As an official Intu Influencer I always look forward to the fashion preview events that unveil the high street’s interpretations of the key trends for each season.  The team at Intu Metrocentre always put on a show to accompany their previews and the FW17 showcase was their best yet.  Not content with the regular runway show, we were treated to an evening of power dressing with Costume Historian (and my friend) Meridith Towne and crafting with the gals from North East based company The Crafthood.

After being greeted with a custom blended mocktail at Zizzi we were given the chance to browse the trend rail which had been pulled from the shopping mall’s leading fashion retailers.  With lots of high street versions of Fashion Month’s key trends including blazers, stripes and lots of red, it was clear to see from the outset that the evening had been tailored (see what I did there?) to the Power Dressing theme.  So, what did we get up to?

CRAFTING

The Crafthood is a modern craft business.  I’ve come across them before at another event and their workshop model is one that definitely hooks you in.  From candle making to Christmas bauble painting and calligraphy (which I’ll be booking on to) these girls are teaching skills in a social environment and paying it forward to boot.  For every workshop space they sell, they donate a workshop space to charity.  Nice right?

On the upper floor of Zizzi, we had a designated crafting zone laid out with plain canvas makeup bags and a place tag in gorgeous golden calligraphy (a skill you can hone with The Crafthood).  Paint and stamps were laid out for us to get our craft on and create our own bespoke washbags using any colour imaginable.  With a quick lesson from Sharon and Kay, A.K.A The Crafthood, we were let loose with paint and free will, and pretty much every single person immediately looked to stamp their own initials on their bags.  Even with seashells, stars and leaves available to use, it just goes to show that the trend for personalisation isn’t going anywhere.

After a lot of practice on strips of cloth, I made two very questionnable washbags, one for me and one for Plankton.  Both featuring a gucci-esque bee. 

SCRANNING

As this was a seated event, Zizzi put on bespoke platters to satisfy even the most fussy palates.  Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or a meat lover like me, Zizzi has your back.  Think pizza, deep fried peppers, falafel, carrot sticks and all the carbs, the sharing platters are actually big enough to share (so many of them aren’t) and there’s a great variety of food on each one.  I’d recommend the garlic and rosemary bread and that’s why I ate 10 slices.  Fact.

POWER DRESSING

I’m a huge fan of fellow Costume Historian Meridith Towne and we’ve worked together a couple of times now.  Basically Towne travels the country with History Wardrobe delivering a number of talks on topics she’s set, based on her extensive collection of vintage and antique clothing.  Got that?  It’s a sort of educational talk about era or genre specific trends with a little theatre thrown in to keep it upbeat.  Towne’s Glitz & Glamour talk is one of my favourites on her menu, if you get a chance to catch it then I strongly recommend you do.  Today though, we’re here to talk about the art of Power Dressing, given the number of women in politics and the rise in female CEOs it seems an uber relevant topic.  It’s less of a lesson on how we as women should power dress and more a look at how these women dress to exhibit their own power.  Take Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior for example, spear heading the trend for the feminist slogan tee, it’s not so much about angled shoulders and pant suits, but more about different ways of wearing our power in a noticeable way.

We were guided though notable moments in global history which charted the rise of female empowerment, from Maggie Thatcher’s blazers and pearls, to the tricks that women used to widen their shoulders in order to appear equal to men.  Towne has immersed herself in her self curated collection, some of which she’s made herself to the exact specifications that they would have been in their designated era.  After Towne brings us up to date with how female power dressing throughout history has influenced our present day wardrobes, we had the chance to get up close and personal with a small selection of her curated vintage and antique wardrobe, some of which is so old and delicate that we’re not actually allowed to touch it.

FW17 TRENDS

As you know, everything we wear is influenced by the runways of the Big Four at global Fashion Month.  The fate of our 2017 Fall Winter wardrobes was actually sealed in February 2017 when the most influential designers in the world sent variations on old shapes down the catwalks.  Multicoloured fur, stripes, tweed, polo and neck sweaters were all relatable and translatable trends for the high street to deliver as affordable fashion.  Red was the colour of the season but as a block, not a hint so for FW17 if you’re going red then go bold or go home.

Outside of power dressing padding and quilting is the way to go, metallic puffer jackets were on every major runway in Paris with Chanel leading the pack, tailoring in beige and brown toned tweeds with applique are huge for FW17 too and my hero piece is a simple long line tweed overcoat that will bring your Winter wardrobe bang up to date for around £80.

Basically power dressing is about confidence and what makes you feel powerful as a woman.  Whether it’s a slogan tee that shows the world you wear your feelings on your chest, or a pant suit and stilettos, if you know your own power pieces then get out there and work them.  If you’re still discovering your power dressing style then it might just be time to take a class….

Pixie xo

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