MCRFW Review: All Saints, Ted Baker, Flannels & Mulberry

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Manchester’s luxury location Spinningfields was this week host to the first ever Manchester Fashion Week, where the North West’s finest fashionistas gathered for some of the country’s most successful brands to showcase their latest designs. Despite the venue still being slightly under construction, the organisers did themselves proud and from what I saw everybody, including myself had an extremely enjoyable experience. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but when I arrived, the venue was rather intimate with no more than two hundred seats centred around a catwalk, an aspect which I really loved about it. Thursday afternoon was host to some of the of the more well-known brands of the week including All Saints, Ted Baker, Flannels and Mulberry in which their spring/summer 2012 collections hit the runway.

First up was All Saints with quite a ‘typical’ All Saints collection featuring mainly muted colours. The menswear was mainly of a nautical theme consisting of striped tees, short sleeved shirts, shorts, a long sleeved shirt with bird print detailing, denim jackets, layering and also some camouflage print. In contrast the women’s wear featured the usual coloured jeans, denim shorts, biker jackets over feminine dresses and embellishment however not as heavy as their usual pieces this time the added details proved rather subtle. Although All Saints did showcase some great outfits, I can’t help but feel that the garments they produce are always similar to their previous seasons; I get that they are trying to focus on one clear trend but fashion is supposed to develop into bigger and better things.

I knew Ted Baker was going to be great, not only because I’ve always loved the previous collections but because the show started by blaring a Beyonce and Lady Gaga duet through the room. Once again, menswear was rather nautical and preppy with rolled up ankle grazer chinos, neck scarves, blazers, satchels, boat shoes, polo t-shirts, dickie bows and jumpers over the shoulders which was all great, but let’s get to the important stuff – women’s wear. The collection was classic featuring outfits suited to almost every occasion that could possibly make its way into your diary. From a ladies lunch to a day at the races or even just an afternoon in the office, before ending with some beautiful bridal/ occasion wear which I personally thought would look amazing down the red carpet at even the Oscars. My favourite aspect was the explosion of colour which really gave a great summer feeling, unlike the dullness which made up the All Saints show.

As the day went on the venue got busier and the collections moved further towards high end and away from high street. Next up was Flannels starting 25 minutes later than schedule and featuring pieces by Paul Smith, CP Company, Malene Birger, Raoul and Matthew Williamson etc. Women’s wear was elegant and sophisticated featuring a number of gowns many us could only dream of wearing, more suited to the glamorous social lives of Hollywood’s finest. Some of my favourite designs from the show came from our very own Manchester born designer Matthew Williamson. Williamson’s collection featured extremely simple shapes, however, it was the print that caught my attention most. It wasn’t just the standard floral we tend to see through other designers work, rather than colouring the flowers in with just a block colour Williamson, has in fact used images of the skyscrapers of Tokyo cut out into the shape of flowers branching out. By adding just that slight detail to his simple designs they were completely transformed to create a unique and original collection.

To bring the day to a close was the one we’d all been waiting for, Mulberry. The British heritage brand showcased their spring/ summer 2012 collection which is in stores now. Some great pieces hit the catwalk ironically to a remix of Gene Kelly’s 1952 hit “Singin’ in the Rain”, but my favourite piece was the leopard and tiger print maxi. Rather than using a typical version of animal print, Mulberry instead did a more collaged image of the actual animals which had inspired the dress. I Loved it, especially as it provided an extremely glamorous holiday outfit perfect for the white sands of the Caribbean. The best accessory spot though was actually the classic Alexa satchel, but not the standard tan version of the bag this time with gold studs all over… A classic creation with a grungy edge, flawless combination if you ask me.

 Overall the day was a success – bring on next year! I hope you’ve enjoyed my review of Manchester Fashion Week. To catch up on more fashion news follow my blog at and on Twitter @Jessica_Simm.

Tune in later this afternoon for Nicole Broad’s article on the Manchester School of Art.

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

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