Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Versace H&M Launch - A Man on a mission

Words Ryan Martin. 

Last November I was in London, the city that I love for all things fashion. Walking down Oxford Street, I see every H&M store that I pass had been taken over with shoppers fuelled with pandemonium. Well, more than normal anyway. I knew this road was the capital for high street, but something else was causing this chaotic affair. As I got closer towards the shop, I realised I was here the same day that Lanvin had launched his one-off collection for H&M. With the exciting serendipity I had to go in to witness the clothes and hopefully get a buy. However, by now it was late mid-day so most of it had gone and I wasn’t going to waste £49.99 on a pair of patent leather shoes one size too big because it was the closest thing that I liked and would fit me. So I walked away, yet still happy I was there at the same time.

(Oxford Station, London)

So now we’re in the present and I read a few months ago that Versace will be doing a collection for H&M…….my Google box has never been used so much for one subject. I searched for everything and anything I could find on the topic. As the days went by and my healthy interest turned more into an addiction, I find any photo to do with the collaboration or any recent article that had the word Donatella in. Obviously more of the women’s wear was being released, so trying to find menswear pieces hopefully to own was pretty hard. However out of the blue, fashionologie.com had uploaded the entire lookbook. I straight away decided, I wanted everything.

(Covent Garden, London)

H&M finally put a page up and I researched the stores that will stock, prices and rules. Rules being stated to control the commotion of last year. Going through it all to make sure I know what time I need to be setting up my tent outside the shop but then finding out menswear shoppers wont have to queue. Mixed feeling about this news, happy because no need to catch pneumonia by lining up in the cold all night but I don’t see how this is going to stop a testosterone fuelled rampage ending with me punching another lad out if he takes the silver studded shirt and matching belt I have my eye on.

(Oxford Street H&M stores window display)

Crashing down in London town the night before and walking around Regent Street to find somewhere to eat as well as killing time. To my amazement, people are already pulling out deck chairs to line up. This convinced me that I really need to be on top form if I am going to have a chance of getting everything at all.

(Oxford Street H&M store)

And finally the day had arrived. One speedy shower and no breakfast I checked out of my hotel, the quickest I have ever checked out before, and head straight for the underground. Immediately looking around on the platform to see if anyone else looks like they could be going to the same place. Getting off at Piccadilly Circus to walk up and see how long the line is, I was getting happier and happier by the lack of people there. That is, until I see a line the length of the Mersey tunnel go round the corner of the H&M flagship store. The reason being that Donatella Versace herself was opening the store.
So the decision to make, was either stay here with the more than likely fact I am not getting anything I hoped just to get a view of the Italian blonde bombshell or walk a few more yards to the other H&M and actually have a chance to buy some clothes, which was the main reason for this trip. I picked the second option and to my luck it looked like they had just opened the doors. I went up the escalator to a hectic menswear department complete with Versace poster and stressed staff. Jumping right into the crowd looking for the sizes and accessories that I needed, following around staff that had arms filled with ready to hang clothing. As soon as they were on the rails, hands were coming from every direction, grasping onto hangers or tags to hold their stakes in getting what they wanted.
(Oxford Street H&M store)

Later on in the day looking into more H&M stores, I find that they had sold out of most items in the collection and all of my items I had bought. So after stepping into nearly every H&M in the city it was time to get off and head back to Liverpool. Still in my Versace mode I check the online store. Completely sold out. Then checking eBay. Already items up with bids almost double their original price.

Yes, high-end designers collaborating with high street do cause a riot, but it does give the chance to people who cannot afford that £2000 jacket and collectable piece. So it's no surprise that the hype over the next designer to work with H&M has already begun... Tom Ford you say? I will be lining up next week.

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Lantern Theatre continues to illuminate the Liverpool Theatre Scene.

The future of one of Liverpool’s most dynamic and vibrant theatres has been secured with the unveiling of ambitious new owners.
The Lantern, in Blundell Street, L1, has re-launched under new management. Inside Out Arts is a family run company who are committed to building on the vision of former owners.
In new proprietor, Margaret Connell, The Lantern is fortunate to have found someone who brings a wealth of experience in both the artistic and administrative sides of running theatrical productions.
Our main aim is to provide an affordable and welcoming alternative venue which will serve as a springboard for young performers.  We aim to deliver a broad programme including comedy, cabaret, music and burlesque, alongside an exciting and challenging theatre programme.  We've already had requests from two young companies in London to bring new work to The Lantern for the Spring season.
The new owners are delighted to confirm that Tiny Giants and the Lantern Theatre Company will continue at The Lantern as company in residence. The recent terrifying production of THE HAUNTING identifies the type of high quality theatre that will be staged.  Margaret is passionate about the performing Arts

I enjoy theatre that challenges but also resonates with an audience, good theatre should make you think and feel.   I love Sarah Kane and Edward Bond.  I love political theatre in the broadest sense; my own area is theatre for social change.  Augusto Boal, the late Brazilian Theatre Practitioner is my hero.  Ken Loach is another favourite.
One of my best theatre memories was Diana Rigg playing Medea at the Liverpool Playhouse nearly 20 years ago.  It was one of the most terrifying and moving productions I have ever seen.

An exciting season of productions demonstrates the commitment of the new management to continue the development of the theatre, as well as bringing new energy and commitment.  Theatre that is Challenging, Exciting and Honest.
“The Lantern has all the attributes a successful theatre needs, and brings a different dimension to the culture of the city.  Inside Out Arts plan to make this an essential part of the artistic diversity on offer in Liverpool. We’ll be making good use of the best talent around, on and off stage.”

Local Writer and Director  John Maguire is  thrilled that the space will continue to platform new work.
(Photo Matt Ford)

John directed GRIN PRODUCTIONS original play  MEXICO  by Wes Williams in July and will be returning to the space early 2012, staging  his piece BRUISE.
 The Lantern has a real bohemian charm, a spit and sawdust venue and I am delighted that BRUISE will be staged next year.
Bruise is an explosive piece of writing, exploring the destructive forces that compel two opposing characters to stay united in a complex, bitter, yet somewhere along the lines loving relationship. It illustrates the diverse ways one can be “bruised“, physically, psychologically, mentally and in a way that cannot be explained by mere language.
The Lantern is an ideal venue to stage this intimate and involved piece of theatre.

BRUISE will be staged 24th and 25th February 2012