The Hand and Foot Spa at Selfridges, Birmingham

An innovative new nail bar has arrived in Selfridges, Birmingham, and I was invited along to try out its service. The Hand and Foot Spa, founded by Donna Haar-Jørgensen, has been well established in London for the past nine years, and is now delighting customers in Birmingham with its unique computer system which allows you to see a nail colour on your nails without actually having to apply it. This, combined with a new level of nail hygiene, is making The Hand and Foot Spa the place to go for beautiful nails.

I was looked after by Michelle, who explained a little about the philosophy behind The Hand and Nail Spa. The idea is that you should receive the same treatment each time you enter the salon, therefore all technicians work to a systematic guide. In addition, hygiene is very important to the spa, so each customer has their own nail kit, complete with files, clippers etc, all hygenically sealed in a bag. This is used once and then discarded – the customer is free to take it home with them if they wish. (Michelle said that is exactly what most customers do, I certainly did.)

I started the talk with a little chat about my nails. They were currently lots of different lengths and quite brittle, working on a computer makes them prone to splitting and breaking, and let’s not even discuss what being a goalkeeper when I play with Joe does to them. Michelle suggested Shellac to make the nail colour last longer and then we discussed colour, which is where the new technology comes in. The computer system takes a photograph of your hand, and then you can click on a colour you would like to see, add it to your photograph of your nails and see if you like it. I think this is great if you are thinking of trying a new colour, or looking for a specific colour to match an outfit. I’m very stuck in my ways when it comes to colour – I basically wear all shades as long as they are red, but I was able to try different shades of red and thought the whole concept was brilliant.

Once I’d chosen a colour, I was treated to a full manicure, although I did have to avoid the wax treatment as I had rings that I just can’t remove. What I love about the treatment is the way the colour is built up, and fixed with a UV lamp. It feels like a pampering treat, and my nails looked and felt so much better after the treatment. I was also really impressed with the Shellac. Almost two weeks after the manicure, my nails are still literally perfect, except for the regrowth.

 

The Hand and Nail Spa

Selfridges Birmingham, Beauty Floor.

Prices for treatments start at £15 and can be booked via The Beauty Workshop on 0121 600 6718.

An evening with Roland Mouret at Selfridges Birmingham

One of the best things about being a blogger with an avid interest in fashion is that sometimes you actually get to meet your heroes. I have been so fortunate to meet the likes of Stella McCartney, Markus Lupfer, Philip Armstrong and Amanda Wakeley, and last week I got to add another illustrious name to that list, when the charming genius Roland Mouret made a visit to The Balcony at Selfridges, Birmingham, for a very exclusive fashion show. I was very lucky to get a front row seat.

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It is now eleven years since the Galaxy dress burst onto the scene and enchanted the fashion world, but Roland Mouret still designs the most exquisite dresses that are made to embrace curves. The trunk show at Selfridges was the perfect way to showcase the current designs of the man known as The Master of the Iconic Silhouette, and with French music setting the scene beautifully, and Champagne, Cocktails and canapes courtesy of The Balcony, the stage was set for a memorable evening of high fashion and French style.

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The clothes were impeccable, from wool crepe evening dresses in vibrant colours, to very sexy stretch crepe jumpsuits that come in every shade…as long as it is black. Each and every piece was beautifully cut, something that is always a feature of Mouret designs, with interesting draping details on shoulders and daring opening on the back of the tops. As ever, the dresses were the standout designs – no-one can create a dress that fits and flatters in quite the way that Roland can, but the jumpsuits were elegant and gorgeous, making a smart and sexy alternative to an evening dress. The show was, in a word, spectacular.

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I was super starstruck at the end of the show to get the chance to chat to Roland, who asked if I had enjoyed the show and was frankly charm personified. I was actually meant to interview Roland at the V&A a few years ago but he was unable to the do the time slot, so this was a lovely consolation.

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All in all, it was a pretty special and totally unforgettable evening.

With huge thanks to Clive Reeves PR and Selfridges for the amazing invite.

Ashley Williams talks fashion and Live+Loud

Ashley Williams is one of the Britain’s most promising young fashion designers. Her designs are highly acclaimed and have a celebrity following, worn by the likes of Alexa Chung, Pixie Geldof and Georgia May Jagger. This weekend Ashley  is in Birmingham, with a special instillation showing as part of Selfridge’s Live + Loud festival.

I was lucky enough to have a chat with the very busy lady as she arrived for the festival. We chatted about all things Art, fashion and fishnet tights…

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Fashion-mommy: I believe you have just shown your third collection at London Fashion Week – how was that?

Ashley Williams: It was really good – working with Newgen for the third time. It is enjoyable, but when you are showing on the final day you don’t really get that much time to experience the week as such, it is all work and final prep. That said, that’s the way I like it.

FM: You say that your interest in fashion was first influenced by punk and rock, is that still the case?

AW: For the last collection yes, it was still very important as a starting reference point, but, in general it is not always important now, but it definitely got me interested.

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FM: Who were your design influences then/now?

AW: My influences for a collection can come from just about anywhere, it can be hard to pinpoint just one thing. Lots of things come together to create the influence – it can be a person, a place, an object, a place in time or an emotion. I think my favourite influence in terms of a designer is Stephen Sprouse. I like how he meshed Art and fashion together. A lot of people say fashion isn’t an art form, but I think he proved that it most definitely is.

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FM: I was interested to see your collection is stocked in Hong Kong. There does seem to be Japanese/Far east influences in some of your work – is this a big influence?

AW: I did do a collaboration with Coca Cola that was very influenced graphically by Japan and Korea, I loved the way it looked.  There is definitely a market for my kind of stuff in Japan and I love the way they look and dress, and also their outlook on new designers. The Japanese are not scared of new designers, they are totally open to new ideas and don’t need them to be validated as I sometimes think is the case in London.

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FM: You have a celebrity following, who else would you love to wear you designs?

AW: Lana Del Rey, that would be lovely – if she ever did.

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FM: Tell me a little about your Live+Loud instillation (in collaboration with ICA and Selfridges).

AW: The idea started with a print from my latest collection, a fishnet tights print. The print is blown up to be big (it is a small print on clothing) so that it distorts and changes it so that it looks different. I wanted to take the print out of context so that it no longer looks like fishnet tights at all, but graphically it still looks nice standing alone. In addition we have a film of a friend of mine wearing a dress with the original print to contrast. There will also be other prints and objects too.

FM: Why did you want to be involved in Live+Loud?

AW: When I spoke to Matt (Williams) from ICA it just sounded so interesting. I’ve never been to Birmingham before and liked the idea of doing something away from London. Also there were a lot of people involved who I had worked with before and who I admire and respect, so this was a big pull for me.

FM: What do you think of Birmingham – first impressions?

AW: I’ve only been here a short while, but I definitely want to take a look around Birmingham, from what I’ve seen so far it looks great. The part of Birmingham the festival is based in is full of old, industrial buildings which I find really beautiful, so I’m looking forward to seeing more.

FM: What are you most looking forward to about Live+Loud?

AW: Seeing it all finished and then seeing people’s reactions to it. I think it is going to be a really fun weekend.

You can find out more about Live+Loud by visiting the Selfridges website here or visiting the ICA site here.

 

*With thanks to Clive Reeves PR and Ashley Williams.