19 Sep 2013

Vogue loves MCR

London Fashion Week. 

We'll never tire of hearing those three little words.
A biannual event that really, if you're reading this - a fashion blog - should already be well and truly noted within your calendar. It's the four days (rather than the suggested week) whereby everyone suffers from a case of obsessive compulsive fashion disorder. Runway shows aplenty; the world has been shown what it'll be wearing ahead of Spring/Summer 2014 and it's clean, white, minimal and... white.

But hold on, why should it be London who always get to have the fun?

There's that age old question that escapes the lips of almost every British citizen residing within a postcode north, and perhaps slightly to the west, of the capital. Don't get us wrong, we adore visits to the big city with it's Big Ben and even bigger Topshop, but we just can't justify how one place that doesn't even like gravy, can continue to host all of the major fashion events.

Vogue, it would appear, have been channeling in on a similar brainwave.

In just less than a month, the Vogue team will be swapping London's Hackney cabs for the cobbled streets of Manchester, as the city takes the role of honorable host for the Vogue Fashion Night Out; a chance for the creme dela creme of shops, galleries, restaurants and museums to show London just what us northerners are made of.
"Manchester's importance to fashion is unquestionable. Bringing Fashion's Night Out to its streets is the next logical step in the evolution of Fashion's Night Out in the UK. London has witnessed tens of thousands of shoppers joining the fun and we're looking forward to sharing this experience with a new audience."
Alexandra Shulman | Editor | Vogue

Shining the style spotlight right where it's wanted; an abundance of names have already been added to the list of participants who will be setting out to make the evening a hit, including that of Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and The Avenue's Mulberry. 

We knew there was another reason to love Autumn and it wasn't just about being able to wear our big coats.

Thursday 10th October - Save the date and we'll see you up north.

| Image | Getty Images |

11 Sep 2013


Hours in the day. There are just never enough of them.

To us nowadays it seems to have become a lifetime ago that we were relishing in the bliss of those absurdly late nights along with their accompanying absurdly late mornings, and on a few occasions, giving a well deserved warm welcome, to the three day long weekend.
Since our minor blogging hiatus from mid-August till, well, today; believe us, a few weeks away from posting articles translates to a very, very long time; we've been fully engaged with other priorities, time-consuming yet, rather exciting to say the least.

Call us cliché but it is true to say, there is simply no rest for the wicked, that is, unless you receive an invite to the opening of a new store and the last one we attended, we thought, was worth the shout.

| Madison Candy Time watch in Creme |

It's common knowledge that Manchester's Northern Quarter is an area of the city which withholds it's reputation for surprising even the most familiar of people with hidden treasures; it's most recent contribution calls itself The Watch Stop.
A comfortable sized store sitting at the Great Ancoats end of Tib Street; their serene atmosphere and swanky interior complements the in-house brands on display, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Casio to name a few; granting us a more relaxed feel on entering, akin to that of it's neighbouring NQ retailers.

Music sounding and canapes on arrival; tempting us throughout the evening with miniature falafel burgers (Verity...) is always a greatly recieved perk of the job, as well as the limitless cocktails, but the cherry on top of these guy's generosity came in the form of a courtesy wrist watch. Minimalist girls at heart, after our introduction to the Madison made Candy Time watches, we settled on a nude or creme shade and it hasn't left our arms ever since.

Holding an extensive collection of these Manchester exclusives; we suggest you head over to The Watch Stop and have fun trying to choose yours.

| The Watch Stop | 75 Tib Street | Manchester |

16 Aug 2013

Venture beyond the realms of the common British high street and it's opulent counterpart; you'll be sure to discover a lavish offering of affordable, independent boutiques, bespoke designers and a drove of très, très talented fashion postgrads; each one as eager as the last, to dress us up and perhaps remove us, from the everyday drone of those claustrophobic shopping centres.

Well yes, alright, the high street isn't all bad, but when we unearth labels as good as MOXHAM, it's hard to draw our attention elsewhere. 

MOXHAM hales as the creative brainchild of London-based visionary, Madeleine Moxham; an accomplished accessory and jewellery designer, who turned her attention to accessory design during her Masters, subsequent to working and training alongside names such as Aquascutum and Felder Felder. 

A career path definitely well chosen; each collection accommodates pieces which are as unique and beautifully crafted as the next; always seemingly turning an otherwise plain look into something contemporary and effortless, a clear representation of the modern woman. 

| Verity's selection | MOXHAM ANIBUS [Nude] |

| Scarlett's selection | MOXHAM KRUGER |

Heavy, mechanical yet wearable constructions have been crafted to fit together well with liquid silhouettes and minimal tailoring, consistently utilising the accessory as the focus of each ensemble; the crowning point of any outfit. With transitions from day to night simple; accents of gold, white and onyx decorate divaricated shapes, a look we can only describe as industrial minimalism.
The designs utter the thoughts of the brand's outlook - 'shunning the generic in favour of the oversized', because let's face it, individuality is always to be desired. 

Already with a cult blogger and industry following; news of an A/W 13 collaboration with chic label Three Floor on the cards, means that we are expecting to see the designer hold nothing back when creating her best collection to date.

| Follow MOXHAM | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |

14 Aug 2013

close up: CARA PEENEY

Step aside Delevingne; the only Cara whose captured our interest of late, is that of fashion photographer and girl about town, Cara Peeney.

Fresh out of university and ready to dive straight into the competitive waters of the fashion industry; we invited Cara to talk with us about her time at the Vogue office, what makes a winning photograph and life under the showery skies of Manchester.

Just call me... Cara

Right now home is... Manchester, soon to be Italy but always Widnes.

Growing up I dreamt of becoming... an archeologist, a card shop owner and a poet among many, many other things.

Professionally, now I... am in visual communication, as well as a freelance photography.

The first photo I remember taking was... I think it was of my little sister many moons ago. My nan had some old point and shoot film cameras and I had draped some sheets for a backdrop, then wrapped some around her like a little nymph; I had thought. I remember being so excited to see my masterpiece when my nan got the film developed. It really wasn't what I had envisioned but I still thought it was cool.
 I still love that feeling of anticipation with film, and my sister is still my muse.

My decision to become a photographer... never really happened. I just went with my gut.

What makes a good photo... is a personal connection. For me I connect with a lot of imagined nostalgia. Images that stir me capture stolen moments.

The worst shoot I've ever worked on... I've been lucky so far, no horror stories. My worst was probably a self-portrait a few years ago. Underwater shoot plus white sheets and a self-timer.. cue tangled limbs and near death drowning experience, but some FUNNY photos.

Mistakes I've made overtime... so many, but mistakes are good. I learnt how to shoot analogue film through mistake after mistake and many blank film rolls. Comparing my work to that of my peers, if your work is sincere and personal, it shouldn't look like anyone elses. Stressing myself out. Over-thinking hinders the creative process, sometimes I have to tell myself to relax!

Some of the clients I've worked alongside include... I have acted as assistant to Karen Langley, the fashion editor at Dazed & Confused, as well as an internship within the art department at Vogue. Both incredible experiences and opportunities.

I've just graduated from... Salford Uni, with a fashion BA (Hons) degree in Fashion Styling and Image Making. The course was all about what you as a creative want to say... so go say it! 
An extract from a letter my tutor wrote to our group says it all really.
(I keep it on my wall)
"Misssss you all forever but you're now out there rockin' the world for the better n it makes me feel good just knowin' that, so go watcha waitin' for, goooo do it for real, it's no longer a project, it's life. So gooo experience and influence and take over the world. Love u all, always remember, love is the answer x"
In the upcoming months I'll be... moving to Italy. Working with the visual communication team for Marina Rinaldi. I have two weeks to pack up my life. 

Friends and family would say I'm... "financial retarded" and "an idealist" - My parents.
"Large eyeballs" - My boyfriend, Danny.
"Like a talking golden Labrador" - My friend, Emma.

My style influences include... French women. I always get excited for A/W, hello Stella M and Dries van Noten collections. Phoebe Philo always gets it right for me too.

At home I enjoy... relaxing! Mostly I can be found horizontal in my pyjamas watching a film. I love to cook and read, do yoga at least once a day and I'm teaching myself Italian. Please tutor me Verity...

  But when I'm out and about you'll find me... in a bottle of gin.

My advice to any budding photographers is... a little self belief and a lot of coffee will get you there.

This has been... molto bene, grazie.


| Images c/o cara-peeney.blogspot.co.uk |

30 Jul 2013


| Scarlett | Vintage Christian Dior sunglasses by Retrosun | 

| Verity | Vintage Persol sunglasses by Retrosun |

| Scarlett | Vintage Gianfranco Ferre sunglasses by Retrosun | Silk pyjama jacket Topshop Boutique | Turtleneck crop top American Apparel | Silk blue skirt Topshop Boutique | Studded high heel sandals Topshop |

| Verity | Vintage Paloma Picasso sunglasses by Retrosun | Silk jacket Topshop | Shirt Topshop | Skirt Queen Khan | Bracelet Moth | Vintage rings | 

| Scarlett | Vintage Nina Ricci sunglasses by Retrosun |

| Verity | Vintage Missoni sunglasses by Retrosun |

At the risk of sounding redundant; here in the UK, sunglasses are no longer a necessity when it comes to serving their initial purpose, [were they ever?], but to act as a statement piece in any style conscious's wardrobe.
 Suddenly it's become socially acceptable to don your sunny-g's come rain or shine, with people opting to wear them season after season, even, dare we suggest, indoors.

Whether you see yourself as a veteran of the 1950's cat-eye calibre, or a slave to the bug-eyed lenses from way back; there's a pair out there for everyone, it's just finding them that renders most of us vulnerable, to the ever challenging task of shopping for sunglasses.

Retrosun are a brand whose aim it is to source out and style us in the most desired vintage, designer sunglasses available; from Dior to YSL, and still in pristine condition, our eyes have never looked so good.

They're even offering you the reader an additional 30% off when you enter the code OCEXC30 at the checkout.

Treat yourself.

www.retrosun.co.uk |

16 Jul 2013

American Apparel.

| Scarlett | Halter Leotard c/o American Apparel | Wide-legged Pleat Chiffon Pant [port] c/o American Apparel |

| Verity | Plaid Chiffon Oversized button up American Apparel | Wide-legged Pleat Chiffon Pant [port] c/o American Apparel |

| Scarlett | Ponte Gloria V skater Dress c/o American Apparel | Fisherman's Pullover [dark grey + primary flecks] American Apparel |

| Verity | Fisherman's pullover [natural] | High waist jean cuff short [dark wash] c/o American Apparel | Unisex leather belt [bright red/gold] American Apparel | 

When a parcel arrives at your door decorated in the unmistakable 'city print' of American Apparel, you're bound to get a little excited.
Containing a bountiful offering of some of AA's signature pieces, including cotton soft denim, plunging mesh necklines and those lustful wide-legged chiffon trousers; we think we'll have some trouble deciding who's wearing what and when.

 A little generosity certainly does go a long way.

| Photographer | Sophie Allen |

11 Jul 2013

the xx

In no way, shape or form would we consider ourselves to be connoisseurs of music.
Quite often you'll find that whatever Verity has listened to, Scarlett has not, and whatever Verity does listen to, it's usually the same thing for days on end until it becomes monotonous. Cyril Hahn?

That doesn't mean to say we don't have an admirable degree of taste when it comes to music; we are actually in agreement on most things. Hence the reason why, when Verity scored tickets to see The xx at the Ritz on Tuesday night, we mutually agreed to share the event with you.

Verity: "I've not been on vacation for a while, but I still remember what it feels like to step off an economy flight into an invisible wall of sweltering heat; which is exactly the sensation I felt walking into the Ritz. Straight to the bar, it would seem that tap water has never tasted so good. Considering this gig to be one of the most stationary I have ever been to, I did emerge at the end - what's the polite term for dripping in sweat - perspirationally-challenged?

 However, back to the point in question, The xx.
Currently taking up residency in Manchester; the trio are here as part of the first ever Manchester International Festival; playing a series of intimate shows to a crowd of up to no more than 60 people, as well as a more commercial show, for those unfortunate enough not to lay their hands on those tickets, namely moi.

Every component of that show however, no matter how minor, made the entire experience feel intimately enticing. From Oliver Sim's caramel coated, sultry vocals and perfectly choreographed sways with his bass guitar, to Romy Madley Croft's genuine and emotionally adorned lyrical declarations; every bit of eye contact between themselves, at times, felt incredibly personal. As though we were intruders, observing what should have been a seemingly private love affair and thereafter break up. If that is how the atmosphere hangs in a room filled with over 250 people, then I can only begin to imagine what those 60 must encounter.

With a setlist of songs about heartbreak; the music switched from sinister to beautiful to despairing, a melting pot of melodious emotions, which captivated the audience, exactly the way in which they were intended. Even the visual displays prompted photo opportunity after photo opportunity; backed by elaborate, effulgent lighting, the threesome were often cast into a black shadow, perfectly timed to whatever sentiment filled the room. Genius also, the way in which they reworked some of their more popular material; at one point remixing 'Chained' with Artful Dodger's 'Movin' too fast'.

The way they individually and collectively perform with such ease and precision; even Jamie Smith (Jamie xx) with his swift exchanges over synths and percussion, prompts me to suggest that their live sounding and performance varies so little to their prerecorded work. Born theatrical performers, as well as immensely talented musicians.

With Jamie xx taking centre stage and showing just what he's capable of with a DJ set on Friday at Gorilla; if you haven't seen The xx yet, then at some point during the near future, please do"

[ Images c/o Anna Boulton | Lauren Kelly | Emily Bromley | Steven Stafford ]

29 Jun 2013


In 20 minutes time, I see myself...On the settee with a cup of tea.
During a photo shoot, I am usually thinking about...Lunch.
Manchester is...My home.
Female models are...Thick skinned.
My diet consists of...Whatever happens to be in the fridge.
I currently smell of...Morrisons own brand shaving foam. Classy.
I'm listening to...Marvin Gaye.
Growing up I wanted to be...The fella that digs up the road to fix the pipes.
I love a good...Butty.
Modeling has taken me to...Singapore, India, Milan, London, Hebden Bridge, Bolton and more.
I was scouted...Walking down the street in Manchester. Debbie Burns swung her car over, handed me a card and asked me if I wanted to be a model. I said why not.
My best side is...Both.
On a typical day I...Will wake up at least once.
My number is...Mine.

| Model | Jacob Crosby | Boss Model Management portfolio Storm portfolio |
| Photographers | Jeff Hahn | Barry Craske | Sarah Jones | Luke Elijah | Danny Jacobs | Callagahn Walsh | Emma Parry | Jeff Chang |

[ Images c/o Boss Model Management ]

23 Jun 2013

mka X Bik Bok

Shut. The. Front. Door.

No, your eyes do not deceive you. Those images are indeed a small sneak preview of the latest design collaboration between Norwegian retailer Bik Bok and style icons, the Olsen twins. 
Taking inspiration from the Scandinavian 'It girl'; this coming autumn, Mary-Kate and Ashley will be launching not one but three collections for the Nordic brand.

 With such a strong awareness of style and unique taste, from what we can see, the collections will be a sure hit. Think Mary-Kate's bohemian spirit juxtaposed with Ashley's more formal attire, pieces will range from melt in the mouth leathers, angora knits, woolen jackets, superfine jersey and stacks of jewellery; a far cry from any form of 'homeless chic'.

Now, all that's left is to figure out how to get our hands on it.

17 Jun 2013

art etc.

Define art.

In some opinions, it's a form of communicating to an audience who are needy for visual stimulants; an expression of an individual, who in turn presents an interest for other individuals.
In others, it's simply picking up a worn out paintbrush, mixing five colours together to create an unusual shade of brown and creating a GCSE masterpiece.

Any presumptions we had on the subject were realised last week, when we attended the opening night for the Manchester Metropolitan University's School of Art degree show. 

With degree show season in full swing; the MMU night has always been a keen favourite for attendees. A chance to mingle with dynamic and imaginative minded grads and a few art connoisseurs, whilst also uncovering that thing we love the most; hidden talent. Sipping on one (or more) of the generously offered drinks too goes down quite well, but that's besides the point. 

The wealth of disciplines exhibiting is enough to catch the interest of any individual. From having your saliva tested for it's Ph balance within Interactive Arts, to observing a couple of swings motioning themselves in Sculpture, you either 'get it' or you don't, neither really matters.
There are the more distinguishable disciplines, such as painting and print, but with so much obscure creativity hanging around you'd forgive us for mistaking a fire exit as one of the exhibits.

When we got to the point where we thought Verity had had a bit too much white wine with orange; don't knock it, it's actually quite nice; we decided we'd destine into the new Art school building, housing presentations from specialists within fashion, including embroidery and textiles. If you were paying attention to Graduate Fashion Week at the start of the month, you'd be as eager as us to get a first hand look at some of the collections displayed in house, including that of Robert Mills.

The night proved to be a success not only for the exhibiting graduates but also us. We happened upon a number of innovative designers, presenting creations we found both aesthetically appealing and quite simply stylish, a selection of which we will be featuring here on Otterly Charming. With three dimensional design pieces, or jewellery, that promote individuality and prints that we can envisage at LFW; be sure to keep an eye out on any upcoming posts involving these talents.

The exhibit will continue to be on show to the public until the 19th of June, so make sure you feed your creative sides and go view it.