Tuesday 18th October was the opening night for Liverpool Fashion Week 2011 for the third year running. It promised to be an evening brimming with city-style, urban glamour, false lashes and fashion-hungry celebs. LoveScene sent me on a very covert operation to suss out the fashion frocks and hot new designers. Here is my fashion-spy report, detailing the ins and outs of a star (and sequin) studded night.
This year Liverpool Fashion Week is being held in the prestigious Hard Days Night Hotel; a landmark in Liverpool almost as recognisable as the Liver Birds. In tribute to the city’s proudest export, the walls and halls are adorned in Beatles memorabilia. It was definitely the most appropriate venue to celebrate Livepool creativity, style, fashion and fame.
The front row was blessed with Hollyoak’s beauty: Jennifer Metcalfe (aka Mercedes McQueen) and former ‘Dancing On Ice’ partner, Slyvain Longchambon. Jennifer opened the show with a cheery introduction and glided down the catwalk in a floor-length gold dress by Pastiche Couture; covered in sequins and revealing cut-out sides, it delivered the right amount of bling and ball gown elegance. Jennifer, looking immaculate from head to toe, took her front row seat for the remainder of the show, providing plenty of pap-friendly poses for the press with dignity and class. There was no McQueen attitude out on Tuesday night, which was in some ways a shame because everyone loves a good fashion week drama. Jennifer, I noticed – as I was sitting directly behind her and her handsome French beau – slinked off to get changed, returning in a demure but striking outfit comprising black jeans, slate-grey blazer and a fabulous over-sized burgundy bag. Bang on trend and effortlessly stylish; top marks for Metcalfe.
The hotel’s chic ‘Hari’s Bar’ (in honour of George Harrison) kept the patrons adequately watered with bottles of wine swinging off the arms of most scouse girls there. They pull this off well – wearing the bottle as comfortably as an accessory – it’s like their Mulberry bags have been replaced by a smooth Merlot. Pink Champagne was also served on arrival but I decided to resist the offer as I hadn’t had much to eat (I was taking my fashion-week task very seriously, or rather I spent too long getting ready and ran out of time) and so it was tee-total all the way for me. Vitamin water was also provided, which was a nice touch.
The night pulled in a very eclectic mix of journalists, photographers, friends, family and frantic organisers from the host, local Liverpool magazine, Lifestyle Monthly. There was also a glamorous singer from New York, going by the name of ‘Elle’ who performed half way through the show. She had a brilliant voice but she was outshone by her dress. Literally. It was another glittery number decorated with metallic grey bling and worn with a big serving of confidence. I had inconspiculously sat down next to this mini-diva when I walked into Hari’s Bar, probably drawn to her dress like a magpie is to shiny objects. She was very sweet and every inch the pop star. I hope she’s as big as Gaga so I can say I met her and lie about being her BFF ever since.
My proximity to Jennifer Metcalfe was a highlight and the three-hour show was electric. The music was pumping and the fast pace ceased to dwindle for the duration. For me, the creations by Pastiche Couture, which mixed all manner of texture into their collections, from glitter with feathery tutus, leopard-print with diamantes and glass-fragmented dresses, was a pleasure to admire. Top that with the more adventurous and haute couture inventions by Fashion Pony and my night was made.
Now I’m not a fan of children at the best of times, so when they start abusing the rules of the catwalk by climbing on it at every interval, it’s a big no-no in my book. To be fair, I did enjoy the super-cute models for children’s boutique, Blu Kangaroo, but unless they were on the catwalk for fashion purposes, I could have done without the pint-sized distractions, other than that the night couldn’t have gone smoother.
Plenty of running trends made an appearance across the collections. It is the run up to Christmas when all is said and done so there were numerous sequined creations to be seen – notably black sequins which gave the party-pieces an edgier, dangerous look. Another trend making its way across the runway was the visible bra. Underwear was key to a lot of the outfits – the more obvious the better but never trashy. The approach was to make the bra an accessory rather than a garment and it worked very well. I’d err on the side of caution here though – there were no signs of VPLs or peek-aboo thongs so I’d keep that fashion mistake well and truly in the 90s. No festive knicker-lines this Christmas please ladies!
If you’re super fashion-focused, definitely keep your eye out for new designer Paris.G who is only twenty-one and from Liverpool. Her designs were simple yet inspirational with one-off dresses that instantly turn heads. A particular favourite of mine was a mid-length pleat dress in off-white – the model looked like a modern-day Grecian goddess and the rope belt added a bit of fun to the outfit. Definitely one to watch, I predict similar styles hitting the Topshop rails in time for Spring/Summer 2012.
All the designs were inspiring in one way or another and the show as a whole was a real mix of talent and fashion-forward styling. Frockstar, who kicked off the event are a boutique from Manchester and showcased a selection of bondage-inspired ensembles featuring corset detailing matched with vintage pilot-style hats. Make-up was soft and feminine while the hair was tight and agressive – twisted into high pony-tails. After Blu Kangaroo and Pastichecouture, Gissing Boutique rocked the runway with more casual attire; floaty blouses with winter coats and heavy boots gave the models an ‘urban country-bumpkin’ appeal and were designed by Sean Issy from London. SVE continued the winter theme with coats and capes before getting out more skin and more visible bras which looked fantastic. For some reason I was expecting floaty florals from Amber’s Closet but instead they delivered a wicked treasure trove of tight and shiny figure-huggers which screamed sex appeal. The night eventually came to a close with FashionParty and the adorable Paris.G who couldn’t have left on a higher note.
To sum it up, the opening night for Liverpool Fashion Week was as lively as the vivacious city in which it is held. I wouldn’t expect anyting less than a wild and wonderful fashion week in a city as vivid as Liverpool. It failed to disappoint; the designs were incredible, the atmoshere feverish and the girls of Liverpool, as expected – looking as preened and as prepped as the models on stage. Under the watchful eye of Beatles’ frontman, John Lennon himself, who observed the entire show from a portrait to the side of the runway, Liverpool Fashion Week was everything the city strives to be – fun and flirty with a big dollop of fabulousness. Lennon, no doubt would whole-heartedly approve.