Armani Live

I’m back. Paris was amazing, just a (cold) Fairytale. There was wine, graffiti, wine, an Eiffel Tower, an Arch de Triumph, wine, wine and wine. More on that in another post. 
For now, here are some snaps from the Emporio Armani Live gig at Manchester’s flagship Armani store on Deansgate. Rather a swish affair, leaning more towards sound than style with a fresh crowd of music geeks and lovely elderflower cocktails. Oh and… Bez.

It’s that Bez guy.

Egyptian Hip Hop

JP Cooper.

Polarsets

Slow Club.
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Southern 11’s Shake ‘n Make Cocktails!

When Yorkshire man James Hitchen felt like opening a kitchen, Southern 11 was born. Finding his foodie niche, Hitchen traveled to the deep south of American to learn how to make authentic American soul BBQ food before bringing his interpretation to Manchester. First spotted in Manchester Arndale’s Food Hall Southern11 was a fast-food counter dipping its metaphorical toe into the restaurant business. It was a success and soon Hitchen’s real dream was reality, a high end yet comfortable food house in Manchester’s Spinningfields. 
Situated on Hardman Street alongside PureGym Hitchen’s new restaurant has won critical acclaim from many including Manchester Confidential who reported: “Serving up quality food, with attention to detail at exactly the right price, Southern 11 has been warmly busy on every visit and I’m not surprised.”
Only, I’m not exactly about food here at Fashion Rambler and so I was asked to sample something all together different. The cocktail menu. Southern11’s Shake ‘n Make cocktail menu invites you to choose your flavour and make it yourself. Quite lazy on the barman’s side but actually rather fun!
I’d love to tell you when we ordered but I neglected to note it down and after the toxicity of the beverages I’m surprised I remembered anything at all.
My platter can with a frosted martini glass, shaker filled with ice and five shot glasses. In the shot glasses were: Violet Liquor, Violet Syrup, Vodka Cranberry, Lemon and Chambord. 
Adam’s included Bacardi Gold, Chambord, Cranberry Juice, Strawberry Puree, Lime and Sugar Syrup. Once you’ve got your platter you pour in your ingredients…
…then you shake!
Now that you’ve worked up a thirst, pour and decorate. 
Mine with (apparently) edible flowers and Adam’s with summer fruits (that sank).
All for £5.95 each. Bargain we say *hick-ups*

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CK Calvin Klein UK Launch

You’ve heard of Calvin Klein, but have you heard of CK Calvin Klein? Perhaps.. but chances are that you have not shopped there. CK Calvin Klein is yet another diffusion line part of the super-brand’s global domination strategy. 
CK Calvin Klein bridges the gap between Calvin Klein (NYC Fashion Week etc. etc.) and CK Jeans (at your local out-of-town shopping village). The first UK CK Calvin Klein store is opening it’s doors in Manchester’s new shopping desination The Avenue at Spinningfields and I was there to sup the champers.
 Moi and ma homies. image courtesy of manchesterconfidential.com
If you follow me on Twitter (and yes, you should) you’ll no doubt have seen my tweets last Thursday night declaring my innate predictability concerning what to wear to the shin-dig. Of course I wore Calvin Klein (no, not CK Calvin Klein, the store have only just opened, keep up). 
I got the shirt whilst shopping in NYC, as you do and before you ask no this shirt is a little more TKMaxx than Fifth Avenue (see my blog about Century21 Department Store/discount Mecca here).
Anywho when paired with Adam’s trusty Wrangler skinny jeans and my new 80s retro flattop I was looking rather swish. I say flat top… it’s not exactly a flat top, more a series of flat tops… I think my hairdresser was pissed.
You can see my full report here
Oh, the clothes: CK Calvin Klein’s SS11 menswear line was very new-tral and earthy, i.e., exactly like the Calvin Klein shirt I was wearing! Bang on trend. (don’t call me Gok).

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Fashion Rambler meet Jonathan Stoner, MD Phillip Stoner

As the now infamous JLo song goes (kinda), I was fooled by the rocks that Phillip Stoner’s got, I’m still, I’m still, craving them alot. True to the song too is the story of the brand, first they had a little now they have a lot, but they certainly know where they came from (Bradford).

I met with MD Jonathan Stoner at the company’s new flagship on the Avenue in Spinningfields the other day. Jonathan (no, not Mr Stoner) is a lovely guy with a hands on approach to his diamond company, working 6 days a week on the shop floor (doing what, I am not sure) and rarely taking holidays. Jonathan took over the North West diamond and platinum specialist twenty years ago after his father built it up from a small independent to a chain of well respected jewellers.

When asked about the recent openning of their latest flagship in Manchester, Stoner said: “Manchester seemed like the right move.” Sitting alongside international fashion brands like Armani and Mulberry the Phillip Stoner store in Spinningfields certainly looks the part. However, how might a company specialising in diamonds survive the choppy waters of the recession? Stoners answer: “i took the company more upmarket”….Ok… Now sourcing direct from New York, Mumbai and Hong Kong the company can retain quality and remain competitive – method in the madness it would seem.

The company has grown year on year and serves as an example within the retail sector that whilst the highstreet drowns for the high end it’s plain sailing. Or not quite, as the case may be, Jonathan was quick to point out that the brand and the team have worked very hard “much more than we have had to in the past” to keep sales coming in and diamonds exchanging hands.

One of the ways that Phillip Stoner are working hard is with New and Social Media. A transactional website, backed up by a new Twitter feed and Facebook is putting premium jewellery on the Google map. I asked how sales of jewellery starting at £2,000.00 fared on the notoriously faster paced and lower priced world of etail, the answer: they don’t.  Phillip Stoner introduced the new Italian brand TiSento into the online mix to bring the price point down to meet with the virtual customer piggy bank.

A fabulous brand with a plan for the future, look out for Phillip Stoner.

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Flannels Grand Launch on The Avenue in Manchester’s Spinningfields

I went to a do the other day, a cocktail party held at Flannels to commemorate their flagship superstore on The Avenue in Manchester’s corporate quarter, Spinningfields. 

I went for Riviera whilst ever other gent went for Mad Men in stuffy suits. Silly.


Shirt: TOPMAN
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Deck Shoes: KG By Kurt Geiger
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 Inspired by: Henri Lloyd S/S’11
 
The Alchemist (the hawt spot of the momento) provided too-good-to-pass-up drinks and the canapes were proper grub! Mini newspaper cones filled with fish ‘n chips, cottage pie pots and even mini hamburgers. Phaww!
The store is pretty magnificent too, a huge airy space jam-packed with the best The Avenue has to offer. Mathew Williamson, Tom Ford, Dolce and Gabbana, Joseph, Carven…. you name it, they stock it.

I adored the merchandising, the simplicity never stopped amazing me. The picture speak for themselves.


Radio One favourites Frisky and Manish popped by for a rather fabulous set. I am hooked, so should you be:



Henri Lloyd Selfridges & Co Ltd Arcadia Group Brands Ltd

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Nicky Clarke Salon Launch, Manchester Spinningfields

Went to a launch the other night. Was a rather excellent do. Mr Clarke opened his latest (and biggest) salon to a swam of paps, WAGS and Hollyoaks stars. Bonus.

I didn’t take my own photos because I was a little too busy uber-mingling to get my SLR out. Mega fail. However, I wore John Galliano (controversial) and TOPMAN Ltd.
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Cupcakes from HeyLittleCupcake, drinks from Alchemist and straighteners from NClarke. That’s how you do it baby.

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TOPMAN

T.M. Lewin Manchester Spinningfields store launch

T.M.Lewin opened their 99th UK store in Manchester’s business quarter last week and I got the chance to pop by for a glass of bubbly and a shirt! More on that later, firstly a tour. For a small store the stock on offer is fantastic. Shirts line every wall with suiting taking up the far corner and ladieswear the entrance. The store reminded me of Harry Potter, you know where Potter goes to buy a wand and their all stacked up around the store. Like a treasure trove of Cotton and Cuff-link excellence.
 
I’m a bit of a fan of the tie. I love how ridiculous they are, so unnecessary and pompous. I love how they have rules and regulations, their the metaphor of menswear in general. A strict rule making regime that needs careful consideration and time. Still, these ties are those proper suit ties and their so wide at the bottom I look like a clown when I where them. I’ll stick to the skinny ones methinks.
Got this great video on the T.M.Lewin community site, a site all about workwear and how to wear it. Pretty nifty.

Two lovely staff members who wanted a snap!

 Well done T.M.Lewin, welcome to Spinningfields.

TM Lewin and Sons Ltd.

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