Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Intu Metrocentre A/W 2017 Style Event - Power Dresssing, Pizza And Printing*

Now as much as I love and appreciate every blog event that I get invited to, I always feel an extra surge of excitement when an invitation pops into my inbox from the fabulous team at Intu Metrocentre. I've been to quite a few of their events over the years, and I always feel blessed to work with such an amazing brand. Their events have ranged from the traditional fashion show, to more intimate beauty, fashion and lifestyle showcases. Whatever format they take though, they are always lots of fun and I always seem to learn a lot, be it about beauty brands, or fashion styling tips. A week or so ago now I headed down to Intu Metrocentre for their Autumn / Winter 2017 blog event which took both the educational and fun factors to the next level.



The event took place on the upper floor of Zizzi, which is an Italian chain restaurant situated on the second floor in the Garden Walk area of the centre, close to the cinema and perfect for a pre or post movie bite to eat.


Although it wasn't the main focus of the night, us bloggers like a feed and Zizzi delivered with trays of appetisers including olives, arancini, dips, salads, crudities and mini kebabs. We also had the chance to try out some of their rustic pizzas, and also some of their vegan pizza and garlic bread offerings. I didn't realise that Zizzi offered both a full vegan and gluten free menu so that's a thumbs up in my eyes and I'll definitely be back for a pizza and garlic bread fix in the future.


With a backdrop of food, nibbles and mocktails the stage was set for an evening of fun and education. While half the room was set up with tables, goodie bags, nibbles, clothes rails, accessories, an overhead projector, and subdued lighting, the other side of the room was set up with lots of light and tables full of goodies to explore and play with.


On the night we were lucky enough to have the ladies from The Crafthood with us to help us bring out our crafty sides. The Crafthood is a North East based company run by two lovely ladies Sharon and Kay, who specialise in making bespoke hand lettered pieces for weddings and so on, and other handcrafted and hand designed items. They also run crafting workshops across the North East teaching everything from brush lettering, and calligraphy, to block printing, Christmas crafting and candle making.


I love crafting but in all honesty I'm just not that artistic or dare it say it talented. If you've been reading my blog for a long time you'll know that from time to time, I do indulge in a little bit of paper crafting. When I have the time and the energy I love making my own greetings cards, and I also enjoy scrap booking, and I'm particularly proud of my NYC scrapbook. When it comes to anything with thread, sewing or fabric though it's a different matter entirely. I've never been any good it and my dragon like school textile teacher pretty much put me off for life and destroyed every ounce of confidence that I ever had in my own abilities with needle and thread.


You shouldn't let a lack of ability or talent get in the way of trying new things and having fun though, crafting is all about having fun at the end of the day and when I found out that we were going to be making things and getting our craft on I couldn't wait to get started.


Our task was a relatively simple one, we were going to decorate our own fabric pouches / cosmetic bags with simple block printing. I have a bit of experience with stamping on paper and of course I'd used a potato to print designs before but printing on fabric was something completely new to me, - all I'll say is thank goodness for the practise fabric!


The idea was that we created an on trend monogram, initial style design, which sounded easy enough but it wasn't quite as easy in the flesh, and one little error in my eyes lead to a complete change in direction from the simple, Gucci esq monogram design that I'd planned in my head, to an eclectic star and star burst design.


It may not have gone to plan but it's an original and nobody else will have one that looks like mine :) It may not be perfect but it's mine and I had a lot of fun creating it. The two ladies from The Crafthood were incredibly helpful, walking around and offering suggestions and advice, and in particular helping us bloggers make our tassel's - as I said I shouldn't be left alone with thread as the residue in the picture probably shows! I really enjoyed the session with the ladies and I'm really hoping that this experience will help reignite my crafty side! You can find out more about The Crafthood on their official website.


As well as our session with The Crafthood, the Intu Metrocentre team had also arranged a speaker for us for the evening. Our speaker for the night was Meridith Towne, a bespoke dressmaker and costume historian. whose speciality is women's history through fashion - The topic she spoke to us about was Women In Power and The Art Of Power Dressing.


How can I summarise such a fascinating and in depth talk in a few lines, I don't think I can in all honesty, but her talk basically covered the history of powerful women and the role that clothing has played in both defining women and creating and defining their roles. She touched on so many things including how the definition of power dressing has changed over time, and how it changes in different countries and in different cultures, and on how social media can be used as both a force for change and as tool for enforcing ideas and ideals.


As well as using as overhead projector and a power point presentation (operated by her lovely mum), Meridith also illustrated her points with clothing, costumes, fabric and accessories from her own collection including a beautiful Victorian gown, 80's suiting, pussy bow blouses, and beautiful hats and African tribal style prints.


She also illustrated some of her points with clothing and accessory pieces from some of the many fashion stores that Intu Metrocentre has to offer, including Top Shop, Aspinal, Accessorize, and House Of Fraser. There was so many beautiful pieces on the rail that perfectly illustrated the concept of modern power dressing and how things come back into fashion. The rail and the bags were particularly lust worthy and I couldn't help but fall in love with the ISSA Maisie Printed Jumpsuit, that Meridith used to illustrate her point about prints - it has cats on it - what's not to love?



As someone who loves fashion and history, and who studied a lot of both gender and women's studies as part of both her BA (Hons) and MSc I found Meridith's talk both fascinating and eye opening - a lot of people think that fashion is just fun or frippery but it really does tell a story and it really can both make a statement and define you with just one glance.

If ever you get the chance to attend one of Meridith Towne's talks then I would fully recommend it. She's very knowledgeable and very passionate about the things that she talks about, and I definitely came away from her talk feeling as though that I had learnt something, and that I'd learnt something that can and will effect me in the future. You can find out more about Meridith and both her costume designer service and her talks via her own personal website.

It was another fantastic event from the team at Intu Metrocentre, and it was probably the most fun, the most tasty and the most educational one to date. I would like to thank, Zizzi, the ladies from The Crafthood, and Meridith Towne for a varied and enjoyable evening, and of course I'd like to thank the team at Intu Metrocentre and all of the stores that were involved in the event and that contributed to our super generous goodie bags. We were kindly gifted a French Connection Monogrammed Fabric Bag, which included a Hotel Chocolat The Yumpkin Milk Chocolate Pumpkin, a travel sized Aussie Shampoo, skincare samples from The Body Shop, skincare samples from Estee Lauder, and Elizabeth Arden, perfume samples from Valentino, and Dior, and make up samples from Benefit, Bare Minerals and Smashbox. We were also generously gifted some bits from Intu and a very generous discount card which I will definitely putting to good use.


Huge thanks again to Intu and if you have any questions on anything that we got up to, or if you want to tell me how wonderful my crafting attempt was ;) then please don't hesitate to leave me a comment below x

*Blog / Press Event

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