GUESS WHO’S BACK

BACK AGAIN…

What was meant to be only a short hiatus from blogging during exam period unfortunately turned into a four month break from writing! This was unintentional, after getting out of the swing of things and after an extremely draining and stressful exam period I found it incredibly hard to bring myself to blog again. After hours and hours of revising I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down in front of my laptop and start writing pieces again. However, I’ve fully recovered now from that exhausting period and I am now a Law Graduate from the University of Durham with an Upper Second Class (2:1) Degree (eek! I can now put those letters at the end of my name).

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So, a lot has happened since I last posted in my own world, within the fashion world and the world as a whole during my break from blogging. I have now officially moved back to the North West of England after leaving Durham for the foreseeable future and I am currently in the process of figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life – other than watching Love Island that is. Since being home I have volunteered at Flare International Festival of New Theatre in Manchester, which was exciting. I have also carried out a weeks work experience at an amazing marketing firm in Liverpool, Agent Marketing, which was an invaluable experience as I discovered that I would now like to pursue a career in that field. As I yearn for the city-life and after experiencing what it is like to work in the two great cities of the North West, I no longer necessarily wish to pursue a career in London as I feel Manchester and Liverpool can offer me everything that London can but on a much smaller and much more intimate scale, which is what I like – I mean I did go to uni in Durham, which is surely the smallest city in England!

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A great deal has also happened in the fashion world since I’ve been MIA. British Vogue has got a new Editor-in-Chief, Edward Enninful. I can’t wait to see what he brings to the publication, and I am eagerly awaiting his first issue – the September issue, nonetheless! We were given a taste of the coming trends at the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week autumn/winter 2017. I must admit I am a bit behind when it comes to the fashion world at the minute, but I plan to catch up and to keep up with it now that I’m getting back into the swing of things.

I am sure to post on my trip to New York next month so look out for that, and I will definitely post on any other jaunts I go on and any news/events that catch my eye!

MY GUIDE TO THE NORTH’S RAINIEST CITY – MANCHESTER

And so it begins…. this week saw the start of my third and FINAL year at the University of Durham and after a fun-filled Freshers week the work has already started to pile up, I already feel miles behind and the weather has taken a turn for the worst, with icy winds and torrential monsoon rain making an appearance – pathetic fallacy perhaps marking the end of all the fun and frivolities with the return of the doom and gloom that comes with attaining a degree. However, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my hometown and its surrounding area by all this rancid rain, evoking a feeling of homesickness. These rainy days remind me of all the joys the North-West has to offer. Being located slap bang in-between two of the greatest cities the North has to offer I am only a short train journey away from a host of weird and wonderful things. And all this rain has got me thinking about the rainiest city of them all, Manchester. So, I’m going to share with you a few of my favourite places in this vibrant and diverse city including shopping hotspots, eateries and more.

Shopping

Manchester is a heavan for any shopaholic! The Arndale Centre is full of high street favourites (e.g. Topshop, UO) and little treasure troves full of vintage delights are dotted about Manchester’s edgy Northern Quarter. I prefer hunting out unique pieces not likely to be found elsewhere and so I am going to share a few of the places where such items are likely to be found.

Afflecks Palace

In the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Afflecks Palace is bound to satisfy you if you are in need of the weird and wonderful, full of retro treasures not likely to be found anywhere else. This indoor market is full to the brim of stalls and wonders! It has been known to offer a strange yet satisfying shopping trip since its humble beginnings in 1981. Shoppers who have worked up an appetite can rest and refuel at the retro café situated on the top floor of the palace or they can indulge their inner child in the clever and creative cereal café. If boredom strikes (which is highly unlikely) then why not spend your time playing nostalgic arcade games, such as pac man, situated in numerous stairwells throughout the store. A trip to Affleck’s is bound to be interesting and intriguing and I can assure you it will not disappoint.
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Pop Boutique

Pop Boutique, also situated in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, is the perfect place for any vintage king or queen. Bursting with vintage delights with a focus on the groovy 70’s, you’re bound to come strutting out draped in bright floral attire. Don’t get me wrong Pop Boutique also offers various items from across the decades, paying tribute to the best fashion trends modern history has to offer, including 60s Harrington jackets and 80s oversized knitwear. Make sure you have plenty to spend when you take a trip to the boutique as you’re bound to come out with bags full of retro goodies. screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-20-13-50screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-20-14-21screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-20-15-38screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-20-15-27

Cow Vintage

Cow’s colourfully painted window display lit up by twinkling vintage glass bottle lights is bound to draw you in and once in you will be welcomed by a wide array of vintage delights! With two floors of unique vintage goods, you are bound to find at least one item that will tickle your fancy. There is plenty to choose from and any trip to Cow wouldn’t be complete without an hour’s session in the changing room trying to find the best of this stores fine vintage collection. This vintage delight is another of the Northern Quarters finest and is by far one of the best in the market.img_7862screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-20-16-24img_7861

Eateries and Bars

If you’re in need of some R&R after a hefty shopping spree or you’re in need of a place to shelter after being caught in one of Manchester’s sporadic showers, do not fret because I’m going to be sharing with you some of my favourite places to dine and relax in this rainy city.

Almost Famous

If you’re in need of a succulent meat feast then head down to one of the city’s finest burger joints situated in Manchester’s Northern Quarter (and Deansgate). This mysterious burger haven may be hard to find at first but you will not forget its whereabouts once you’ve tasted one of its heavenly burgers, which always leave you hungry for more! Once you’ve located the unmarked building which hosts these dreamy delights, you are welcomed by a hefty flight of stairs, which I like to call the stairway to heaven. Do not let them put you off as once you’ve indulged in all Almost Famous has to offer you will realise that your mini-workout of the day was all worth it! Don’t forget to order some salt soaked fries to accompany your dreamy burger as these too are a treat not to be missed. A trip to Almost Famous is one which you will not forget and will leave you with your largest food baby yet hungry for more!screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-19-55-20fullsizeoutput_2e5f

Turtle Bay

If you’re absolutely sick of the cold damp weather Manchester has to offer then why not head to Turtle Bay, its vibrant décor and famous jerk chicken will transport you, momentarily, to the sunny Caribbean coast making you instantly forget about the showers that wait for you outside. The Caribbean cuisine will offer you a true escape and with lightening fast service and multitudes of fiery mouth-watering goods on offer I can assure you a trip to Turtle Bay will not disappoint!img_6533img_4937img_6529img_8725

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home is sure to be your home away from home, with a cosy interior and a wide ranging display of delicious goods on offer from fried chicken in a basket to burgers, an array of milkshakes and numerous giant sickly sweet cakes to choose from. All your cravings are bound to be satisfied in this cute café/restaurant. fullsizerender-jpg-1fullsizeoutput_2e60screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-19-53-39

Junkyard Golf

If you’re not looking for a sit down meal but a bit of fun, a few bevs and maybe a hotdog or two, then get down to Junkyard Golf! This isn’t your ordinary crazy golf stunt full of not so crazy windmills and the sorts. With a Rihanna room, a bear pit and all sorts of other crazy delights, Junkyard Golf makes normal crazy golf look tame. And why not indulge in a cheeky crazy cocktail littered with various of your favourite treats from your childhood, including fizzy laces, jammy dodgers, bon-bons and more. So if you’re looking for a bit of fun but you don’t want to do the same old boring thing then head to Junkyard Golf for a fun-filled night (or afternoon) that will be like no other.IMG_4661.JPGimg_4651img_4670img_4691img_4678

Culture

If you’re in need of a culture fix, then one things for sure Manchester is not short of it! With plenty of theatres and numerous museums on offer you are bound to find something for you. Some of my favourites include the Royal Exchange where Maxine Peake likes to make a regular appearance and the Opera House and Palace Theatres where you are bound to find highly-acclaimed shows on tour– check out my previous piece on Giselle to get a taste of what the Palace has to offer. Also, just down the road in Salford Quays is the fabulous Lowry arts centre with not just two theatres but galleries, bars, restaurants and shops too! There’s also plenty of gigs on offer in this magical city, with star-studded musicians and sell out tours at the Phones 4 U arena (previously known as the MEN) to smaller more intimate gigs at the O2 Academy.  If you’re wanting to broaden your knowledge then why not head to the Museum of Science and Industry, the Imperial War Museum (strictly speaking Salford Quays too) or Manchester Art Gallery – which is currently hosting the Vogue 100 exhibition – check out my previous post on this.
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One things for sure Manchester is not short of things to do! You will never be bored in this magnificent city which offers a diverse array of activities and events and you a bound to build fond memories, like I have, with any trip to the city.

 Photo Credit – All Photos are my own except for the Pop Boutique pictures – from Pop Boutiques Instagram @popboutiquemanchester – and the middle picture for Cow Vintage – from Cow Vintage Manchester’s Instagram @cowmanchester

 

 

 

ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET – GISELLE – VISUAL AND COSTUME DESIGN

ENB rendition of the classical ballet, Giselle, choreographed by Akram Khan was a sight to behold. This simply stunning performance had me on the edge of my seat. I was lucky enough to attend the world premiere and opening night of this powerful piece with my auntie, who’s review accurately captures the magic of the performance and can be found at https://opening-night.org/2016/09/28/english-national-ballet-giselle/. However, I myself am no reviewer just a fashionista who was in awe of the majestic dancers and their beautiful costumes which further added to the themes of love, betrayal, division and the afterlife. Tim Yip, Academy-Award Winning artist, who has previously worked on the likes of the hit martial arts film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, was responsible for the breathtaking visual and costume design. Each costume perfectly enacptured the character it possessed and below I will be discussing some of my favourite pieces from the night.

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In Khan’s rendition of the romantic two-Act ballet we saw the Outcasts, a community of peasant factory workers, living in disarray after being discarded by their employers and forced to live trapped behind a solid concrete wall at the mercy of their wealthy landlords. Giselle finds life and love in this dark world, in a wealthy suitor who disguises himself as a humble peasant. Yip provided modest, light, simple but elegant dresses which enhanced the female dancers every graceful movement and for the male dancers Yip provided smart yet moderate shirts with bland grey trousers, again made out of light material so as to highlight each majestic movement. To ensure the two star-crossed lovers stood out Yip intentionally placed Giselle in a blue to contrast with the yellow dresses worn by the rest of the female ensemble and ensured Albrecht was identifiable by simply tucking his shirts into his trousers whilst the rest of the male cast’s shirts hung loose. The simplicity ensured the audience did not loose track of the protagonist when en masse and also added to their characters. The blue of Giselle’s dress was a sign of her impending doom and the decision to tuck in Albrecht’s shirt was a apparent sign of his wealth making him stick out like a sore thumb among the scruffy peasant folk.

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Yip further fuelled the social and economic division between the peasants and their landlords through their costumes. The dazzling and glittering costumes worn by the landlords were worlds away from the meek, ordinary dress of the peasants. Full of intricate glittering sequin embroidery, lavish satin and velvet the landlords were the epitome of wealth and greed. The eccentricity of the landlords costumes likened itself to the people of the Capitol in The Hunger Games series. Amongst the plain, dull peasants its safe to say I was drawn to the sparking and lavish landlords.

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The costumes of the Wills, the ghostly inhabitants of the factory-esq afterlife, perfectly portrayed their haunting nature. Like the female peasants they wore simple light dresses but theirs were jagged at the ends with an ombre of lilac to black, further enhancing their ghostly nature.

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It wasn’t only the costumes that were utilised to further demonstrate the themes it was the visual design and staging also. The simple yet powerful staging that consisted solely of a thick concrete wall that divided the two worlds ensured the focus never strayed from the performance but furthered it. It represented the bleak world that the peasants live in and ensured the landlords stood out further on their arrival.

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The emotive, moving and unforgettable performance left attendees hungry for more. The visual and costume design perfectly depicted the dark tale and accurately captured its motifs and themes. Khan’s Giselle is at the Palace Theatre until the 1st October and it will be moving on to Bristol. I would highly recommend this spellbinding performance to anyone and I would recommending getting your hands on tickets now as I am sure they are going to go fast!

Book now at http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/giselle/palace-theatre-manchester/

 

 

VOGUE 100: A CENTURY OF STYLE AT MANCHESTER ART GALLERY

Vogue 100: A Century of Style is an exhibition not to be missed! The exhibition previously housed in The National Portrait Gallery, London, has ventured up North and can now be found in the beautiful and dainty Manchester Art Gallery. The exhibition is a remarkable and diverse showcase of a wide array of photography commissioned by the fashion bible itself to celebrate its one hundredth year with pieces dating back to when the magazine first hit our shelves in 1916. Homage was paid to each defining decade with monutmental pieces featuring influential people from each era on display. This exhibition allows you to truly immerse yourself in the past and present of the century old magazine. Each shot was unique, intriguing and beautiful. The exhibition housed the work of some of the worlds most acclaimed photographers, including Tim Walker, Mario Testino and David Bailey. There were shots of fashions favourites including Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne and the late Alexander McQueen, and many other famous faces including Kiera Knightley, Winona Ryder and the Duchess of Cambridge, who graced the 100th issue of this timeless magazine.

My personal favourites included the display of covers from every decade since the publication began in 1916. It allowed you to accurately asses how the magazine has evolved since its first print a century ago. The 1962 edition particularly stood out to me as this issue saw one of the last editorial shoots of one of my icons before her untimely death, the stunning Marilyn Monroe. The black and white shots encaptured Marilyn’s inner turmoil but also her grace and beauty. I was surprised by the simplicity of the shots in which she seemed so vulnerable and pensive, a side we rarely see of the troubled star.

Another favourite was a black and white shot from 1991 by Herb Ritts featuring another of my icons, Winona Ryder. Winona is wearing a delicate and dainty tutu whilst stood on a picnic bench outside of the home she shared with Jonny Depp at the time. The contrast of the white ballet wear with the dark natural surroundings particularly intrigued me, as did Winona’s awkward stance not like that of a graceful ballerina.

I would recommend this stunning collection containing some of the world’s finest photography to any fashion lover or photography enthusiast. I can assure you it will not disappoint. Vogue 100: A Century of Style is at Manchester Art Gallery until the 30th of October 2016.

As there was no photography permitted I was not able to get the best shots but I did manage to get some stealth ones with the help of my Mother who managed to snap the Ritts piece of Winona.

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I couldn’t resit purchasing some merch!

The Vogue exhibition wasn’t all Manchester Art Gallery had to offer…

There were pieces on display from up and coming student designers who may well be the next Westwood, McCartney or McQeen and already established Fashion Houses including Commes des Garcons.

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Artwork by African artist Boris Nzebo, portraying the unique and complex relationship between urban spaces and its human inhabitants, was also on display.

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I couldn’t help feeling nostalgic when I happened upon a piece by one of the Norths finest artists, L.S.Lowry. I was reminded of my childhood wondering the gleaming white halls of the Theatre and Gallery named after the acclaimed artist, to which we would often venture to visit my auntie who worked there. Because of this Lowry’s pieces will always hold a special place in my heart.

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And a trip to Manchester wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of the cities tastiest cuisine!

All the culture had us working up an appetite! So we decided to recharge and refuel at Reds True Barbecue. As you enter into the smoky haze of the pit house you are immeidiately hit by the smell of succulent meat sizzling on the grill, which does not lure you into a false sense of security because the food tastes just as good as it smells, if not better, which is a rarity. With a quirky interior and hearty food, a trip to Reds True Barbecue is an overload on the senses, one which I would highly recommend to anyone.

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