Our evening started in one of the centres largest and most established,stores, House Of Fraser. I'm going to be honest, the store hasn't been looking it's best lately but there is a very good reason for that -House Of Fraser is currently undergoing a multi million pound refurbishment and expansion that is set to be completed on the 12th November 2015. House Of Fraser kindly invited a group of North East bloggers into store to have a sneaky peek of what customers can expect to see when the renovations are complete.
Steve Clarke - Store Manager
We were met with glasses of bubbly,and canapes courtesy of the stores new Mediterranean inspired restaurant Cafe Botanico before listening to a brief talk from store manager Steve Clark about what shoppers in the North East can look forward to.
The answer is a lot, as well as having a major refurbishment and face lift the store has also expanded out of into the mall so there is now a much bigger store to explore. Customers will see the biggest changes in the new improved, and revamped beauty hall. As well as improvements and expansions to current counters, there are several new and exciting beauty brands coming to House Of Fraser Metrocentre including Giorgio Armani, Jo Malone, NARS, Tom Ford, Urban Decay and Kiehls.
The beauty hall expansion also means an increase in pampering options - We had a tour of the new improved, and expanded treatment rooms where you will be able to have beauty and spa treatments from the like of Decelor. The store will also be offering a brow shaping service, a Nails Inc nail bar, the new Estee Lauder 10 minute beauty bar and blow drys from the amazing Show Beauty - I hadn't heard of Show Beauty till Wednesday but I think this brand will become a new, if pricey obsession.
It isn't all about the beauty though, the new revamped fashion and accessories section, will contains all the brands we know and love with a few high profile additions, mainly Michael Kors clothing, accessories, jewellery and watches, German brand Hallhuber, Whistles, and Lauren By Ralph Lauren. The shoe department is also getting a makeover and the first floor will be the home of the new World Of Shoes concept.
All of the staff were so enthusiastic about the refurbishment and the new brands that it was impossible not to feel their excitement. I personally can't wait for the relaunch and to see the results of the money that's been spent and the obvious hard work that's taken place.
After a little look around the store it was time for the bloggers to move on and to take our VIP FROW seats in Town Square for the start of our exclusive preview of Intu Metrocentre Fashion Live Autumn / Winter 2015. The theme of this seasons show is a new leaf and as well as making you think about falling leaves, it's all about changing for the seasons and trying something new.
Our host for the evening was Heart North East's Breakfast Show presenter Kelly Scott, who was clad a beautiful fringed kimono style dress courtesy of Biba at House Of Fraser. She introduced an array of beautiful male and female models bedecked in new season fashions from some of the centre's top stores.
House Of Fraser
I admit I'm no runway photographer but hopefully you can see that there were a wide variety of looks and trends on show, from party dresses, to knitwear, faux fur at Dorothy Perkins, and Simply Be, to faux leather and 70's styling, to warm and cosy Canada Goose jackets from Tessuti. I was pleased to see some plus size brands and models this time round but if these brands don't appeal get yourself down to Intu Metrocentre Fashion Live before Sunday to see some more catwalk shows showcasing some more of the centres brands including French Connection, Yours and Boux Avenue.
The theme of this seasons event is a New Leaf and that's something that was reflected in one of the gifts that we given for attending. This gorgeous magenta, purple, leaf designed, limited edition, fabric bag is designed by Celia Birtwell. Swooooooon I'm a huge, huge fan of Celia Birtwell - If you don't know who she is shame on you! She was the print and pattern designer, and wife of cult, 60's designer Ossie Clark. Famous for her intricate florals, and bold romantic prints Birtwell went onto design several exclusive collections for Top Shop and more recently she's worked with the Valentino - I love her work and I'm so pleased with my bag x These bags aren't for sale but subject to stock,if you spend £50 or more on Intu Gift Cards before 31st October, you'll get one for free x
As well as the lovely bag we also got two very generous goodie bags courtesy of House Of Fraser full of samples and full sizes from brands including Creme De La Mer, Molton Brown, Marc Jacobs, Rituals, Decleor, Clarins, Origins, Aveda, Show Beauty and much more. I will of course be reviewing some of these bits in due course, so make sure you're following especially if you're interested in hair products, that even after a few uses seems to tick all of the boxes.
I want to say a huge, huge thank you to both Intu Metrocentre and House Of Fraser for the invitation, I had a great time, I learnt a lot, and as someone from the North East, we have a lot to be proud of and a lot to look forward to when it comes to fashion and beauty.