Manchester Confidential: A Year in Fashion and Beauty

2011 is nearing its end and to celebrate myself and the beautiful Lynda Moyo, of Manchester Confidential, compiled a list of the top dogs in Fashion and Beauty within the North West.

Northern brand, Gio-Goi, won Best Menswear High Street retailer

Each To Their Own Boutique won Best Menswear Indie of the Year.
You can read the full list here. Congrats to all finalists!
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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.

END.

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 (www.schuh.co.uk)
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.
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Fashion Rambler mees Lynda Moyo of Confidential Publications

I got to chat to my Editor at Manchester Confidential about the industry and her thoughts on ‘online’.
Fashion Rambler: What are your thoughts on the power of online media, will it take out print or not?
Lynda Moyo: I think most people in their 20s and 30s read the news online these days as it’s more accessible; most of us are sat on computers all day anyway. I used to buy all the glossy magazines, but what I’ve found now is that by the time I’ve bought them they’re actually out of date because I’ve already seen all the outfits online. This is why all newspapers and magazines are now dedicating more time to developing their websites. That said, I think there will also always be a place for print (I love getting the papers delivered on a Sunday) but the ratio is shifting remarkably, in favour of online. As I type this, the following story has just popped up in my Google news feed: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/14/us-media-readership-idUSTRE72D0WC20110314 
Lynda in British Vogue (left)
FR: What differences do you think are apparent between a role in print and a role in digital daily publications? 
LM: I have always worked in online, apart from a few stints of print work experience down in London. I enjoy online because it’s instant and whilst we do have deadlines, we’re not bound by them. If a huge story breaks, we will get it out there first and that is very satisfying.  You also get to understand the technical side of publishing for the web, which is a great skill to have in the modern day. 
FR: Do you consider the NW fashion sphere the focus of your work or the national/international fashion world?
LM: I cover Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and the surrounding areas. We are launching www.LondonConfidential.co.uk   this spring, so the scope will become national too and hopefully, one day, international. Confidential is taking over the world. You heard it here first….
Follow Lynda on Twitter: @lyndamoyo
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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
Shoes, TOPMAN
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.
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