The Empty Shop 2015

Award-winning charity fashion project returns for 2nd year


Back for another year, The Empty Shop charity fashion project is once again open for business in Manchester Arndale.

The empty shop


Following last year’s success (you can read more here), The Empty Shop aims through fashion to create a greater awareness of homelessness in the Manchester area.

Along with generating vital funds for Manchester based homeless charity, The Mustard Tree.



How it works


Members of the public, retailers and Manchester businesses are invited to donate items of pre-loved clothing each day, which is then styled by stylists and fashion bloggers and emptied each night and donated to the charity.

Last year, Mancunion residents and businesses donated two tonnes of clothing!



The Empty Shop will be in Exchange Square at Manchester Arndale from 23rd January until 1st February.


The Empty Shop


The Empty Shop


The Empty Shop


Corrie’s Brooke Vincent is shoing her support this year for The Empty Shop and will be donating her own pre-loved clothing and trying her hand at styling one of the mannequins.

Brooke’s homelessness storyline in Coronation Street really made her aware of the challenges that many homeless people face and she is very proud to be named as the official ambassador for The Empty Shop.

A host of stylists, fashion bloggers, retailers and students will take on the challenge of styling a mannequin each day and a number of famous names will be clearing out their wardrobe to donate their own pre-loved items.

For more information on the project, and details of how to donate please visit The Empty Shop website, or follow them on facebook and Twitter @EmptyShopMCR


Alison x  (your 4Manchesterwomen Editor)


Photographs: The Empty Shop




HMS Vintage makeover

Turns out the old fox was in there all along


Over the last 5 years my self-image has taken a bit of a pounding. I’ve turned 40, been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, lost all my hair, gained some new scars where once tubes poked out, lost a lot of weight, grown back my hair but with the texture of a brillo pad and piled weight back on again.

Then this summer came another shock to the system – suddenly becoming a new mum to a 3 yr old.

Now in the morning I look in the mirror and wonder who that tired middle-aged person looking back at me is?

I can’t lie – I’m a bit battered and I can’t quite believe that Wonderwall was 20 years ago.

So when the offer to review a vintage makeover company came along, I thought I’d be brave and give it a go.

From someone who has been hiding at the back of group photos, surreptitiously deleting others and avoiding mirrors for years, it was a brave thing to do.

But, it turns out that the old fox is still in there ……. she’s just buried a bit deeper these days! A heartfelt thank you to HMS Vintage for helping me to feel beautiful again!


Alison Staples by HMS Vintage


The makeover


Relatively new to the vintage scene, HMS Vintage has already been scooping accolades, winning the Best Photography and Best Newcomer awards at The Vintage Manchester Awards.

Based in Salford, HMS Vintage is a creative partnership between photographer Ian Brooke and make-up artist Ewa Baberska.

Being a lady of curves, my immediate worry was that there wouldn’t be anything in their extensive wardrobe which would actually fit me. I needn’t have worried. In a separate room were rails of bright prints and sultry gowns in all styles and sizes – with accessories galore.


Vintage clothes rail


Vintage accessories


With the radio playing and a piping hot pot of tea, hair and make-up was a relaxed affair.


Vintage book & radio


I’ve only ever had my make-up professionally done once before and that was for my wedding. But bridal subtlety wasn’t in Ewa’s vocabulary when it came to my makeover. We were going for full out glam.

As a false eyelash virgin, I’m now a convert. They made my eyes look amazing. Along with the flicky up eye liner which I can never seem to get right, when all was revealed, I was unrecognisable (to me!)

I can’t lie, as someone who doesn’t wear much ‘slap’ it was a bit of a shock, but Ewa reassured me that it would look amazing in the photos ……. I’ll let you be the judge. But thankfully I don’t think I look like a man in drag or Tracy Turnblad – and I am my own harshest critic!


The photo shoot


I have absolutely no modeling experience, and initially felt enormously awkward – telling photographer Ian on more than one occasion that I felt like a complete (k)nob!

But with Ian’s encouragement and direction, before long I was confident enough to freestyle it!

“Bend your knee, drop your hip, turn your shoulders, turn your head that way, now look at me and play coy!”

It’s no mean feat in 4 inch red peep toe stilettos I’m telling you! But I think I pulled it off, and we certainly did a lot of laughing.


Themed makeovers


New for this year, the team have introduced themed makeovers, with a different theme offered every other month.


Sin City themed shoot by HMS Vintage


The current theme is based on the 2005 American ‘neo-noir action thriller’ Sin City. So I also got a movie star treatment!



Alison Staples by HMS Vintage




HMS Vintage are currently running a 50% discount sale on their vintage makeover experiences (offer available until 28th February 2015) and a special Valentines offer (available until 14th February 2015), so whether you’re a hen party out for fun, looking for a glamorous gift or like me, just trying to rediscover your inner fox, I can thoroughly recommend HMS Vintage.

For current offers and promotions click here.



Alison Staples by HMS Vintage


Address: HMS Vintage, Office 3, Spark Studios, 208-210 Great Clowes Street, Broughton
M7 2ZS

Tel: 0161 705 7903



Twitter: @HMSVintage



Alison x (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: HMS Vintage, Alison Staples

Disclosure: my makeover and photo shoot were complementary, however this is a fair an honest account of my experience. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t write about it.








Review – Triumph Magic Wire Bra

Comfortable, supportive, pretty and with added benefits for breast cancer patients


I don’t generally do product reviews. However as someone who has never been properly measured for a bra, the lure of a comfortably fitting bra without an annoying wire spiking me in the ribs / arm pit, was like dangling lingerie nirvana in front of me


Magic Wire Bra


Triumph Magic Wire Bra


According to Jenny who fitted me in the lingerie department of House of Fraser (Deansgate), the Magic Wire is the most innovative thing to hit bras in a very long time.

Put simply, the often offending under wire has been replaced with a clever piece of silicone. Coupled with a side support it provides the lift of an under wire bra with the comfort of a wire free bra.


Triumph Magic Bra

(Clearly this is me in the picture …….. I wish!)


Solving one of life’s little niggles




Comfortable support for breast cancer patients


My conversation with Jenny also revealed just how appropriate the Magic Wire Bra is for those who have undergone breast cancer surgery. There are no wires digging into reconstruction scars and the padding evens out any non-uniformity.



Very, very pretty


Triumph Magic Wire Bra

A comfortable bra which is feminine and pretty means that Triumph Magic Wire bras have been flying off the shelves.

These glamorous designs come in at £36.00 for the bra and, £22.00 – £35.00 for the matching knickers.

Those with bigger breasts can also experience the no-wire feeling, as they are available in sizes A-F.

Oh and for the record – it turns out I’m actually an E-cup, rather than a D.

Who knew!


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Triumph








Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

Katy’s story and fundraising fashion event


We’ve got Katy joining us on the blog today, with her story of cervical cancer, how she used exercise to help her recovery and a special friendship which has been the catalyst for a fantastic fundraising event.


Over to you Katy ……

I was 12 weeks post hysterectomy when, at the start of the year, I had my first personal training session.


Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust


Last August I was diagnosed with stage 1b1 cervical cancer.

After an MRI scan and meeting with the doctors, they offered me an operation to remove my cervix but leave my womb. It means you can still conceive but cannot naturally give birth – I was so relieved and positive. They also needed to remove all my pelvic lymph nodes to check if the cancer had spread.

Two weeks after my operation, I received my results.

All my lymph nodes were clear but the operation had been unsuccessful and there was a possibility that there were cancer cells remaining. I was devastated.

The next step for me was a radical hysterectomy. My final results were clear and I am now cancer free.

After 10 weeks off work and 4 months with no exercise I decided I needed to get back into the swing of things but I had no idea what I could do or how I should be doing it.


Katy & Esther


I chose Esther from Transform after reading on her website that she specialised in post natal exercise, which I thought was probably a similar situation to the one I was in. It hasn’t been easy but I quickly learnt my limits and Esther pushed just enough to get the results and progress I wanted.

One day before my session, Esther told me she was going to organise a fashion show and that she wanted to donate all the money raised to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, I was truly touched.


Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust


Jo’s Trust are the only UK charity dedicated to supporting women, their friends and family affected by cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer.

I relied a lot on Jo’s Trust throughout my diagnosis and treatment, they have a website full of information including an online forum where you can ask questions and share experiences with other members.

I’ve also joined a local Jo’s Trust support group where I can meet up with other ladies in a similar position for a cup of coffee and a chat. We meet at The Alexandra Hospital every month. Jo’s Trust are constantly working towards a future where cervical cancer is a thing of the past which means a lot to everyone affected by this awful disease.


The Fashion Show


The fashion show in aid of Jo’s Trust will take place at 7pm on Thursday 15th May at The Moor Suite, Heaton Moor. We will be holding a raffle with some amazing prizes and there will be goody bags for everyone attending.

We’ve some gorgeous clothes from Eternal Envy and Modiste, all of which will be modelled by Transform Personal Training clients. We are aiming to sell 200 tickets and have no costs associated with the event so every penny made will go directly to the charity.


Jo's Trust Fashion Event.

For tickets to the fashion show please contact Katy – 07812 119 642 or Esther – 07703 569 645. Tickets also available from Ryan Jake in Bramhall.

For more information on Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust see:


Katy x


Photographs: Katy Rawlinson





Manchester Fashion Week Review

Emerging talent and established brands put Manchester on the fashion map


#MCRFW once again graced the catwalk with a plethora of exciting fashion brands. We sent personal stylist and fashion expert Susan Baxter (Susan Styles You) to sit on the front row (days 1 and 2) and report back on the fabulous style coming from our Cottonopolis.


Over to you Susan ……

I was delighted to be invited by 4Manchester Women to be their roving reporter for Manchester Fashion Week 2014 #MCRFW.The venue was the beautiful Hallé St Peter’s building in Ancoats which, I’m ashamed to say, I had never heard of before. Such a picturesque building and a stunning backdrop for the show.

Manchester Fashion Week


Day 1, Good Friday turned into Great Friday with emerging designers, while Day 2 featured independent brands and online stores. The atmosphere really was electric surrounded by fellow bloggers and press.

Local presenter JSky made an excellent job of presenting and even gave us a few songs on Day 2. What a smooth operator.

So, what of the fashion?


My favourites on Day 1 (emerging designers)


Sophie Ho showed us futuristic, knitted pieces that were a real work of art – very sculptural. She takes inspiration from her own photographs of dissected plants.


sophie ho


Nina Burton showed us some beautiful orange and green prints that were very ‘peasanty’.


Nina Burton


I loved Leah Jones use of colour and mixtures of texture, incorporating lots of shiny discs.


Leah Jones


Emily Shaw was the most outlandish and made us all smile with her oversized knitwear and giant bobble headed balaclava.


Emily Shaw


I loved Lucy Cowan‘s cute and playful collection.

I thought the stuffed pigeon being used as a handbag stole the show and really reminded us we were in Manchester (sadly I don’t have a photo to share of the pigeon).


Lucy Cowan



My favourites on Day 2 (indi bands & online stores)


So on to day 2 – the place was rammed to the rafters and even more electric than the night before, if that is at all possible.

I arrived a little early to get my seat on the front row for a show which was a  fun blend of high street mixed with indie, vintage, showgirl and even fetish on the catwalk!


My faves here were:

Sofia Dourvari’s collection of evening wear was just stunning.


Sophia Dourvari


Florina brought us back to nature with their beautiful clothes made of moss and plants.




The vintage collection from Gin & Tonic (my fave tipple) was made up of eclectic, retro pieces with some gorgeous 1920s outfits – they are an online store based in the Northern Quarter.


Gin & Tonic Vintage @ #MCRFW 14 Photographer credit Charles Davis @ Professional Photographer


Part 1 ended with some show stopping show girl outfits from Central St Martins graduate, Clare Baxter (no relation unfortunately) – very Kylie-esque. Beautiful embellished costumes, feathers, ridiculously killer heels – fabulous darling!


clare baxter


Part 2 opened with Eustratia in latex! Wowsers – don’t think strict dominatrix – this was pretty, feminine, girly and gorgeous!




Lily Lulu was young fresh and fashionable – a great independent retailer based in Manchester.

Another favourite was Aftershock – very elegant and decadent!

We finished with a flourish with Cheshire based SVE and some truly amazing monochromatic couture evening dresses.




Phew! So that’s my round up of #mcrfw 2014. The models were amazing, how they managed to get changed so quickly is a mystery!

It was an outstanding event – thanks to the sponsors – and thanks to 4Manchester Women for a fantastic opportunity.

Highlights of Day 1 (#MCRFW website).

Highlights of Day 2 (#MCRFW website)

Highlights of Day 3 (#MCRFW website)

Finalé (#MCRFW website)


Susan x


Photographs: Manchester Fashion Week, Charles Davis at Professional Photography, Susan Baxter



Wedding Fashion on a Budget

Creative ways to make sure that the wedding season doesn’t break the bank


We’re welcoming a new member to the 4Manchester Women team of regular guest writers today. Meet Sarah who writes her own blog, The Threadbare Fashionista. Sarah’s going to be helping us to get the most out of our wardrobe – and this time she’s tackling the money pit that is wedding outfits!


Over to you Sarah ……

Sarah Foulkes


Some people cry at weddings.

Is it because they know that like the bride, they’ll never wear their overpriced dress again?

Being a wedding guest is a costly business: a hotel, whatever’s left on the gift list, a few rounds at an eye-wateringly expensive bar.

Plus the hen weekend.


And you haven’t  got an outfit yet, right?


If you’ve been to a few weddings over the last couple of years, you probably already have everything you need jammed in the back of your wardrobe.

So ask yourself – do you really need a whole new outfit that you might only wear once?


Coast - rail of dresses


The youngest of 25 cousins, I’ve spent a loooot of time at weddings, been a bridesmaid four times and witnessed more nuptial frock-ups than a registrar.

I’ve never, EVER, bought an outfit just to wear to a wedding.

Maybe you think I’m some kind of nut. Maybe I am. But here’s how to be the best dressed wedding guest and still have a few pennies left in the bank.


If it looks like a bridesmaid’s dress, leave it on the rail


Chances are, the retailer thought so too and slapped a few extra quid on the price.

Shopping at wedding faves like Coast and Monsoon guarantees a beautiful outfit with matching accessories, but remember, everyone else is thinking the same.

Which is awkward when you rock up in the same frock as the bridesmaids (I should know, I WAS that bridesmaid).


Coast - yellow, peach and green


Recycle, upcycle, swap


Find a friend or relative who’s a similar size and exchange outfits, or just buy one dress and change the shoes and accessories so it looks different every time. Boring? Maybe. Money saving? Definitely.


Controversial, but try separates instead of a dress


You’ll get much more wear out of a skirt or trousers and top than you will a dress. The skirt and top combo by Oasis (right hand side of the picture below) is a perfect example.


Oasis - pink skirt and floral top


You don’t always need matching shoes and bag 


Or each other. As long as they compliment and add something to the whole outfit, it’s all good. Personally I’ve worn gold shoes and a minky coloured leather bag I made myself for less than a tenner to pretty much every do I’ve been to in the last two years.

No one has turned their nose up. Yet.


Monsoon - silver shoes


Ditch the hat / fascinator


Unless you’re one of those uber cool types who can carry off a hat, don’t bother. Nobody looks cool in a fascinator.


Perhaps you’re thinking, so what does this smart alec wear to a wedding?

Here’s three of my outfits from weddings past. I confess, they’re not to everyone’s taste!


harem pants


Joy dress


Turkish dress


All I’m trying to say is, if you don’t want to spend a fortune, and want something you’ll actually wear again, there’s plenty in your wardrobe – and on the high street – to have a go at.

Ultimately, it’s the bride and groom’s day– you’re just the supporting cast, so unless you turn up flashing too much leg/cleavage or looking like scrag end dressed as fillet steak, no one will remember what you wore.

My advice? Keep it stylish, keep it comfortable and don’t break the bank!


Sarah x


Photographs: Sarah Foulkes

Sarah writes her own personal blog over at The Threadbare Fashionista.






Manchester – off the beaten track

Looking for our city’s hidden gems


We all know that Manchester is one of the most interesting cities to visit or live in the UK.

But like anywhere, walking down the main streets doesn’t always lead you to the ‘real’ heart and soul of our city. Here we’re exploring some hidden secrets and favourites that you may or may not know about. You are unlikely to find this list on the tourist map or mainstream travel guide.


Fabulous Manchester



Watch a gig at the Führer Bunker


Just a hop across The Irwell into Salford to find this hippest venue and home of in-demand record label SWAYS. The Führer Bunker hosts shows in a very industrial location!

Why not take the ferry – it leaves Manchester for Salford twice daily. Make sure that you  plan well in advance for all bunker shows.

Bands play inside a cage, and the venue is small – all of which make you feel as if you’re at the very epicentre of Manchester / Salford cool. NHS specs and ironic facial hair (for the boys) are optional but advised.


Manchester taken from across the ship canal



Boys, shop at Oi Polloi


A staple for Manchester’s trend setters, this menswear store opened over ten years ago and continues to shape the way the city’s hippest blokes dress. Designers include APC, Lyle & Scott, Nudie Jeans and Fjallraven.

Oi Polloi, Thomas Street, Northern Quarter.


Girls, shop at Retro Rehab


For those wishing to confuse passers-by by looking like you’re from a different era, Manchester has a number of vintage clothes shops. These include mecca Afflecks Palace, but we particularly love Retro Rehab –  used by those that are in the know, with a wide range of interesting stock. Expect vintage and customised dresses, tops, jumpsuits, handbags, scarves, jewellery and shoes.

Retro Rehab, Oldham Street, Northern Quarter.


Vintage Clothes Shop


Planet hunting at the Godlee Observatory


This is where the cataclysmic events and dramas of the universe are observed. The naked eyes of visitors get some help from old-fashioned telescopes, and a timber dome that is still operated by ropes and wheels.

Amazingly, this little gem has been in operation since 1902. Modern technological changes haven’t marred its old-world magic. A part of The University of Manchester, few visitors to the city would have heard about the Godlee Observatory, so keep this little nugget of nostalgia to yourself.


Enjoy a play at The Three Minute Theatre


Hidden away on the ground floor of Afflecks Palace is The 3MT – a boutique 70 seater theatre which champions new talent. Visit this intimate little venue for cosy evening amongst friends.

The Three Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade, Oldham Street.


Check out some art at The International 3


This off-the-beaten-track, not-for-profit gallery offers year-round exhibitions from emerging and established artists, as well as independent curators. Although the city boasts a number of more well-known galleries, The International 3 is where you’re likely to find new up-and-coming artists set to become the next big thing.

The International 3, Fairfield St (opposite Piccadilly Station).


Explore the ‘burbs


Luther King House


We all know that there are plenty of places to explore other than the city centre.

There are hidden gems to be found the length and breadth of Manchester. Take Fallowfield, for example, popular with students and full of bars.


But have you heard of Luther King House? If you’re looking to stay in this quiet area outside of the city, Luther King House is a great option. At this bed and breakfast in Manchester, conference facilities and a number of special offers are available.


If you’ve got a hidden gem to share, please leave a comment below.


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)



<<please note the above is not a photo of Retro Rehab>>









Manchester Fashion Week

#MRCFW update


Manchester Fashion Week (18th – 21st April 2014, Hallé St Peter’s) is less than a week away. And as you can imagine, excitement is mounting.

Women’s online fashion brand 5Fashion have just confirmed their partnership with the event, the programme has been announced and press passes allocated (we’ve got ours).





Day One – Emerging Talents – 18th April


A day of the regions most notable New Designers


Sophie Ho Knitwear


  • Caiti Betterton
  • Sophie Ho
  • Annie Oaks
  • Lucy Cowan
  • Adam Jones
  • Catherine Hudson
  • Helen Colville
  • Abigail Wright
  • Nina Burton



Day Two – We Are Manchester – 19th April

The first day 15+ designers celebrating Manchester’s talent and fashion economy.


Sophia Dourvari



Day Three – We Are Manchester – 20th April

The second day of 15+ Designers celebrating Manchester’s talent and fashion economy.


AKA Clothing.


The day four finalé is still under wraps – but if you want more information or to book tickets then visit



Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Textile 21 – Sophie Ho, Sophia Dourvari, AKA Clothing





Gorgeous SS14 Fashion Trends

Which is your favourite?


The Tweet Seat was back in action again last week at Manchester Arndale, with a plethora of bloggers being treated to a behind the scenes look at some of this season’s hottest fashions.


SS14 Fashion Trends


Fashionista that I am, I arrived in a woolly hat – staying for a grand total of five minutes before rushing off to The Lowry where we had tickets to see Goldfrapp.

However – it was long enough to be thoroughly inspired by the four key looks that the Manchester Arndale team had put together.


SS14 fashion ideas


Here are my interpretations of the four different looks.


1. Pretty Things

pretty things


Embrace your ladylike side this season with the most girly of trends. Think fondant fancies and all things sweet.

Bubblegum pink, baby blue, lavender and lemon.


Pretty Things



2. Paintbox



From pillar-box red to cobalt blue and yellow, this bold and bright trend is not for the faint hearted.

Clean lines, tailoring and short hemlines, in the brightest colours will help you stand out from the crowd.

Pair with clashing bright accessories, like a bright clutch or chunky colourful necklace to really make a statement.


Paint Box



3. 3D Floral

3D Floral


Nothing says Spring / Summer more than florals and the latest looks don’t disappoint with everything from soft pastel prints and vibrant hues, to darker and edgier garden prints.


Over sized motifs and 3D motifs add a fun twist to this romantic trend – and for the daring fashionista, more is more! Try pairing two floral separates together and add over sized floral jewellery to truly bloom!


3D Floral



4. Bold Statements

bold statments


Whether you fancy Aztec or geometric, there are some dazzling prints around that promise to add a stand-out twist to any SS14 wardrobe.

Monochrome and neon prints are perfect for a glam night-time look and this season’s designs look stunning when partnered with clashing bright jewels and statement accessories – the bigger the better!


Bold Stagements



Competition time



Courtesy of Manchester Arndale, we’ve got two bottles of O.P.I Nail Lacquer to give away to one lucky reader.  OPI Nail Lacquer

Just leave a comment in the box below telling us which of our four is your favourite SS14 Fashion Trend to be in with a chance of winning.



SS14 fashion trends

Me – I love the bright clashing colours of paintbox!


Good luck!


Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)


Photographs: Manchester Arndale. Click on the individual sets for more information.



By taking part in this competition you are agreeing to 4Manchester Womens Terms & Conditions for competitions and prize draws.


Competition closing date: 9pm Thursday 17th April 2014.

The winner will be the first name selected at random from all respondents. No purchase necessary. No cash alternative. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Closing date is 9pm Thursday 17th April 2014. The winners will be notified immediately. Only one entry per person. UK entries only. No automated entries. Supporting ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions and loquax. If you are a lucky winner, your contact details will be forwarded to the providers of the prize, strictly for the purpose of fulfilling the prize and not for any other purpose.
Please note: Should you be notified as the winner, and you do not respond within 2 days of our notification, we reserve the right to re-draw the winner.


Previous competition winners (last 6 months)

The Perfect Princess Party – win a Princess fancy dress outfit (14th October 2013). Winner Emma Wolski.

MINILAND Manchester – win a family day pass to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester (6th November 2013). Winner Andrea Lloyd.

New trends Christmas decorations – win a John Lewis Christmas 2013 teddy (11th November 2013). Winner Rachael Barratt.

Luxurious home products – win a throw from Linen Loft (15th November 2013). Winner Chris Fletcher.

Personalised Christmas Gifts – win a personalised mug from Photobox (18th November 2013). Winners Katrina Steward, Nicola McConnell.

Bathroom makeover – win a selection of pamper products (14th January 2014). Winner Georgina Jacobs.

Travelling with Kids – win Cryin Air travel packs (22nd January 2014). Winner Lily Bowers.

Farmhouse Breakfast Week – win a breakfast hamper (27th January 2014). Winner Janet Rumley.

Easy Valentine Heart Cookies – win heart shape cookie cutters (3rd February 2014). Winner Donna Lawton.

Black Dog branches into fashion – win a designer t-shirt (5th February 2014)

Interview with Rianna Phillips – win a designer mini pouch (11th February 2014). Winner Laura Vitty.

Ethical African Bags – win a BagsandMore demi lune bag and scarf (3rd March 2014). Winners Sandy Hendry and Jenny Miller.

Manchester Fashion Bee – win an Essential Burt’s Bees Kit (11th March 2014). Winner Angela Norton-Kelly.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas – win a Mum’s Mumisms typography print (19th March 2014). Winner Natalie Gillham.




Thank you so much to everyone who entered our competition. The winner is Michelle Wild.






Review of Yves Saint Laurent

A sumptuous biopic about the French designer


Four starsWhen we were invited to a preview of the new French language film about the life of Yves Saint Laurant at The Odeon Printworks, who better to check it out for us than personal stylist Susan Baxter (Susan Styles You).


Over to you Susan ……

Yves Saint Laurent film


When I was asked to review the new Yves Saint Laurent biopic by 4Manchester Women I obviously jumped at the chance!

A much anticipated film which as an avid fashionista was right up my street.

I must start by saying that Pierre Niney was spookily like Yves Saint Laurent in every way and managed to capture his gestures, mannerisms etc. to a fine art.

The film spans two decades, beginning in 1958. I was totally in awe of the way his character aged throughout the film – it was like magic.


Passionate, sumptuous and volatile


So, of course this film was about fashion, but it is more a portrayal of both the tender and passionate and volatile relationship between Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge.

This film is decadent, captivating, sumptuous, hedonistic, colourful, seedy, touching, heartbreakingly sad, indulgent and much, much more.


YSL film


Filmed in Paris and Marrakesh, the cinematography is visually breathtaking. From the elegant interiors of Yves and Pierre’s Parisian apartments, to the bohemian Moroccan lifestyle they enjoyed with the likes of Loulou de la Falaise and Karl Lagerfeld.

It was an absolute joy to take in the scenery, the colours, the culture. One minute on a flower filled balcony overlooking Notre Dame, next in the cacophony of pink bougainvillea, water lilies and cacti, and the bright cobalt blue walls of his Moroccan villa, you could almost touch it. Yves Saint Laurent was inspired by the vibrancy, sophistication and the sensuality of Morocco at the time.


Successes and struggles


In the early years, we see Yves Saint Laurent as vulnerable, shy and inexperienced. We journey through his life as he develops and blossoms in his career, and through his battles with alcohol, drugs and infidelity.

It becomes really dark as he struggles with depression and the pressure to develop two collections a year. Be warned! This is definitely not a film for the faint hearted as this contains full on raw sex scenes! Then as he ages, we observe his health declining as he becomes frail and weak.


Favourite scenes


There are too many to mention, but the iconic pop art inspired Mondrian dress is awesome with eye poppingly bright colours.

Then, the one that left me a gibbering wreck was his last catwalk, the Russian ballet collection in 1976 was truly stunning!

I just swooned at every outfit that appeared. It was an amazing collection.


YSL Film


It was more like theatre than a catwalk and the music by Ibrahim Maaloouf gave a very strong impression. The model they used for the wedding dress was so beautiful and it was indeed a very emotional moment for me.


Creating iconic fashion through the decades


I loved the way the film seamlessly (see what I did there) flows from 1950s ladylike fashion, through 1960s revolutionary mini skirts, then the opulence of 1970s fashion and, of course, the legendary ‘Le Smoking’ of which Yves Saint Laurent was quoted as saying “A woman in a pant suit is not masculine at all … a severe and implacable cut only emphasises her femininity, her seductiveness all the more.”

Director, Jalil Lespert’s admiration for Saint Laurent’s art is tangible: “I am very touched by his vision; the very modern vision he had of women, of a free woman, while being aware and understanding her femininity and her power of seduction.”

Actor Guillaume Gallienne who played his business partner and lover, Pierre Berget said:

“It’s the first time in my life I have been moved by a dress, you come out of the film realising that art is not only in museums; that is what Yves would be happiest with if he was able to see this. He brought art to the streets because he decided that women should be masterpieces; they could be a Mondrian, they could be Picassos, they could be avant-garde Ballets Russes beauties. That’s his gift.”


YSL Film


In summary, this film is excellent – a must see film for all Yves Saint Laurent fans, fashionistas and culture vultures alike. Just remember your tissues.




Yves Saint Laurent is now on general release. For more information and to book tickets click here.


Susan x


You can find Susan at

Photographs: Wikipedia







  • A A A