Mode, Fuck Off Kitty: Confessions of a Disney Princess, Disney Roller Girl, Wolf Whistle, Tweet, Dinky’s Delights I can’t be bothered with hyperlinking anyone else… TAGS TO EVERYONE!
Selfridges & Co Ltd

Making It: PR & Marketing

The two panelists, Amy Young and Jessica Lowe.

My attempt at explaining Affiliate Links!

I went to a little get-together the other day at The General Store on Deansgate in Manchester and got the chance to find out a little bit about the world of Fashion PR & Marketing.

Jessica Lowe from Harvey Nichols Manchester and Amy Young from Jacobson Group (Parent company of Gola et cetera) sat, nervously, in front of a sea of students, lecturers and people working within PR & Marketing to divulged a little bit about their careers, how they got to their level and what it is like being a PR in Fashion.

The event tackled questions like the current economic climate, whether Universities prepare student for the world of work, and began to sound a little bit like a BBC Radio 4 discussion being broadcast at 5:35am but needless to say the ladies were well prepared to answer any question and were generally a rather brilliant advert for the career choice!

The topic of conversation that I brought up was that of Affiliate Links as a marketing tool within the Online/Social Media sector. I addressed my question to Amy because her role demands national press relations where as Jessica’s concentrates on the customer catchment area for Harvey Nichols Manchester specific.

For those of you that don’t quite know what Affiliate Links are I’ll do my very best to tell you briefly, as I did to the audience that very night. Affiliate linking is a method of generating money for your website or blog based on HTML coding and Hyperlinks. If you own a website or blog and are signed up to an Affiliate scheme, you will be able to gain access to HTML codes from retailers that agree to engage in an Affiliate relationship with you and your website. These HTML Codes, when embedded within your web content as a Hyperlink, can let your chosen retailer know that a click to there website has come from yours. If this click then generates a sale (a process called Click Conversation) you can get a percentage of the transaction amount paid. If, however, you’re an experienced Affiliate linker you can engage in special deals with certain Affiliate providers that enable you to generate an income based solely on clicks, with no purchase necessary! Click here for more information (don’t worry I am not just saying that to get money :D)

After I explained all that Amy answered, “at the moment no, for Gola online at the moment we use a lot of PPC with Google … we’ve only been online for just over a year and it’s traditional PR & Marketing so you’re learning on the job with Online Media!” Which was such an interesting answer because it proves how new and progressive Online Media is. Even the PRs are having to catch up with the opportunities available to them!

Another topic discussed by both ladies was the idea of Networking as an important part of their job. Jessica said, “I get most things done just by knowing people”. When asked about starting out and getting those few first contacts Jessica answered “it is something that you build up slowly … get yourself on Twitter! I think it is amazing how many people you meet through Twitter … I only saw Jordan’s face for the first time last night but we’ve had many a conversation!”

And on that note I shall direct you to a recent Guest Blog post I wrote for The University of Manchester Fashion Blog which demands that Twitter become part of everyone’s life! End.

Fashion’s Night Out: Manchester

If there is a fashion event going on somewhere in the world, the chances are, Manchester is hosting its own version. British VOGUE’s Fashion’s Night Out London is no exception with Manchester being well represented by Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

Fashion’s Night Out was created by American VOGUE Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour (as if you didn’t know) to help an upsurge in sales during the 2009 recession. One year on and the event is being hosted by representative VOGUEs in the US, UK, Germany, France, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Korea, Japan, China and Australia. Pretty good going if you ask me.

In Manchester however, whilst a crowd including Martine Alexander and Clare of tweet partied with Henry Holland to celebrate his Autumn/Winter collection launch in Selfridges Manchester Exchange Square, I partied next door with a bunch of tipsy ladies that lunchin Harvey Nichols! (See Martine’s blog about the night here)

The first floor of the palace of perfection was kitted out for the soiree with VOGUE covers, a drinks bar, DJ and pamper section overflowing with lotions, potions, tweezers and powders. Grabbing a drink I nabbed prime position for the second of the night’s three fashionshows, Denim Deluxe.

I’d missed the ‘More Cash than Dash’ show and would then go on to miss the ‘International Collections’ show because my party of fashionably inept gentlemen wanted pints in Castlefield instead! Sacre Bleu. Still, the show was intimate and simple and showcased some beautiful denim on some beautiful models.

Of the pampering section, Andrew Barn of Barnit salon represented, as did Yves Saint Laurent purfumes and Shu Uemura make up. It all got a bit Oestrogentastic for me so I swept back past the bar and headed out.

Well done Harvey’s, lets hope next year is even bigger!