I’ve always been a little bit wary of so called fashionistas.
I’m short, fat (no, I am come on), completely out of proportion and now, well a bit old. No, I know I’m not in my dotage, but in my experience mainstream fashion in it’s majority is for the young. Catwalk images often feature slender models in their teens or twenties. Those, who do break the mould, whether it’s in age, size, ability, gender or colour are still few and far between.
And it means that it feels rather unrelateable – advertising the fashion on models who are so ‘perfect’ makes it difficult for me to relate to the clothing – how it will look on me, how it will fit, whether it’s worth investing in or not.
So when an invite to the latest Manchester Fashion Industry party popped into my inbox, I felt a little wary. Would it be full of perfect people? Would I feel uncomfortable and out of place?
And then I remembered two things. One, this is Manchester, we’re not like that.
Secondly, I remembered a quote from Anna Wintour (who I admittedly may not agree with on everything):
Why fit in, when you were born to stand out?
As a bit of a misfit, this has always stuck. I’m weird, a bit funny looking, loud, opinionated, geeky. It took me a long time to find my centre and be comfortable with who I am.
So, well fuck it. Cinderella was going to the ball. All she needed was a dress. The theme was ‘romantic gothic’ which obviously meant a good helping of black. Did I lean again on my little black dress (from Little Black Dress), or has everyone seen that a bit too often? Most of the others in my wardrobe were a little bit casual. It was going to have to be something new.
I tweeted my distress. Lace and bodicing? Or corsetry and satin. My teen goth days are far behind me, I cried for help. And a little voice heard my cry.
Frock and Frill are a Manchester based company who specialise in ladies clothing with a decadent vintage twist. Their site (and their home in the north of the city) is full of 1920s and 30s design and every item has beading and sequins that are hand sewn – they operate an ethical business model which means you know that not only is anything you buy going to last, it’s also going to be produced in a way that is the antithesis of sweatshop fast fashion.
So not only are you buying something utterly stunning, you’re also doing something good.
I stopped by their offices and felt like a child in a sweet shop. The sequins, the glitter, all the pretty.
I selected one from the Ziegfeld range. The weight of the beading is incredible. As you slip it on, you can feel the chill from the glass beads, and the fabric is gently stretchy, so it fits comfortably.
Add in a fluffy faux fur jacket, some lace tights from Jonathan Aston, and some serious backcombing, I was ready.
The party itself, was fabulous – lots of faces I knew, including fellow blogger Emma Joy, who is responsible for most of the pictures of me, and is with me in this Instagram shot (what is my face doing?). Cocktails had been created especially for the event by the team at San Carlo Fumo, with a little assistance from Cointreau, and we dove in happily.
So far, so good.
The fashion show that formed part of the evening admittedly featured a host of stunning ladies and gents, all slender and youthful, but when it came to the clothes, there were some gorgeous dresses that even I would love to find in my wardrobe.
If anything, I possibly got a little too snap happy throughout the event.
Things moved on and got a little, er messier after this, and as it was a school night, I made my excuses, threw on my faux fur and rushed out the door, unlike Cinderella, shoes intact.
It was a fantastic night, and that stunning dress has already wandered again out of the wardrobe for a date night with Mr GFB at new restaurant Quill, where it suited the gentle gothicism perfectly.
But more on that another time. I’m already looking forward to the next Fashion Industry party. I’m really going to let my inner fashionista out.