MCR Fashion Festival returned to The Midland Hotel, bringing an touch of glamour and enchantment. A sparkling celebration of Manchester’s artistic and stylish credentials, the event brought the attention of our ever-growing fashion industry to the forefront. Hosted beautifully by Catherine Tyldesley, the charismatic former Coronation Street star, kicked the evening off with glamour and panache.
Some of the region’s most stellar names graced the red carpet in a succession of stunning couture, as the event theme was inspired by New York’s Met Gala Ball. A host of Coronation Street Stars, including Bhavna Limbachia, Victoria Ekanoye and Julia Goulding all allured in bespoke and opulent full-length gowns, designed by Manchester’s very own Zeynep Kartal. The Real Housewives of Cheshire star Christine McGuinness also had heads turning in her Zeynep creation; a decadent nude and white lace ballgown with intricate embroidery.
Also dazzling in full-length designs were Coronation Street’s Lucy Fallon in a chic, red number and Faye Brookes in a luminous silver sheath dress, slashed to the thigh. Meanwhile, Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson turned up looking rather dashing in three piece suit, arriving with his former co-star Gemma Merna in a blush sequinned piece.
Actress and fashion graduate Bhavna Limbachia wore a gorgeous emerald green gown from Zeynep Kartal. As an ambassador for the event and sponsored by Reviv Wellness, Bhavna said: “After the huge success of the first fashion festival, it made sense to come back even bigger and better. Everyone looks so fantastic tonight. There’s no right or wrong in fashion; it’s non-judgemental, and that’s how we are in the North.”
Guests enjoyed welcome drinks in the elegant reception area of The Midland Hotel, courtesy of sponsors Worsley Gin and Schweppes, before heading into the grand ballroom for an evening of fashion, dinner and entertainment.
Showcasing some of the world’s finest global designers to come out of Manchester, the festival also debuted some of our freshest arrivals to the scene. Throughout the evening, guests were treated to an exclusive flash of Manchester’s fashion scene, in a succession of catwalk shows.
With the help of the Prince’s Trust, fashion stylist Taheed Khan established Monokain in 2016. With a vision based on rebellion and independence, the brand brought lines of sustainable fashion to the event at MCR Fashion Festival. Heavily influenced by the Japanese street fashion of Harajuku, and combined with an 80’s New York influence, all styles were bespoke pieces, complete with hand painted touches and numbered individually.
The Couture Club was founded in 2015 by friends Ross Worswick and Scott Shashua. With a vision to design a style of clothing they were both passionate about, the pair created a global brand right out of Manchester. Hitting the catwalk with a line of premium street styles, The Couture Club showcased their fresh and vibrant menswear and womenswear ranges.
Established in 2016, Junq Couture is a stylistic, dynamic menswear brand, formed in the heart of Manchester. Using the latest technology, they create on-trend pieces to last season after season, so that both quality and longevity remain at the forefront. At MCR Fashion Festival, they displayed a range of pieces which take inspiration from global street style.
Nadine Merabi has travelled the world to source the highest quality and most wearable pieces, and on the night, revealed a collection of luxurious designs. Inspired by the Middle East and her own Lebanese roots, her styles focused on the best way to flatter a woman’s figure.
Boda Skins showcased a timeless range of luxury leather pieces on the evening. Founder and CEO Nathan believes that contemporary fashion can sometimes focus too much on the short-term. In reflection of this, he creates enduring styles which are ageless in style and focus.
Zeynep launched the Zeynep Kartal brand back in 2013, after more than twenty years of experience in the fashion industry. She has now made a splash in the celebrity-filled carpets, and at MCR Fashion Festival, she not only dressed a host of VIPs, but also wowed guests with her elegant silhouettes and modern lines across the catwalk.
MCR Fashion Festival also provided compelling performances, with entertaining interludes from Mr Wilson’s Second Liners. Among other renditions, West End star and Coronation Street favourite Victoria Ekanoye gave a magical live interpretation of ‘Fever’. Britain’s Got Talent dancers, Rise also gave an moving act, raising awareness for the ongoing support needed in the aftermath of the Manchester Terror Attack. A headline performance from Manchester-born Blue star Simon Webbe got the whole crowd dancing, as he brought throw-back tunes such as ‘All Rise’. With guests well and truly warmed up, E.M.A DJ had everyone join her on stage to fill the rest of the evening with disco music and dance moves.
The fabulous team from Manchester beauty destination House of Evelyn were the creators of hair and make-up for the models and catwalk shows.
Organised by the inspirational duo behind Real PR, entrepreneurs Laura Stubbs and Lisa Forshaw brought MCR Fashion Festival to the city once again, based on the successful launch of the event in February at Manchester Hall.
Laura and Lisa said, “We were inspired to organise the festival as we wanted to provide a platform for the various successful fashion houses that have come out of Manchester, and to celebrate and showcase their brands and collections in their home city.” With the ambition to commend how the textile industry in Manchester has evolved from the historic cotton mills of the Industrial Revolution, to producing modern day global fashion designers, such as Vivienne Westwood, Matthew Williamson, Boda Skins, Native Youth… and many more, MCR Fashion Festival is an event to be celebrated in its own right, as the people of the city come together to praise our proud and established heritage.