Fashion’s Night Out in Harvey Nichols, Birmingham

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Thursday saw the great and good of the Midlands, footballers, models, bloggers and celebrities descend on the luxurious Harvey Nichols store in the Mailbox, Birmingham to celebrate Vogue‘s Fashion’s Night Out, and the launch of the fabulous Autumn/Winter designer collections.

The store was packed with a host of well dressed guests who were able to enjoy a pre-show champagne reception and a sneak preview of the new Land Rover Evoque, which was parked majestically on the Mailbox steps. Land Rover were the sponsors of the event, and there was a special Land Rover treat included in the special goodie bags placed under each seat. A sparkling atmosphere was in the air, as guests took their seats and awaited the fabulous outfits. They were in for a feast of mouth-watering fashion that shows that Harvey Nichols will again be the destination of choice for Birmingham fashionista’s this season.

As usual, the looks were organised by themes. Here are some of my personal highlights for each theme.

Vintage Glam

This collection was a fusion of vintage themes, from Boardwalk empire style flapper dresses by ‘Lucy in Disguise’ and ‘Hoss Intropia’, to the most beautiful 1940s style, fur collared coat that could’ve graced Rita Hayworth in the 1940s, by the ever fabulous Michael Kors. My favourite piece was an exquisite, bias cut. silk evening gown by Amanda Wakeley. In champagne, this dress, by one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite designers, was a showstopper, a 1930s gown with a modern twist.

Pitch Perfect

Next up was the boys with a collection of laid back sophistication. Belstaff and Paul Smith jackets, chunky cardigans by Dolce and Gabbana, preppy college scarves and flashes of Alexander McQueen made this the  a set of perfect smart, casual looks.

Highland Fling

To celebrate in with National Wool week, this collection was full of checks, plaids, kilts and capes. From McQ puffball dresses, that showed a touch of the 1980s, but in an oh-so-good way, to fun and flirty plaid kilts from Burberry Brit, this was a chunky, funky collection that had more than a touch of grunge chic about it. I particularly loved  the yeti style Ugg boots, and the daytime sexiness of the Dolce and Gabbana fringed cardigan.

Old Guard

Outfits inspired by the age of protest, Old Guard was a superb collection of parka’s,bomber jackets, 1980s style jeans and blazers and World War two style t-shirts, complete with medal design. The whole collection seemed to be inspired by the smart dressed student protestors who loved The Smiths. Particularly loved the World War Two style J Lindberg blazer and D&G Sport t-shirt that was playfully accessorised with a kit bag. The re-emergence of the Alexander McQueen Skull scarf also bought a smile to many faces.

Coat of Armour

An amazing array of Belstaff, Barbour and McQ jackets that would bring style to any winter wardrobe. The styling evoked images of Kate Moss in iconic Belstaff ad campaigns, and showed that jackets this year will be quilted, leather, flying style and belted,  but never boring!

Icons

Steve McQueen, Cassius Clay and Brando, all emblazoned on a series of sweatshirts, t-shirts and hoodies by Dolce and Gabbana. Styled as sportswear by Dolce Gym with jogging bottoms and kit bags.

Jean Genie

Rock chick  looks comprising t-shirts adorned with the icons of music teamed with coloured skinnies. The t-shirts, from cult brands Wildfox and House of the Gods, were festooned with John Lennon, Deborah Harry and the Jean Genie himself, David Bowie.

Urban Junkie

Modern snowboarding thrill seekers are well served by this collection which was filled with puffa style jackets by the likes of Moncler and Gucci. Teamed with Markus Lupfer t-shirts, this collection was perfect for the outdoorsey, sporty types, for whom the weather is no obstacle.

Girls on Fire

A collection of red-hot looks from the likes of Paul Smith, Malene Birger and DKNY. Standout pieces included a  Halston style seventies jumpsuit from Lily Allen’s recently launched ‘Lucy in Disguise’ label.  This collection featured a beautiful Kate Middleton-esque red coat from Paul Smith that my wardrobe is just crying out for.

Boys in Blue

More stylish day wear for chillier days, this collection included a fascinating Dolce and Gabbana coat which seemed to be a half denim, half leather hybrid, and the first sighting this year of an alpine Christmas jumper,  courtesy of Moncler. There  were also parkas to give some pieces a modish vibe, and a very distressed pair of Galliano jeans for those who walk on the wide side!

Modern Fetish

This was a seductive collection of underwear worn as outerwear. From slinky lace bustiers, to the most amazing Alexander McQueen heels adorned with skulls, this was a dark, decadent collection for those who like their coffee black, and their clothes blacker.  The beautiful Myla basques were far too pretty to  cover up, whilst the MSGM furry coat and Myla slip made me think back to Christina Aguilara in the Lady Marmalade video.  Stunning, glamorous, and made to wear when carrying a whip…

Dark, Twisted fantasy

A suave, sophisticated collection of menswear with elements of velvet and silk. My favourite look was a swoonsome D&G tuxedo style suit that could’ve been made for Bryan Ferry. The draping of a silk scarf around the shoulders gives this look a sophisticated, Lounge lizard feel. Oh so sexy.

One of the boys

Janelle Monae, Lady Gaga, doing it like a dude and the ghost of Marlene Dietrich was immortalised in the final collection. This celebrated androgyny in all its glory. From the flowing white blouse from DKNY that Tilda Swinton should definitely buy, to the perfect PJ Harvey style sharp suit(also by DKNY..having a moment I think) this was a collection of sharp, neat and crisp lines that could take you from the boardroom to the bar just by adding a touch of lippy!

So, some amazing fashion moments from a vast array of designers. Special mention must also go  to the girls and boys of MAC and Royston Blythe, who made sure that the make-up and hair was fashion forward and fashion fabulous all  night long. Harvey Nichols made sure that Birmingham celebrated Fashion’s night out in supreme style.

A note about the photographs

You will have noticed that the photographs that illustrate this article are of a supremely high quality. My camera refused to work halfway through the evening, but I have been rescued by an amazing photographer who was in attendance on the evening. Grimmy West is a very talented Midlands photographer who was able to capture the Harvey Nichols show in such  glory that I could never frankly aspire to in five million years. He kindly allowed me to reproduce his work so Fashion-Mommy readers could enjoy the shots of a wonderful fashion evening. I am eternally grateful for this!

To find out more about Grimmy West, check out his webpage http://grimmywest.co.uk/

The years best dressed according to Fashion-mommy

It’s that time of the year again when the style magazines ponder over the outfits of the good, great and glamorous in order to tell us who they have judged to be best dressed. Every year there are surprising and interesting choices, and this year is no exception. Cheryl Cole topped the poll of best dressed according to the Now style special, despite most people feeling that she wasn’t even the best dressed on the X Factor, being consistently outshone by both Danni Minogue and Rebecca Ferguson. Also on the now list were Katy Perry, who is more a cartoon Bettie Page than style icon, Angelina Jolie – who embraced colour and lost her style edginess, and Fearne Cotton who with her tattoos, socks and brogues is frankly just plain wrong!

Other choices have also raised eyebrows. Helena Bonham Carter, whose style is a combination of scarecrow fused with an unmade bed, was on the Vanity Fair best dressed list. Coco Sumner, with her lank locks, shorts and brogues, made the Harper’s Bazaar list, whilst Emma Watson, who stormed November with a stream of amazing premiere dresses, did not.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion of what constitutes style. So, in that frame of mind, here are my choices for the years best dressed.

Kelly Osbourne. Kelly has looked amazing this year in a string of stunning looks. With her Marilyn Monroe style blonde waves and a string of amazing dresses, Kelly has made that set on Fashion Police her own, with no danger of appearing in the worse dressed section. I love this look she sported at the Divine Design Gala.

Kate Moss. Whether she is still the divine Miss Moss, or Mrs Hince, Kate has a style of her own that is always amazing. She has a cool off duty look, but when she is dressed up the effect is dazzling. My favourite look was at the launch of her final Topshop collection last month. With her DIY bangs and a glittery catsuit, she was every inch the supermodel.

Christina Hendricks. According to some stylists, curves are harder to dress than straight lines. Well, if that is the case, Christina Hendricks should go to the top of the best dressed list. She has no problems showing off her voluptuousness to its most feminine advantage. I loved the vintage style red dress she wore to the Johnny Walker launch.

Sarah Jessica Parker. Yes, I know the film got mixed reviews, but Sarah is still the epitome of New York style to most women. She has worn so many amazing outfits this year, including a whole host of Sex and The City 2 premiere outfits, that it is hard to pick just one look. But after much deliberation I think her crowning look was the sunshine yellow Valentino dress she wore for the New York premiere.

Carey Mulligan. It’s always great to have a new style crush, and this year Bafta winner Carey Mulligan has fit that description perfectly. Her quirky personal style, love of vintage style prints and shapes, and pixie haircut have been a breath of fresh air amongst the Herve Leger bandages and hair extensions. I love this mustard coloured dress she wore at a ‘Never let me go’ photocall.

Danni Minogue. The X Factor’s best judge on every level, honesty, integrity and most definitely style, Danni has wore a string of fabulous outfits, from her own Project D range, and also from Victoria Beckham. My favourite look this season was this gorgeous 1950;s style number. With her tousled hair and soft make up, Danni showed that the X Factor is definitely her own personal catwalk.

Diana Vickers. Another new style crush, Diana wears young, age appropriate styles with aplomb. She has a retro style feel to her styling, with bright red lips and 60’s style hair, but she is also totally modern in her clothing choices. I loved this look that she wore to the Glamour awards.

Paloma Faith. She may divide opinions, and often appear in the Heat magazine ‘What were you thinking?’ column, but I think that Paloma is a true style original. Always groomed, glamorous and elegant, Paloma has the style of a modern-day Rita Hayworth. Whether she is strutting her stuff in a ball gown and heels, or wearing jodphurs for shopping, Paloma is always interesting to watch. My favourite outfit was her skating outfit worn to the Tiffany skate event. Total chocolate box and gorgeous.

 

Holly Willoughby. Day in, Day out, Holly flies the flags for those of us with curves with a series of amazing looks on This Morning. She is always a real lady, feminine, pretty and dressing her figure to its best advantage. My cousin Terrianne screams the virtue of her Very dresses, and she is now christened Holly Willobooby after the infamous hen weekend. My favourite look is her black velvet dress she sported to the National Television awards.

Eva Mendes. This Latino star always gets it right. She also has a curvy figure, and has been seen this year in an array of prom style 1950’s gowns that really suit her body shape. Some magazines have criticised her for her never-changing look, but if it ain’t broke, you really shouldn’t fix it, and I personally think Eva is a key lesson in star dressing. I love her look at the Glamour reel moments event in this nude shade.

So, that’s my ten. Now, over to you. Have I missed anyone out? There are no Gossip girls, Cheryl Cole, Olivia Palermo or Whitney Port, or Megan Fox. Emma Watson just misses out, as does Rebecca Ferguson and Kiera Knightley. Who would you choose?