Manchester Spring Fashion Show 2012 Review

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Last week saw the 3rd annual Spring Fashion Show take place at Pitcher & Piano on Manchester’s Deansgate Locks. The show enables emerging fashion designers and young creatives to showcase their collections to an audience via the catwalk. Organised by vintage fashion designer and event’s organiser Victoria Rosso, along with student and fashion/beauty writer Claire McKinstry the night was a true success and enjoyable to say the least.

This year was my first year in attendance and what a night. We arrived around an hour before the show started when it was already packed with the north-west’s finest fashionistas. Drinks were flowing and there were a number of stalls open for guests to purchase clothing, jewellery and other unique accessories.

First to hit the catwalk was London based up and coming designer Fabryan. Specialising in womenswear the collection was inspired by the exotic flowers on display in southwest London’s Kew Gardens. The collection consisted of scarves, bodycon shapes with full length zips, leather and chiffon in mainly a black/ purple colour palette.

Next up was Huxton created by two friends whose ultimate dream was to work alongside each other in the ever changing world of fashion. Unlike Fabryan’s collection Huxton’s was much brighter and consisted mainly of silk garments. There were much more variety throughout this range with a mix of pencil skirts, maxi skirts, maxi dresses, midi skirts, chiffon pussy bow blouses and wide leg trousers etc. There were a selection of oriental prints, animal prints and classic silhouettes making the collection rather diverse.

Third to show of what she had on offer was the extremely unique fashion and textile designer Kelly Bull. The collection titled ‘You can’t control me’ demonstrated a combination of Bull’s childhood memories, emotions and the effects we as individuals have on each other. The Northamptonshire based designer uses a lengthy process in which she makes garments and sheets of material from liquid latex. Consisting of mainly a brown/ camel colour scheme the garments were extremely unique and interesting however, I did find that many were un-wearable as the materials were rather rubbery.

(Images of Kelly Bull collection 2012: ‘You can’t control me’ courtesy of Nicole Broad)

Cross Culture fashion were fourth to hit the runway with their collection of both men’s and women’s shirts, vests, printed t’s, printed leggings and shorts and hooded sweaters. Taking inspiration from a variety of different cultures including the UK, Cyprus, Japan, the Philippines and India etc. the brand focus on being extremely fashion forward creating trends before they are seen anywhere else in the world. They believe that ‘fashion is a reflection of an individual’s mood and character’. The collection featured mainly bright, flamboyant and vibrant colours and styles with this particular range taking inspiration from African culture. Although I loved the idea of where the brand has taken its inspiration from, the crowd did not seem so enthusiastic about it.

(Images of Cross Culture Fashion collection 2012 courtesy of Nicole Broad)

Lauren Wroe, a recent graduate from Northumbria University was the final designer to showcase her work before the interval, with a 1940s and 50s inspired collection. Whilst studying fashion design at university Wroe discovered that on average 15-20% of fabric was wasted during the production of garments, something which inspired her to create this eco-friendly collection. She used the whole length of the fabrics she was working with taking a zero waistline approach to production. The collection was one of my favourites of the night featuring one shoulder dresses, apron/ pinafore style pieces and collars very significant of the era she was trying to portray.

(Images of Lauren Wroe collection 2012 courtesy of Nicole Broad)

Following the interval first up was Pretty Disturbia, a label by Manchester fashion designer Leesa Bertram. Taking her inspiration from the fascinating world of burlesque the collection has been designed ‘for the confident consumer who has a love for oddity and uniqueness’. Along with burlesque the garments also hold a striking resemblance to 1950s ladylike shapes with an added gothic twist. Mostly of a red and black colour scheme the range featured tutu skirts, cut out garments and leather.

Victoria Rosso (the shows head organiser) then displayed her latest collection of folk, vintage style clothing. Loosely based on the 1960s and Rosso’s love of travel many of the garments featured patterns significant of this era. Featuring mainly one off garments Rosso’s collection included; crops, lace, floral prints, miniskirts, dresses and was mainly of a muted and pastel colour palette with just a few brighter pieces coming through.

Crystal Padmore was next with her range of hand crafted chunky knits, soft jersey and patchwork garments. Inspired by the beauty of nature, like previous designer Lauren Wroe Crystal wanted to create eco-friendly garments. Her collection is about reconnecting with nature with a contemporary twist and using clothing as an expression to demonstrate identity. With a combination of fringed knits, folk and gypsy style garments the collection expressed Padmore’s strong ethical views on sustainable fashion. Although I didn’t believe Crystal was the best designer in the show her unique creations led her on to win the Emerging Designer Award on the night, (her pieces are available online at

Thom Neal followed, the only designer of the night to concentrate solely on menswear. The brand is fairly new created just last year in 2011 but is constantly developing. I absolutely loved this collection as Neal focuses his creations on British heritage and skill. The majority of the fabrics he uses are sourced from the UK and he is inspired by British cultures mainly music both past and present. The collection featured a poncho, tapered trousers, long oversized shirts, fur, leather and British favourite tweed. Neal is most definitely destined for great things as the rest of the crowd seemed to love his designs as much as I did.

The final designer of the night to showcase her work was recent graduate Rianna Phillips. After graduating from university last summer, Phillips decided to set up an online shop after a considerable number of people took interest in her work. Featuring interesting silhouettes the designer was one of the night’s favourites, showcasing a number of floating smock dresses, embellished pieces, psychedelic patterns, ruffled applique, studded/spiked detailing and a juxtaposition of pastels with black throughout the collection.

(Images of Rianna Phillips collection 2012 courtesy of Nicole Broad)

The night showcased some fab designers my favourites being Victoria Rosso, Thom Neal and Rianna Phillips whom I would definitely predict great things for this coming year.

Follow Jessica on Twitter @Jessica_Simm and on her blog at

Check out some of the latest Manchester Street Style Fashion’s with The Mancunianist.

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