Month: May 2015

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Love Niche Sample Sale

Newcastle is a City full of culture and creatives, and the shopping is amazing.  Aside from the usual high street chains there are lots of smaller independent boutiques and studios, you just need to know where to look.

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One such boutique, Love Niche, is hidden away on Clayton Street in a second floor studio.  Offering a bespoke styling and made to measure service, Love Niche also stocks hard to find brands and one off pieces for when you absolutely must have something unique for a special occasion.  In-house Designer and studio owner Nisha Vedhara designs her own range which she stocks in store too.  Specialising in Cruise / Resort wear and Occasion wear, each piece is unique and hand embellished, the work that goes into creating each piece is immense and demand is high as her loyal clients keep coming back for more.

Despite having known Nisha for some time now and having become firm friends, today is my first visit to the studio and I’m looking forward to it. Why?  Two words: Sample Sale.  Love niche has thrown open its doors to reward clients past and present and entice in new shoppers with a 15% discount off all full price items, as well as some real knockout prices on sample and one off pieces.  You may remember that I was invited to attend a Love Niche Fashion Event back in April where Nisha showcased her entire new season collection so I’ve come here today with a mental shopping list….

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As you enter from the street and make your way up the narrow staircase, framed images of the collection line the walls.  The studio is well equipped, there’s a large reception area where champagne and canapés are being served and in the main viewing area, the collection is displayed in themes around the room.  It’s like a huge closet, with a jewellery island in the centre which sparkles in the sunlight.

It’s busy but very relaxed and everyone is advising each other on which items to try on, I spot some familiar faces; there are a few high profile models, a young ballerina and a well known Popstar and her family in the studio today and all have armfuls of clothes.  Nisha’s own Love Niche Resort wear is by far the most vibrant of the collections, with bold colours and prints dancing amongst the rails, it’s the area of the studio commanding the most attention.

Nisha greets every guest warmly and makes sure everyone has a drink, she’s buzzing about giving advice to guests on how to style items, or what type of shoes to wear with a particular item when I arrive and she comes straight over to say “Hi”.

I’m instructed to “think outside the box” Nisha knows me well enough to know that I’m pretty unconventional in the way I put an outfit together, I try on a super long pleated skirt which is soooo not my usual style and I’m talked into buying it (very well actually) by Clare, a fellow guest and the sister of Faye Tozer of Steps fame (Clare, you should be on commission).  I spot an amazing Chanel-esque tweed longline blazer, and an Indian paisley shirt dress which I decide are coming home with me too.

I beg Nisha to sell me a bowler hat and a jewelled twenties style crown which are part of a display and not actually for sale and she agrees.  (Lucky bonus).

I swear I was only in the studio for half an hour but according to my watch it was actually more like two and a half hours and judging by the bag of goodies I brought home with me, that kinda makes sense.

So, If you’re in Newcastle and are bored of the high street, give Love Niche a visit, you might just be surprised - it’s a non-judgmental environment and there’s something for every budget and every body shape.  Just don’t get too attached to the display pieces, they’re not actually for sale….

Pixie x

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Kendall & Kylie for Topshop

If you haven’t already heard, Two of Calabasas’ most famous teens are bringing their off-duty style to UK shores by launching a collaboration with our very own Topshop.  Kylie and Kendall Jenner already have a successful collection with US brand Pacsun but they’re widening their sphere of influence and accessibility with this new collaboration.

The girls have designed and worked on the 15 piece range entirely themselves, and it’s described as a ‘youthful, contemporary, capsule Summer wardrobe, characterised by the girls’ LA lifestyle and their modern, eclectic design aesthetic’.

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So what can we expect from the collaboration?  The girls have taken inspiration from vintage pieces, think lightweight separates, flirty dresses and jumpsuits, and lots of Hawaiian inspired prints.  Shot on a Californian beach with the two sisters fronting it (natch), the campaign is Summer personified.

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Speaking about the imminent launch of the collection, the sisters said

“We are so excited to see our collection in Topshop - it’s the perfect place to capture the energy and aesthetic of our designs.  When working on the inspiration, we very much wanted to capture the essence of our own lifestyles and create pieces that would fit perfectly into our wardrobes.”

With the collection priced between £28 - £80, I imagine it’ll fit into a lot of other teens wardrobes perfectly too,  and as with everything else the Kardashian / Jenner Klan put their name to, this one is sure to sell out too.

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Kendall & Kylie for Topshop drops globally on Tuesday June 3rd, expect lines of teens and tweens round the block, (and maybe even a few Fashion Bloggers!).  Voyeurs you’re in luck because I’ve got a preview of the entire collection, pick out your favourite(s) and avoid the scrum on launch day!

“We hope you have as much fun wearing the collection as we did designing it!”

I’m sure this collection will be the first of many with high street leader Topshop and with Jeneration Jenner, anything is possible…

Pixie x

View the Kylie & Kendall for Topshop collection here:

Fashion Voyeur by Pixie Tenenbaum

FashionVoyeur.co.uk - it’s almost ready……

I’ve been in and out of photoshoots and fashion events for the past month and continuing to post on this site but I’m pleased to say that my new home: www.FashionVoyeur.co.uk is almost ready!

If you’re a follower or reader and you want to keep following then stay tuned for updates or bookmark the new address now and you’ll never miss another post!  I’ll be bringing across all of the posts from this current domain and storing them in an archive on the new site so if there’s something there that you enjoyed reading, then please, show me some love when the new site is live!

Can’t wait to see you all over there and bring you more of what you love, in the meantime if there’s anything you’d love to see more of, then hit me up at Pixie.Tenenbaum@gmail.com with a request, use the feedback form below, or if you’re a WordPress Blogger then leave it in the comments and I’ll do my best to write it into the new site.  A few people have requested a gallery of my outfits with details of where the items are from so I’m working on that.

For now though keep reading, keep letting me know what you’re enjoying and I’ll let you know when it’s Go Time!

Pixie x

 

FASHION VOYEUR FEEDBACK FORM

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Tipples & Tunes at The Botanist Newcastle

When I was invited to try out the latest additions to the Cocktail and Food menus at one of newcastle’s newest bar offerings; Roof Garden off the back of that success, just in time for Summer.

If you’re not familiar with The Botanist, first of all, where have you been?! And secondly, it’s pretty hard to miss given the presence the chain commands on social media.  The bar / restaurant occupies the very top section of the old Monument Mall space at the Monument area of Newcastle and is visible from Dean Street.  Access is via a pretty understated entrance next door to Jamie’s Italian and begin your ascent up the darkened staircase.  Once at the top, the huge space opens out into what feels like a gigantic botanical garden.  The centrepiece for the bar is a gorgeous twisted old tree decorated with lights and hanging jars, the bar itself is actually built around the tree trunk.  It’s a real destination bar and well worth a visit for anyone who is visiting, or currently living in the glorious North East, even if just for the amazing photo opp.

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With the weather looking awful I abandoned my plan to wear a suede frock and threw on a Zara shirt and pants with a pair of classic Manolos and off I went.

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I was invited as part of an intimate Bloggers event, the Food, Cocktail and Ale menus have recently been overhauled and there are some new additions that required testing - all in the name of work of course!  A small but mighty four of us descended on The Botanist last night and were very well looked after by a hip young bar tender.  We were taken through the new menus and then the onslaught of fine food and drink began.

We were served light bites, perfect for sharing, including: Salt and Pepper Pork Crackling, Baked Camembert with Onion and Rosemary, Goats Cheese and Tomato Quiche, Onion Petals, Shrimp Cocktail and Sardines, served in a retro sardine tin, all of which were divine.  The Onion Petals - a more petite version of the original Ruby Tuesdays Blooming Onion, are to die for and you’ll be pleased to know that they’re cooked to perfection so there’s no unpleasant onion breath afterwards, perfect for date night!  The Quiche was amazing, I’m not usually a lover of quiche but this was perfection, and incredibly light too.

The Cocktail menu boasts four new cocktails; Pornstar Martini with champagne chaser, Watermelon and Sage Sling, Passion Fruit and Basil Crush and an Apricot and Ginger Sling.  Now you may think a cocktail is a cocktail and after a few they all taste the same but with The Botanist, things area little different.  The Team have added these based on the change in season and each is light and fresh, think Summer in a glass.  The Passion Fruit and Basil Crush is a taste sensation, packed to the rafters with flavour, it’s a Summer dream and an absolute must try.  Same goes for the Apricot and Ginger Sling, aesthetically gorgeous and packed with flavour, it’s a real Summer drink and is very moreish.  The Watermelon and Sage Sling is a long and dangerous drink, it’s so thirst quenching and it tastes alcohol free (it’s not) - beware!  The Pornstar Martini is a short drink served in a traditional martini glass, thick and creamy exactly as it should be and delicious.

Whilst we dined and chatted, we were treated to the soulful sounds of Hattie Murdoch, a singer / songwriter from the North East who played an acoustic cover set with some awesome and unexpected tracks thrown in.  I’d highly recommend you check her out at one of her many performances across Newcastle, she’s completely aces.

If you’re looking for a bar where you can settle in for the night, you’ve found it in The Botanist.  Take in a few light bites from the new menu, swig a few cocktails and absorb the sounds of the live music, what’s not to love?

So, huge thanks to The Botanist Newcastle for looking after us all night and to the amazing gals who also attended for making it such great fun, I’m game for Round Two if you are….?

Pixie x

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Cannes Film Festival 2015 Red Carpet Winners & Sinners

As the 2015 Cannes Film Festival draws to a close, I’m taking a look back at the fashion triumphs and fails on the red carpet.  Cannes always brings out the best in the A-list and this year was no exception, we even had some fresh new faces mixing things up.  The collaborations were top notch this year with Chopard showcasing some amazing pieces and this time choosing to work with some younger talent, something I think will work well for the brand.

Joan Smalls and Kendall Jenner chose midriff baring two piece gowns that seemed wrong for an event as prestigious as Cannes, but were oh so right.  Kendall wore the style two nights running and cemented her place at the top of the Fash pack as she twirled for the waiting paparazzi.

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The L’Oreal posse were out in force and looking every inch as glamorous as they do in the commercials (after all, they’re worth it), and whipping up a storm on social media as they captured their every move.  Eva Longoria, Jane Fonda, Karlie Kloss et al played to the media perfectly, posting videos of them dancing, being made up and just generally larking about pre red carpet.

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Karlie Kloss was a front runner in the beauty and style stakes, doing Cannes proud in an ankle length custom Versace gown on day one and setting a precedent for the rest of the Festival.

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This year in an unexpected move, the organisers banned flats from the red carpet insisting that in order to uphold the glamorous reputation of the Film Festival, heels must be worn by all gals making an appearance. Although everyone managed to scrape an A+ in the heel test, the organisers weren’t so lucky in their mission to ban selfies from the event.

Chopard didn’t skimp on the shiny for the event lending out some amazing jewels to models, actresses and society girls.  Kendall Jenner was selected to wear a million dollar collar necklace with her gothic black two piece and Poppy Delevingne wore some serious showstopper jewels with her custom Burberry gown.

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There were so many style winners throughout the Film Festival including Kendall Jenner, obviously, Karlie Kloss, Lea Seydoux, Natasha Poly, Jourdan Dunn, Diane Kruger and Natalie Portman.  The bar was set high but these girls kept their game strong night after night, Diane Kruger went a little left of centre opting for a Dolce and Gabbana mini from next seasons collection early on, followed by a stunner of a floorsweeper at the closing of the Festival.

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Some of the more daring competitors in the style stakes were Fan BingBing, Lupita Nyong’o and Li BingBing.  Exhibiting bold colours and fairytale looks fresh from the runway.

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Special mention to Sienna Miller for ‘Services To Hair’ throughout the Film Festival. Miller managed to twist her shaggy bob into an array of different styles without it ever looking overdone or processed, and her style wasn’t too shabby either.  Top marks Miller, you’ve done us Brits proud.

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Style sinners at Cannes included Lady VIctoria Hervey in a golden foil disaster with some frisky fish…..

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Irina Shayk in (more) gold Versace….

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Mindy Kaling in an ill fitting porange number (sorry Mindy, I’m a huge fan, just not of this outfit)

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And last east but not least, Victoria Silvstedt for just way too much sheer and not in a ‘cool like Beyoncé’ way…

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This year Cannes gave us not one, but two contenders for the ‘What Were They Thinking’ award; feast your eyes on these…

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So Cannes is over for another year and you know when your monthly magazine haul drops its going to be filled with pictures from the Film Festival but you can rest assured that you were ahead of the curve dear Voyeur and you’ve probably already picked out your favourite…..

Pixie x

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Decleor Aromaplastie Facial with Vital Eyes

Nestled in the heart of bustling Northumberland Street is hidden gem Newcastle Hair and Beauty Clinic, a place that has stood strong for twenty three years and has weathered the storm of recession.  Part of the genetic make up of the city, to this day, the clinic is still treating the original clients who walked through the doors twenty three years ago.

The reason I’m here today?  The Decleor Aromaplastie Facial treatment with Vital Eyes.  Aromaplastie is Decleor’s staple facial, it’s basic but powerful and gives immediate results.  With several steps to the process, including a deep cleanse, this facial includes Decleor’s unique wheatgerm, sunflower and linseed mask which stimulates and enhances the rejuvenating action of the treatment.  Decleor claim that skin is deeply hydrated after this treatment and visible radiance is restored.

When I arrive at the clinic I’m greeted by Alex and asked to complete a Client Card which aims to inform the Therapist of your personal areas of concerns and any other issues you might have.  We make our way through to a large treatment room and Alex talks me through how the treatment works, surprisingly it starts with a relaxing back massage.  I’m left to undress and assume the position and just as Alex re-enters the room I realise I’m supposed to be lying under the blanket, not on top of it and we’re both in hysterics.

Once I’m sorted out we get down to the treatment.  Alex explains that the back massage is a Decleor signature and it’s used as a diagnostic measure to allow the Therapist to identify areas emitting heat which then correspond to facial areas which may be prone to skin concerns.  Interesting stuff right?  The massage is fantastic and the scent of the oils divine, one of the really great things about Decleor is that it’s all natural and with the scent of neroli drifting through the room I imagine myself soaking up the sun on the Amalfi Coast.  Alex pops my feet into some treatment socks and leaves them to work their magic.

The facial treatment starts with a double cleanse and tone to ensure a clean base, before moving on to Aromapressure and Aromadrainage, a sequence exclusive to Decleor trained Therapists, this involves the application of combined aromatic oils with gentle pressure to kickstart the skin’s turnover and rejuvenate the face.  Next comes the interesting bit: Alex tells me that the mask she’s about to apply is made up of wheatgerm, sunflower and linseed and that although it smells more like food than a traditional beauty product, this is because it’s all natural with no added fragrance or chemicals.  She assures me that the mask is amazing and to just relax and let it do its thing.  Unusually, this product covers both your eyes and mouth unlike a traditional mask and it’s warm when applied.  Alex covers my face with a thin layer of gauze which she tells me will prevent the poultice from entering my eyes or mouth and starts to apply it generously constantly checking whether I’m comfortable and whether the temperature is ok.  As she spreads the Weetabix like mask over my eye area there’s a distinct warming sensation and my eyes feel instantly relaxed.  Once I’m completely covered, she tells me she’s going to massage my feet.  I try to imagine what I must look like lying there with a face covered in Weetabix and let out a little giggle.

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Alex advises that whilst a one-off treatment is great as a relaxing treat or to rejuvenate skin for an event, the real difference comes if you maintain the process and work with your Therapist to agree a short course of these treatments.

Once the mask has cooled, Alex peels back the gauze and applies the Vital Eyes treatment.  This treatment claims to be one of the best on the market for tired, puffy eyes and Decleor say:

“Delicately nurturing the most sensitive and delicate part of the face, this specialised treatment is fatigue-fighting, moisture quenching and wrinkle erasing. Decleor’s unique toning eye technique stimulates micro-circulation and encourages cell renewal while an intensively repairing, anti-ageing eye mask also decongests and de-puffs. Leaves even contact lens wearers, hay fever sufferers and smokers with a dramatically brighter, younger looking eye zone.”

Given that I get very little sleep, (seriously, those who know me well will know that I’m lucky if sleep around three hours per night), I was very keen to see whether this lived up to the hype.  It’s certainly a very soothing treatment, eyes are instantly cooled and the area underneath feels drained and almost flatter and that’s before I’ve seen anything visible.  Alex covers me in a hydrating moisturiser which smells divine and brings me a glass of water, she tells me to sit up slowly and hands me a mirror….

My skin looks lighter, brighter and more hydrated than when I arrived.  Alex tells me that I have great skin to start with so the difference for me is less than for someone who may have real skin issues, or who has been poorly recently.  There’s a definite visible difference, especially to my eyes.  I’m so used to waking up with my eyes looking the same everyday that it’s actually a bit of a shock to see them look like this without make up, they’re definitely less puffy but the real difference is in the colour of the skin underneath.  Smooth and fair, the improvement is huge.  If you have an event or wedding coming up or you just want to recover after a long day then this is absolutely a treatment to put at the top of your list.  Whether or not it’s the placebo effect because of what I’ve just seen in the mirror, I leave the clinic with a Spring in my step and feel far more than I usually would on a rainy Tuesday morning.

With the inclusion of the back massage and the foot treatment, this almost feels like a full body treatment and it’s super relaxing.  Taking around an hour and a half in total, it’s time well spent and is such a great way to unwind.

As for the facial, my skin is glowing.  At the end of the day when Sparky comes home, he tells me “You look nice” and that compounds the evidence of a visible enough difference for me.

Pixie x

Decleor Aromaplastie Facial treatment costs £48

Vital Eyes is available as a standalone treatment for £33 or as part of a facial treatment for £23

The addition of the foot treatment to accompany any other treatment is £7.50

To book an appointment at Newcastle Hair and Beauty Clinic call: 0191 232 2800

 

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Balmain x H&M

Get excited people, it’s the collaboration you’ve been waiting for; Balmain x H&M and it’s right around the corner.

Olivier Rousteing took to the stage at the Billboard Music Awards in las Vegas last night to announce the collaboration with models Jourdan Dunn and Kendall Jenner showcasing designs from the upcoming collection.  News of the forthcoming collaboration sent social media into a frenzy with the hashtag #HMBALMAINATION going stratospheric overnight and Rousteing himself posting a teaser trailer of the logo.

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Speaking this morning, Rousteing said “I want to talk to my generation, this is my main aim as a designer, H&M allows me the unique possibility of bringing everyone into the world of Balmain, getting a piece of the dream and creating a global #HMBalmaination; a movement of togetherness, all fuelled on a hashtag. The collaboration felt extremely natural to me as H&M is a brand that everybody connects to. It calls for unity, and I am all for it.”

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H&M has brought us some of the coolest Designer/Highstreet collaborations out there including Alexander Wang, Stella McCartney, Versace & Karl Lagerfeld, but Balmain x H&M might just be it’s coolest yet.  With support for Olivier Rousteing and the Balmain Army at an all time high (the Kardashians and Rihanna are huge fans), you’d better sharpen your elbows people and get ready for the drop of the year.  Balmain x H&M hits stores and online November 5th but you’ll have to be quick, I predict this one selling out in about five minutes flat.

Pixie x

 

 

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Fashion Futures Hosts Alexandra Shulman, Editor of British Vogue

NE1’s hotly anticipated Fashion Futures event began with an amazing celebration of local design talent in the form of a Graduate Fashion Show. Northumbria University Fashion Department, now in its 60th year, as seen its alumni go on to achieve great things in the world of fashion.  This time we got to see some of the amazing work undertaken by the current cohort and it was mind-blowing.

With the two day event well underway, the eyes of the North East’s Fash Pack were on the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art as Alexandra Shulman, Editor of British Vogue, took to the podium to deliver her segment of Fashion Futures Presents: Fashion Talks.  Shulman cuts a fine figure; smart and business like, with a distinct fashion edge, she gives off an air of authority.  Wearing nothing outlandish; a simple Erdem appliquéd pencil skirt and heels, she looks like she means business.

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As she takes to the stage, Shulman recounts a time when she was on a plane from NYC to London which was diverted to Newcastle during Fashion Month but didn’t manage to spend any time at all in the City and I nod fondly as I too was on this plane on my way to London Fashion Week.

She begins by telling the audience about her childhood, born into a typical London media family, her love for print media began early as she discovered comics and magazines.  Despite this, she was absolutely certain that she didn’t want to progress into a journalism career.  She tells us that she had no desire to go to university as she wanted to get out into the world and make her own money, but was made to enrol by her parents.  Rather surprisingly, she tells us that she had a poor academic career and was glad to be out of it at the end, she went on to complete a shorthand and typing course and immediately started temping which she says she loved.

Shulman is engaging and funny, she’s a great story-teller and let’s remember, she’s up there on her own with a lectern and a projector facing a room full of people who want to know all about her time at Vogue and the steps she took to cement herself at the top of her trade.  She proceeds to tell us that she was fired from her first two jobs, one after six weeks and the other after four months so for any of you budding magazine editors out there, take note, there’s not just one route to the top!

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Shulman talks only about her time at now defunct Over 21 magazine where she was the Editors Secretary, she puts up a picture of a front cover on which she is the featured model.  She tells us that this was one of the most pivotal times of her life, she learned everything she could about running a magazine in this role, from running errands to running photoshoots and it was here that she decided that this was her world.

From here, one of her pitches was picked up by Tina Brown, the Editor of Tatler magazine at the time.  The piece was about girls who look like they are from other periods in time and as part of the feature which ran, Shulman discovered a young Helena Bonham-Carter.

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She recounts with passion that she hated her time at Tatler and that she spent a lot of time crying in the restrooms.  It’s hard to imagine this strong woman being reduced to tears but as she tells us, by then she hadn’t become the woman she is today.  She was given the seemingly impossible assignment of tracking down the infamous Bounder and succeeded where others thought she would fail, following this assignment, her life changed.  She moved to The Telegraph aged 27 to take up post as Features Editor and worked there for eighteen months before she was offered a job at Vogue as Features Editor under Liz Tilberis’ Editorship.

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Shulman laughs as she tells us that she was given carte blanche on everything that wasn’t fashion in the magazine and how she ran some crazy pieces, pieces which she would never allow in Vogue today.  She tells us of a very different Vogue at that time, a very divided Vogue where the Fashion Department was very closed off to everything else in the magazine both in print and physically in the office space.

She tells us about her short stint at GQ Magazine shortly after its unsuccessful UK launch and how she was drafted in to pick the magazine back up.  Then how in 1992, when Liz Tilberis announced she would be leaving Vogue to move to Harpers Bazaar, she applied for the Editorship.  Shulman is very clear in stating that she had no hope of landing the job, and that it was offered to three people who turned it down before being offered to her.  She paints a bleak picture of the time, “It was 1992 and the country was in an unpleasant recession, luxury brand advertising was going to new monthly and weekly magazines as well as newspapers.  Vogue had to change.”

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She tells the audience that at that time, fashion began to change and move more towards what it is today.  At that time designer brands weren’t present in London and it was then that the movement to the city began, and London began shifting and morphing into the fashion epicentre that it is now.  Shulman remembers how this was an exciting time for fashion, homegrown talent was emerging in the form of Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Kate Moss, and the beginning of the grunge movement shifted things up a gear.

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Having been at the helm of Vogue for twenty three years, Shulman knows her stuff, she knows that with a product like Vogue there is a need to remain creative, she discusses the quandary of enticing a new readership whilst also remaining faithful to the needs of the existing readers.  She tells the audience “it’s not just fashion, it’s the whole business of clothes and everything else.”  She’s keen to express that she feels it’s important to feature beautiful clothes, but to also feature merchandise that people can afford.  Something that vogue wouldn’t have done in the 1980’s.

I’m particularly interested when she takes a question from the audience about Bloggers and the digital age.  She accepts that there is a place in the industry for Bloggers and agrees that it’s a good outlet because it’s “real and immediate”, when she broaches the subject of payment and sponsored posts she’s diplomatic “Blogs are meant to be independent and real and most of them aren’t now, it’s becoming more like a job in the industry and the guidelines on it should be much clearer.”  From a personal point of view I think she’s right.

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Shulman goes on to say that ‘Fashion is a touchstone” she refers back to 1993 when Vogue ran a picture of Kate Moss in underwear draped with a string of fairy lights and recounts how it was compared to paedophilia.  There are countless stories about the ethics of fashion, Shulman references the fur trade, body image, slave labour and child eroticism and how it’s very easy to blame fashion for all of this.  She talks about things that she doesn’t necessarily agree with, but can’t influence in the world of fashion, for instance she’s irritated that designers produce samples in the smallest possible sizes forcing the magazine to shoot the smallest possible models.

On the issue of body image, Shulman produced a short film called “It’s A Look” detailing how an image can be deconstructed and to highlight that what we see in the magazine isn’t reality.  The intention was that the film would be distributed to schools to be shown to thirteen year old girls.

She’s true to her early roots in journalism and outside of fashion she tells us that she uses the magazine to showcase extraordinary people doing wonderful things, she loves being able to “take these seemingly ordinary, very inspiring women and be able to dress them” and present them in the pages of Vogue.

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When asked about access to the fashion industry for young people, Shulman says “There is no magic bullet”.  Her advice is simple: “Be prepared to start at the bottom, attitude is incredibly important.  Be interested in the world around you, read; books, papers, magazines and read really good people”.  She’s clear to point out that you have to approach it willing to put the work in and to make yourself indispensable. “Make the letter count” she says “Never have spelling mistakes!”

It’s interesting to hear that despite having 2.3 million unique users in traffic to Vogue online and a monthly print circulation of 200,000, the business is still primarily in print through revenue, cover price and of course advertising.  “It’s difficult to convert online traffic into sales” she tells us, “reading a (physical) magazine is a treat, it’s precious time in print” and that’s one statement that I can get on board with, it looks like everyone in the room agrees as there’s a Mexican wave of nods around the room when she says this.

Outside of Vogue, Schulman has a book launch in June for her first literary project and with that final shameless plug, she thanks the audience, smiles and leaves.

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Shulman is interesting; she recounts every story from her past with detail and fondness and it’s clear to see that from her early childhood, each of these experiences have been important to her and have helped to carve her into the successful, influential woman she is today.  She talks about the future resolutely: “Vogue isn’t Me, although it’s been a part of me.  I will leave and have a different life and Vogue will undoubtedly continue.”  I particularly love the photo she shows us of her in her younger years wearing an embroidered skirt (her own handiwork) and standing under a Vogue poster. “Ironic isn’t it?” she says.

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With the magazine celebrating its Centenary next year it will be interesting to see what Schulman and the team at Vogue have in store for us…

Pixie x

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NE1’s Fashion Futures presents: FASHION

Northumbria University is one of the leading educational establishments for Fashion Design outside of London and 2015 marks the Fashion departments 60th anniversary.  That’s right, they’ve been churning out successful Fashion Designers and Promoters for 60 years.  Because of this, in place of the usual Newcastle Fashion Week fixture, NE1 have planned an event dubbed Fashion Futures to showcase the work of the current crop of graduates from the university.

Northumbria University’s BA (Hons) fashion programme is renowned for the calibre of its business-ready and media-savvy graduates, with 97% of students in full time employment within six months of graduating, some of whom are now big names in the world of fashion.

I was invited along to FASHION, a Textile Collections Exhibition and runway show at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art;  The runway show marks the beginning of the 2015 graduate presentation, the collections included have been in development for months prior.  Each student is showing a small collection of either three of five looks in either Menswear or Womenswear, and other textile work is on static display for the duration of the Fashion Futures event.  I wanted to make an impression so I threw on some Topshop Unique leather culottes with a black & Other Stories tank and a fringed suede jacket.

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A colossal 57 students / Designers from Northumbria University’s past and present showcased their collections at FASHION, each using professional models and their own chosen soundtrack.  From conceptual and minimalistic to wacky and fun, FASHION has it all.  One thing that shines through during the runway show is the individuality of each student, there’s nothing generic about this fashion presentation, each designer has brought their own personality to their collection, it’s all very diverse and very exciting.

The show opens with Sophie Dring, who shows a clean cut, Victoria Beckham inspired collection of five pieces.  It’s contemporary but very wearable and I’m instantly scribbling her name in my pad as someone to watch. We’re off to a good start….

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The whole show is a slick and well put together affair, far superior to what we’ve seen in previous years from Newcastle Fashion Week, (kudos to NE1) and the auditorium set up gives the entire audience the chance to get a great view of each collection.

It’s quickly apparent that we have a huge spectrum of talent in the North East, considering that some of these collections have gone from conception to completion by undergraduate students, it’s amazing to see how much these students have achieved in that short time, and how each Designer has managed to portray a running theme through each piece comprising their mini collection.  There is some real standout design talent amongst the running order, for example Charlotte Byrne, showing a collection which wouldn’t look out of place in an alexander Wang runway show, models were sent down the runway in a hybrid of ski goggles and welder masks.

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Fei Fei Chen showed a collection with more than a nod to the military trend and with a touch of hunter chic thrown in for good measure, the craftsmanship in this collection is exquisite.

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It’s clear that each student has paid attention to fashion trends and manufacturing techniques past and present, and it’s easy to see where they pick up their influence.  During their time at University, they’re deciding what kind of Designer they want to be and by the time they’ve created their final collections, whether they’ve decided or not, it’s evident that each falls into a distinct category.  Hannah Chant for example shows a collection not dissimilar to the Missoni collections of the early 00’s, 70’s inspired and bohemian but with a modern twist.  Jessica Bretherton shows real talent, showing a collection similar in style to Ralph Lauren, easy relaxed tailoring with an American casual vibe.  Yee Ting Chan sent models down the runway wearing surgeons masks in a collection reminiscent of early Alexander McQueen, there was something raw and exciting about this collection.

Eleanor Rowlands told a story through her post apocalyptic collection, she’s surely one to watch as there were whisperings around the runway when her models glided on to the runway.

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Jessica Bailey showed a fun Under the Sea themed collection with underwater scenes, pearls and pompoms, very Henry Holland or Jeremy Scott.  She’s someone I could imagine dressing stars such as Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus in a few years.  Olivia Pink’s collection had a hint of 60’s styling with round pocket detailing, think Raoul, but with added body armour.  Both Billie Toole and Emma Cummings’ showed retro Amish style collections, Cummings showcased skirts with coloured patterns giving the effect of a deep box pleat.

In stark contrast, Rosie Hargreaves showed soft tailoring in pastel colours whilst Lucy Doyle presented an uber chic monochrome collection.  By far the most wearable and commercial collection to be presented at the event came from Julia Barstow who exhibited a high street ready five piece collection of clean lines and a simple yet effective colour pallete of blue, white and orange.

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With 57 Designers showing at FASHION, it would be too difficult to go through each one individually, suffice to say that there’s a diverse mix of incredible talent at Northumbria University, with each designer bringing something different to the market.  From urban sportswear to vintage inspired tailoring, there’s something here for every Fashion Voyeur.  Undoubtedly there are some students here who will go on to achieve great things in the fashion world, and judging by some of the work on display this evening, there are a definite select few who have the talent and individuality to go on to create and run their own successful labels.

From this runway show, twenty-five students will be selected to show their collections as part of the industry runway show at Graduate Fashion Week in London on may 31st.  The design portfolios of these students will be available for viewing on the Graduate Fashion Week stand from May 30th - June 2nd before returning to Newcastle to be shown as part of the Degree Show REVEAL at Northumbria University’s City Campus from June 16th - 27th.

If you love fashion, I’d strongly recommend you visit the University Campus to view the collections, after all, the next big thing could be amongst that crop of students, right here in Newcastle….

Pixie x

For more information on the Fashion programme at Northumbria University, please click here.

The collections shown at FASHION can be viewed below:

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Fashion Futures Hosts Henry Holland & Laura Weir in Conversation

This week saw the launch of Fashion Futures in Newcastle, an event set up in place of Newcastle Fashion Week this year to celebrate the emerging design talent from Northumbria University, who have been delivering outstanding Fashion Design courses for sixty years.

The two day programme had a jam-packed schedule full of great events for both industry insiders and the public with the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art playing host to the whole event providing a hub and backdrop to this awesome celebration of homegrown talent.  Think of it as the North East’s Somerset House / Brewer Street carpark.

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über cool designer British Vogue.  The auditorium was packed out for this event with Editors, Bloggers, Fashion students and people with a genuine passion for fashion and it didn’t disappoint.  The pair took to the all white stage, Laura Weir looking slick in a House of Holland midi dress and biker jacket and Henry Holland looking every inch the off-duty designer in black skinnies, Dr Marten boots and a denim jacket from his own collection with neon highlights.

I threw on a pair of Zara pants, an off Duty tee and some Prada shoes to take my seat on the front row and bring you the skinny.

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This particular segment of Fashion Talks was billed as Henry Holland and Laura Weir in Conversation and that’s exactly what it was.  The Pair have been firm friends for a long time and it showed, the conversation was fun and upbeat with Weir asking probing and considered questions giving thought to what the audience would want to learn about Holland.  We learned how he began his career - he was actually rejected from a Fashion Design course and studied Journalism at University but hated it!  We got to hear that his mum told him when he was younger that “We get eight careers” in our lifetime and he proceeds to talk about his early careers at now defunct Smash Hits and Bliss magazines.  It raises a giggle from the audience when Holland talks about his iconic breakout tee collection and how they were borne out of a drunken conversation one night with friends.  Hearing this makes the designer seem more real, more accessible and more human.

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The pair laugh as they reminisce about those now infamous slogan tees, (FYI I’m the proud owner of Do Me Daily Christopher Bailey and Flick Your Bean for Agyness Deyn) and how a whole career was started on four rhyming couplets.

Holland talks passionately about that time in his life, saying that those tees were just the start of things, they “were like a football shirt or band T-shirt for the fashion industry” and gave people who “maybe couldn’t afford a Christopher Kane dress a way of supporting the industry” by wearing a playful Cum Again Christopher Kane tee, almost like making a statement that you belonged.  Holland went on to talk about how these tees allowed him to create a “strong visual DNA” for the brand.

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He tells the audience about his first time showing at London Fashion Week as part of Lulu Kennedy’s Fashion East in 2006 and how he only realised it was an Autumn / Winter show moments before go time and his House of Holland collection was all short-sleeved T-shirts.  He goes on to say that following this, he took constructive criticism wherever he could and went on to build a small team of staff and completed a full collection including eyewear, accessories and footwear.

It’s easy to feel like you’ve known the pair for years, watching them talk and joke with each other on stage is comforting, there’s no snobbery and when asked by an audience member if he feels that a University education is essential in order to break into the fashion industry Holland says absolutely not.  He admits that it takes willpower and that he still encounters snobbery because he had no formal design training, but says that he wouldn’t change anything throughout his career so far and that he’s “happy to share his mistakes” if it helps others in their quest to enter the famously guarded fashion industry.

Holland has wise words for budding designers too, he advises ” Stay true to your brand, its DNA and what you are trying to say through your clothes.”  the designer muses that he loves that people can personify with his brand and its message.  He goes on to say that he admires what Paul Smith has created, “a quintessentially British brand that has absolutely retained its Paul Smith vibe”.

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When asked whether he finds his role glamorous, Holland is quick to say “no”, he elaborates by saying that the celebrities he’s so often photographed with are his original group of friends since childhood and that celebrity is just a “side effect of their jobs”.

So what’s next for Henry Holland?  Well the designer has recently moved into menswear and would love to open his own physical store in London in order to create a “curated environment” for the customer.  He’s asked a great question by the editor of Darkus magazine: If he could give this part of his life a chapter name, what would it be?  After a short pause, Holland smiles and says ” I think it would have to be, What the Fuck Just Happened?!”  He goes on to tell us that there is actually a book on the horizon charting his life so far, if this talk is an introduction then this book is sure to make for an interesting read and is certainly something I’d read.

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His last question is from a young designer in the audience who asks whether it’s important to base yourself in London as a designer.  Both Holland and Weir are resolute in saying “no”.  Although both admit that it makes things easier, Weir claims that being outside of London could actually work to a designers advantage “you already know your audience and market and don’t have the competition” that there is in London.  Both firmly agree that the most important thing for young designers to have is passion and drive and a will to succeed.

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The pair thank the audience for their involvement and with that they’re off all smiles and waves.  Hats off to the organisers NE1, this was funny, interesting and engaging and the time flew by.  The format absolutely worked and the duo left the audience wanting more, in fact some of the younger Fashion students were discussing those sage words of advice afterwards.

If Henry Holland hasn’t been on your radar, firstly, where have you been?! And secondly, check him out.  At the end of the day as we discovered, he’s just a normal, down to earth guy with an insane amount of talent and some cool friends who happen to be celebrities.  He’s got a really awesome story to tell and pretty soon it could be on a bookshelf near you.

Pixie x

Laura Weir and Henry Holland are both on Twitter, go check them out:

Laura Weir  & Henry Holland