A Night With Harvey : The Harvey Nichols, Manchester SS14 Fashion Show.

Last Wednesday, Manchester’s finest gathered at Harvey Nichols for their Spring/Summer 2014 fashion show.

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Harvey Nichols, Manchester SS14 Fashion Show.

Guests entered via a red-carpeted entrance to be greeted with a champagne reception.My friend, Helen, of popular, satirical blog ‘Lady Fauntleroy’, quickly dubbed the department store a “classy joint” as she accepted her top up of Perrier Jouet. It wasn’t us that left the water mark on the Laura Mercier counter, honest.

With a well received 15% throughout the store, beautifully-dressed shoppers browsed the departments; selecting Christopher Kane biker jackets in mint lace, Sophia Webster printed sling-backs and PVC Marc By Marc Jacobs tote bags emblazoned with cats. It’s as if Marc accepts and anticipates our inevitable cat lady fate.

We wandered the Beauty Hall accepting free samples like the American women you see on Extreme Couponing. Yes, I have found a way to marry high fashion with trash TV. A sample of the new Burberry Brit fragrance has now been passed to my boyfriend’s Mum in an attempt to score Brownie points.

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Anticipation.

Buzzing with anticipation, the two hundred strong crowd made their way up to the first floor womenswear department to take their seats beside the runway. A stark white setting made for a perfect blank canvas to showcase the collections. Floral garlands hung low from the ceiling to create visions of summer holidays and subdued red and blue lighting added to the atmosphere and illusion of intimacy.

Initial people-watching concluded that Manchester ladies enjoy a blow dry. Mancunians, seemingly, are immune to sudden gusts of wind. Toes were pinched by glossy Louboutins, quilted Chanel handbags were worn across Isabel Marant crochet and woollen coats in sugary, summer shades were slung across lightly tanned shoulders.

Bright lights were met by the sudden hush of the audience. With accompanying, pulsating music, the first collection, entitled ‘Street Side Story’, was presented. A modern take on street wear, this style story evoked the aesthetic of Miss Vogue with luxe sportswear references and lots of zips! I particularly liked a McQ Alexander McQueen printed bomber jacket, a cobalt blue envelope clutch bag with statement detailing and Sam’s Guiseppe Zanotti high tops of a similar shade.

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Not sure about these, Versace. Alexander McQueen Jacket £3,065.00 Versace Jeans £535.00

Duke Dumont signalled the arrival of the second edit. For many attendees, the high light of ‘Throwback’ was, without doubt, the Versace jeans worn by male model, Nathan. A-maz-ing! Monochrome womenswear served to highlight to variety of pattern and strong colour of the menswear. I loved the bright, relaxed Maison Martin Margiela tailoring for a daytime look.

Givenchy, I love you.

Givenchy, I love you.

Next, Givenchy took centre stage for ‘Midnight Garden’. I’d already made a beeline for these floral lovelies earlier, whilst browsing the designer accessories. Stella McCartney provided equally covetable offerings, too, in gorgeous mock croc.

I wants one.

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Bottle Green Valentino featured heavily on the runway. Love the fringing!

Wine bottle green was prominent in the ‘Keen Explorer’ collection. Again, for me, the accessories were a stand out and, paired with the earthy colour palette, Valentino and Alaia provided slick, safari inspired, city wear.

However, it was ‘Seductive Softness’ that really captured my excitement and it became the aesthetic I would be keen to mirror this Spring.

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Dreaming of Isabel Marant, £585.00.

Fleetwood Mac added a welcome note of Summer nostalgia as we were presented with gypsy blouses from Chloé and boho Isabel Marant looks with romantic rose gold accessories. For evening, I liked a lilac maxi skirt from Roksanda Ilincic with an unexpected flash of mint green. The stand out piece, however, was a long sleeved, sheer Isabel Marant dress. In wearable cream shade it would be perfect occassion wear, but, equally, would be great for the weekend with sandals and a denim jacket. For £585.00, I’d want it to be versatile.

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More Isabel Marant, £1,210.00.

The menswear formed a dark backdrop for the finale: ‘Metallics’.

I somehow think I wouldn’t get my partner into a pair of Dolce and Gabbana velvet slippers, but Kumi worked them. Although, I wasn’t too sure about the Calvin Klein Collection printed trousers with which they were paired. Models positively strutted down the runway to the beat of Beyoncé’s ‘Run The World (Girls)’. Gucci provided a Studio 54 throwback with a metallic jumpsuit. Isabel Marant (again) had me wishing for a gold bomber evoking left-bank cool. Closer inspection of a pair of purple leggings showed them up to be Tamara Mellon thigh high boots. I think I’d give them a miss in favour of her gladiator sandals or Nicholas Kirkwood pumps, but, on April, they looked great.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the night, but I really enjoyed myself. Not a typical Wednesday night, for me, but I wouldn’t mind if it became so!

J.

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Darcel Doesn’t Disappoint : Craig Redman, Craig and Karl x Le Specs and Pretty Little Thing.

On Monday, I’d almost finished drafting my intended blog post for today, when the evening’s homework help requests started pouring in. Eventually, I somewhat huffily agreed to help with my brother’s art homework. I say ‘huffily’, but my friends remember the intensity with which I watched over Niall, each year, as he painted a boiled egg for the ‘Decorate an Easter Egg’ competition, at primary school. He won two years in a row.

Just sayin’.

After an hour, with my brother, trawling through Google, my original post was shelved and today’s post morphed into this: a spotlight on Australian creative, Craig Redman.

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Darcel toasts the New Bond St Louis Vuitton Maison at http://www.darceldisappoints.com/

 Using a variety of different mediums, he’s one of those people that makes you feel distinctly talentless. I was astounded by his impressive portfolio. Envy-inducing Redman has worked on projects for Apple, The xx, Nike and luxury group LVMH. Painter, Graphic Designer, Sculptor, Animator; Craig Redman is arguably most well-known for his blog: ‘Darcel Disappoints’.

His illustrations of character, Darcel, have found international acclaim. It seems, to me, that Redman engages his readers because his illustrations aren’t dream-like or un-relatable. They portray the daily grind of modern life; living in a cramped studio apartment, taking a selfie in the bathroom, being alone and hating everyone on Valentine’s Day… I’m hooked.

This is my fashion blog, however, and so I have to show you the tenuous link to the my subject matter. It was these fashion illustrations, completed during the recent New York Fashion Week, that peaked my interest.

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Darcel’s NYFW Street Style in Band of Outsiders at http://www.darceldisappoints.com/

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Working Proenza Schouler at http://www.darceldisappoints.com/

Whilst I am very fond of the likes of fashion illustrators Sabine Pieper, Richard Haines of ‘What I Saw Today’ and Garance Doré; there was something refreshing about Darcel that made me sit up and take notice. It could be the strong, graphic shapes, saturated with colour. Or, it could be the fact that Darcel is an eye, with stick-limbs and half a spectacle frame perched on his non-face, stood outside Louis Vuitton on New Bond St. They’re cool. I like ’em.

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With research, I was surprised just how entrenched Craig Redman is within the fashion industry. He lives in New York and is half of design-duo ‘Craig and Karl’; collaborating daily with his London-based partner, Karl Maier, to produce work for clients including British Vogue and New York Magazine.

Craig and Karl have worked on a number of fashion collaborations. Namely, in 2013, they worked with Luxury accessories brand MCM to release two collections of classic, monogram designs marked with childlike, pop-art illustrations: MCM x Craig & Karl ‘Eyes on the Horizon’ and MCM x Craig & Karl ‘Beyond Snowdome’.

Susie Lau of Style Bubble fame is, of course, clued-up on their latest collaboration and I now recall reading her post about an upcoming Craig and Karl x Le Specs sunglass collection.

Le Specs are an Australian brand,  with their designs championed by the likes of Miranda Kerr and Rihanna.

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A pastel colour palette for Craig and Karl x Le Specs. Images courtesy of Style Bubble.

The new fifteen piece collection, with Craig and Karl, is currently sold internationally in stores in Paris, Hong Kong and New York. But, if you fancy a piece of art for your face, Net-a-Porter sells selected pieces with a price point of around the £60.00 mark.

I must say, they’re a little cray-zee for me but they won’t look out of place on holiday or at the festivals this summer.

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Le Speccy at http://www.prettylittlething.com/ with these Sienna Frosted Pink Retro Sunglasses, £6.00

£60.00 to jump on the Le Specs bandwagon? Hmm. I have a tendency to sit on or lose my sunglasses and so i’ll be looking to prettylittlething.com as my way forward, this year. The retailer has a great selection of bold directional pieces and classic styles.

A £6.00 spend on sunglasses, knowing full well they’ll eventually rattle around the footwell of my Mini?

Yeah, I can deal with that.

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‘What you learn from living in New York is that the only thing people give a fuck about is themselves’. http://www.darceldisappoints.com/

J.