FAULT reviews: Vogue’s Fashion Night Out in Manchester

For the first time in its four-year history, Vogue Fashion’s Night Out was held outside of London. The 2013 event, widely referred to by its hashtag #FNO, travelled north to Manchester, bringing with it some of the most influential figures from the world of fashion. British Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman, designer Matthew Williamson and Kate Phelan, creative director for both Topshop and Vogue, were just some of the members of sartorial royalty in attendance.


#FNO was born in New York in 2009 and has since been held in Paris, Berlin and Sydney, to name a few. The UK event, however, has always been confined to London, an obvious choice with its glitzy flagship stores and exclusive hangouts. Surprisingly, though, #FNO is not about exclusivity, nor is it merely a vehicle for the fashion elite to rub shoulders with each other while sipping expensive cocktails and telling each other how wonderful they are. Testament to this was a chilly October evening in Manchester, when magazine editors, designers and top stylists mingled with crowds of eager shoppers, happy to stop and talk or pose for photos.

In the Emporio Armani store in Manchester’s trendy Spinningfields, we chatted to British Vogue’s fashion editor Francesca Burns. “I helped curate the window display here, as well as choosing some editor’s picks,” she explains. “I’m really glad we brought this to Manchester; it’s a great city. Fashion shouldn’t be exclusive to London.” We tell her that Twitter is overflowing with Tweets from residents of other UK cities, asking when #FNO will be coming to them. “Yes, I think that’s a great idea,” she says. “I’d love to take this on tour.”

The Maccebbes prepare to DJ at Emporio Armai, Manchester, for Vogue's Fashion Night Out
The Maccebbes prepare to DJ at Emporio Armai, Manchester, for Vogue’s Fashion Night Out

Arielle Free, 4music presenter and DJ, agrees. “I love Manchester!” she says. “I actually think this is better than [the London event]. It’s great to see Manchester getting this kind of exposure and to see so many people shopping. Although I think the free booze probably has something to do with that!” Indeed. In Armani, a pop-up cocktail bar has amassed quite a queue, while waiters from hip restaurant Australasia are weaving through the crowds with trays of fresh sushi. The Maccabees were about to take to the decks, but we caught them for a swift chat before their set. It appears they were slightly immune to the excitement. Guitarist Felix White told us that they’re “just here to play some music for an hour or so.” This throwaway comment should not be mistaken for nonchalance, though – he and his fellow band members happily posed with shoppers wanting ‘selfies’ with the band.

Jameela Jamil DJing at Vogue's Fashion Night Out in Manchester
Jameela Jamil DJing at Vogue’s Fashion Night Out in Manchester

On the way round to Selfridges to catch Jameela Jamil’s DJ set,we came across Rosie Blake, the blogger behind Rosie Glow and social media assistant at Boohoo.com. “I think this is great for the city,” she concedes. “Everything seems to be based in London, which is irritating for someone like me as a blogger, who doesn’t live there. It’s great to see a big event somewhere else.” And what does she think Manchester’s general consensus is? “To be honest I was worried this might bomb, because it’s the first time anything like this has been held here,” she says. “But it’s gone amazingly. So many people are out shopping, and there’s even a crowd doing the Harlem Shake outside Selfridges…I’m not sure why!” Ah, the perils of free alcohol.

sushi (Medium)
(The food was pretty good too…)

The after party at Malmaison was open to all attendees of the event, with not a guest list or door policy in sight. We spotted Matthew Williamson sporting a navy crushed-velvet blazer while throwing some serious shapes in the bar and asked him if he had anything to say about the night’s events. “I’ve had the time of my life,” he gushes, before twirling off into the night with his entourage. Personally, we think he spoke for everyone in attendance. The verdict on Manchester’s first #FNO? A resounding success.

Words and images by Thea de Gallier