Last weekend was a HUGE weekend in Birmingham, with Grand Central finally open, arts festivals, the Rugby World Cup, and Style Birmingham Live - a fashion and shopping event with catwalks, goody bags, stylists and lashings of champagne. I've only ever known what it's like to live in major cities and these events just encompass how thriving Birmingham is, and how seriously we take shopping. It's not about browsing a store and coming away with a few shopping bags one weekend; it's about studying the runways, examining the trends marching past, pillaging the racks in the huge flagship-size stores, and wearing what represents you. There are so many different styles and cultures here that the vibe is all about striving for the best sense of your own style and shopping the newest items first, rather than jumping on bandwagon, diluted trends.
There are now five department stores in the city centre and numerous difference areas of the town that offer a different fashion landscape. I headed to the Gas Hall Gallery early on Saturday morning, literally battling through the crowds in New Street Station at the launch of Grand Central/John Lewis, and met up with a gaggle of fantastic local bloggers. I'm sure there's becoming a bit of a Birmingham blogger collective now and it's really lovely. We took our seats in front of the catwalk at the final forth row so we could stand up and take all of our annoying photos, and sweetheart Mark Wright presented a trend session with stylist Mark Heyes. I did look out for bae Michelle Keegan but no joy there.
It was a fabulous array of trends, looks, and gorgeous, unique models. Plus some seriously hot male models - I did actually spot my future husband. Seeing clothes move on real bodies and sachet down a catwalk live really does bring the trends to life, and we were taken through Red Hues, Haute Hippie, Urbanista, and many more. Such fun!
After that breathe of fresh fashion air, we hot-footed down to House of Fraser for a Bobbi Brown Backstage Beauty event. You know I love talking to professionals and soaking up their wisdom, so I was all ears for this masterclass. Amy Conway, Bobbi Brown Pro Artist for the UK & Ireland, talked us through her tips and talents on maximising your look with the latest Bobbi products. I just loved how she called the brand Bobbi! The latest Greige collection was the feature; a curated range of neutral grey and beige hues, with a stunning eye Greige Collection palette as the centrepiece and the Intense Pigment Liner to add intensity, coming in a compact rather than a stick. This comes in three shades of plum, midnight blue or forest green, each tailored to maximise different eye colours. It's so interesting to watch a demo and see the tips performed live in action. My favourite was 'If in doubt, sparkle it out!', meaning if your matte shades aren't blending out quite how you would like, add a touch of shimmer shadow and you'll soon be blended to perfection.
Most certainly a fabulous day! I then headed home for a dreaded driving lesson, where I ended up driving through town during this manic day, and that certainly was not fun. Still, it is an ultimate Saturday when it's filled with shopping, beauty and style!