Gentleman’s luxury style in Manchester
Part 2 of 2 reviews on Manchester
Read our previous feature Manchester Queen of The North
As a massive music fan I have been lucky to work with some great musical heroes, Morrissey being one of them who is definitely a style icon.
Anyone with a love for popular culture should watch ITV’s – Granadaland a fantastic epitaph after the famous old studios shut, to move to state of the art new premises. Global football would definitely not be the same without the major Manchester teams, and I speak as someone who is a supporter of another major club. Added to these cultural big hitters is the contribution from Manchester’s musicians and club scene.
Add all these together, and add the fact that quite rightly Manchester has a very proud identity and it is no surprise that fashion and style in the city is thriving.
On my recent trip, for my second night I was lucky enough to stay at The Lowry Hotel , a name very much associated due to a certain “matchstick and his men”.
Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out was launched for the first time in New York in 2009, by Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour to lift the sombre mood during the recession and jumpstart the retail economy. In 2012, over 70,000 people descended onto the streets of London to celebrate and shop during Fashion’s Night Out. Manchester city centre retailers prepared for one of their biggest nights of the year.
Many English men’s labels have been expanding and some old names reinvented so I thought it would be interesting to have a look at another major English city to see how Gentility is surviving there.
Checking into the beautiful Lowry Hotel, which overlooks the canal, I left my case and spoke to the concierge and my colleague about where I should wander to get a good flavour for the city
Walking through The Avenue, Spinningfields’ luxury retail quarter, anyone with a slightly jaded view of Manchester might be quite surprised. Its upmarket, future looking and forward thinking.
From there I walked past the city’s town hall. My personal view is I always feel Town Halls in northern cities are a real benchmark of civic pride.
past the Museum of Art ….and through Manchester’s China Town towards the part of the city known as The Northern Quarter
I dropped into a probably one of the smallest pubs I have ever been into, The Grey Horse Inn, to have a pint of Hydes. At this point I genuinely felt I was not in London. I say this as a lover of London, a city I love with a passion, as I adore places and people that have their identity. I sat down and chatted with a couple of locals. There was a relaxation, combined with being in a big city that seemed really spot on.
I had been advised to look around The Northern Quarter an area where creativity, youth, entrepreneurs and ideas meet. It was here I found a chap called James Darby of 40 Thomas Street. Apart from the fact I had been directed to the area I only came across James’s shop by the fact it just looked so original and full of passion. It looks like a tailor’s should. So I thought I would knock on his door, and the story just got better, from an outsider’s perspective he embodies that classic mix of music and football which is such a potent part of their music culture. He is self-taught and original and was sitting in the window with his sewing machine, and it was great to meet him and see him in action
From here I dropped into what I have nicknamed the the cool shop – Oi Polloi which to me has a very north American vibe, about it. If you have visited a snowboarding festival and also been to a cool bar in Norway I would say this is half way in-between.
Then for a moment I stepped into a little bit of organic cool, friendly, attractive, intelligent and arty ….“Home Sweet Home – Milk Bar & Kitchen”
For Londoners think a cross between Primrose Hill and Camden….
A wonderful hot chocolate and piece of cake was very much the order of the day.
Then for a free bit of pop nostalgia as the visually stunning buildings oozed passion and as a film producer one cannot stop but think of Joy Division, The Hacienda and the like and certainly I could have imaged them as a backdrop to a Stone Roses Album Cover
Walking back to the hotel I popped into this great GENTS shop called Doherty Evans & Stott at 64 Bridge Street. Well located and one of the central Gentlemans stores they seem genuinely passionate about their craft and indeed house a fantastic selection of original and upmarket clothing.
Time to head back and crash for a little while in the beautiful room, which really has an identity …… sunlight coming through the massive windows ……
A quiet nap, checked up on some e-mails then dressed for dinner.
I cannot quite put my finger on it but the design if very upmarket but informal. In one way the bar and restaurant area remind me of being by the sea or in a yacht. I think it’s the choice of wood and fabrics with the beautiful view.
So I sat down and had a beer and a chat and was then escorted in for Dinner
The restaurant and bar manager Huseyin Bozkurt really added to the experience as his welcome to the River Restaurant was both warm and informative.
Main Course: Goosenargh Duck Breast, Duck Crousillant , Medijool Dates and Soused Beetroot
Rioja Reserva Monte Real Bodegas Riojanas Spain 2006
Dessert: Elderflower panna cotta, raspberry jelly, lemon frangipane & raspberry sorbet
Maury Beaumes De Venise France 2010
Though Manchester has a huge amount of what looked like wonderful bars I then decided to get an early night.
So after a good sleep one of my favourite parts of staying in a good hotel is a full English breakfast. It was here with my mediaometer on I could see at least one famous face and a range of tables I think we’re looking very fashion, pr and media.
Like any Gent who takes wellbeing seriously I headed to their spa. Though relatively small my treatment room was a good size and my therapist excellent as she knew her subject and was not just reading from a book. I had a hot stone massage which was much needed as my muscles can tighten up a little, especially after a lot of walking.
A leisurely departure from my hotel, and a quick cab ride back to Manchester Piccadilly to get my Virgin 1st Class train back to London for a Chivas/Saville Row event.