So let's get started! After battling with my hair for hours trying to get it into a doughnut ring, I was ready to head out and meet up with fellow blogger Vikki (at Victoria's Vintage). We strolled into the press office like we owned the place, despite feeling like total tourists... There was orange juice, biscuits, maps and free wifi available here (kind of made me wish I'd taken my laptop with me so I could do some on-the-job blogging, at least I know for next time!) The Clothes Show was selling a 'goodie bag' for £8 which I declined after realizing that all was included was a children's sized T-shirt, a map of the exhibition and a booklet of discounts. I would recommend buying this if you are with a child who's poured ice-cream all over its top and desperately needs a new T-shirt, have no sense of exploration and are prepared to spend enough money that it would justify an £8 spend on a bag of useless contents...
After declining to purchase this bag, me and Vikki headed into the chaos that is The Clothes Show. With over 500 stalls, it was definitely a challenge to tell the rubbish apart from the quality. And yet, I was able to find a handful of awesome stalls that made it all worth-while! My favorites were the Oxfam stall selling numerous vintage goodies including cameo jewelry, Christmas knit jumpers and 50's midi skirts (VERY on trend right now), Paperself false lashes and the Frost and Snow cupcake retailers.
As for beauty, there was a plethora of amazing brands selling fantastic goodie bags at discounted prices. The best deals in my opinion was the Barry M stall (my haul from Barry M can be seen HERE) and the Models Own stall (my Models Own haul is HERE). I also liked the look of the Bourjois, Rimmel and the benefit stalls although there didn't appear to be many good deals at these brands to me... I also loved the Carmex stall as it had a yellow taxi-cab as part of the decoration which I just thought was super-cool!
A handful of top magazines held host to a Clothes Show stall also, including the likes of Cosmopolitan, Company and Elle to name but a few. At these stalls you could purchase one of two mags for just £3 and included in the price was a goodie bag. However, I did find these goodie bags to be mildly disappointing so it's lucky I actually wanted to mags or I would have been gutted. The best goodie in any of these bags was a £20 off Kurt Geiger voucher given by Elle. However, I'm highly unlikely to purchase any shoes from Kurt for a while as I'm a skint student and even with £20 off, I still can't afford his beautiful shoes... Woe is me.
The fashion hall was quite disappointing to me. Although there were a few major brands such as David and Goliath, Superdry and Paul's Boutique. However, again, I'm too poor to buy things in these stores without planning for it beforehand, so I made it my challenge to find some cheaper more bargain-elicious brands which I failed at miserably. Most of the other stores had much of the same products as one another, in 'One Size Fits All'. This is NOT TRUE. You're telling me that my 34DD's are supposed to fit in a dress which is for all intents and purposes essentially a size 8? I'd like to see it. Are you a miracle worker??? I thought not. Furthermore, the prices weren't any cheaper than I could get on sale in the likes of New Look, H&M and Primark. Actually, speaking of Primark, Vikki actually spotted a dress which she knew to be currently on sale in Primark, for sale at The Clothes Show at it's original price with the Primark label cut out. It was at this stage I realized I was wasting my time in the fashion area and tried my luck with jewelry instead...
Again, there weren't many jewelry bargains and at one stage I found a long-chain brass necklace with a large clock pendant which was hanging from the £3 rack. Of course, once I took it to the till I found that it was actually £8. Despite being one of many hanging on that rack. RIP OFF. The sales assistant felt my wrath and I then stalked off.
Whilst I'm on the topic of hard-sell type techniques, I want to tell off naughty GLOSSYBOX. I've always been eager to try a GLOSSYBOX (a box filled with 5 'delux sample' sized beauty products, posted to your door for a price of £10 per month.) I actually didn't find their stall during my mooch around. However, my sister, who isn't even into beauty that much, did. She is 16 years old. Young and impressionable. Her and her two friends were pressured by the sales assistant into buying a GLOSSYBOX each for a bargain price of £5. This was the November box containing an Illamasqua mini Eau de Parfum in Freak, an Arbonne International Cooling Foot Cream, a bag of Dead Sea Spa Magik Bath Salts, a packet of Rock Cosmetics Nail Wraps in a zebra print, and finally a tube of Monu Revitalizing Moisturizer.
First off, I've only ever heard of one of these brands. Secondly, I don't like the idea of some sales assistant taking advantage of a group of young girls' inability to say, 'No' and capitalize on that by pressuring them to purchase. Thirdly, I will not be purchasing a GLOSSYBOX now, as I felt so bad for my sister that I ended up buying it from her and being equally as disappointed with the contents. Rant over.
After we'd mooched around all of the halls, it was time for the fashion show which was amazing. The theme was A Night in a Department Store, where the lights go down and the mannequins come to life. The female models were beautiful and the dancing was absolutely fascinating... I could have watched that show all day! However, I personally was there for the fashion, NOT for the naked men. I mean, I don't have a PROBLEM with inches and inches of toned, tanned male flesh, but I've never been the sort of girl to cry at the feet of a boy band, or stick up a copy of Mizz magazine's 'Sexy Shirtless Soap Stars' on my bedroom wall, or scream like I'm being stabbed at a fashion show, just because a group of guys have jumped into the audience. So I did find it quite off-putting that the male models seemed to be a major focus of the show. Especially when the production of the show, the fashion items modeled and the professionalism of the dancing would have sufficed perfectly well alone!
Whilst I loved the short but sweet presence of Grace Woodward, George Lamb, The Risk, Kimberly Wyatt and Jade Thompson I did find that the added Z-List celebs such as a bunch of the TOWIE crowd to lower the tone. They were on stage for a maximum of one minute, and may as well have not been there. It's because The Clothes Show Live needs to pay people like them that the price for a standard ticket is a whopping £27... I'd rather they weren't there and the price be £20.
The show included a ton of different scenes including women's wear, men's wear, street wear and more, but my favorite scenes were the lingerie scene and also the bridal scene. If this show is anything to go by, the two biggest trends in lingerie are total opposites; angelic, innocent virgin and bondage-inspired, fetishistic dominatrix. Sometimes at the same time! As for bridal wear, the looks I preferred were the floaty styles, reminiscent of ballet costumes, and also the more structured romantic mermaid-skirted gowns. Breathtaking.
Once the show had finished, I pretty much decided that I'd had enough and seen all there was to see... Plus, the show was so great that I wanted to end the day on a high note! My sister, her friends and I said goodbye to Vikki and headed off home.
My overall opinion of The Clothes Show Live is that it's a great place to go if you are planning on spending a lot of money on beauty products, are a big fan of fashion and love elaborate fashion shows, and have enough stamina to argue with rude shop assistants, hunt hard for a bargain and fight the crowds for the best deals. Personally, although I LOVED the fashion show, now I've been to The Clothes Show once I've decided that I don't think I would pay for it. This is only because I know that the main aim of it is to be able to shop a ton of great brands. As not many of the brands were to my taste, I know I would have a much more productive shopping trip in my local town center without having to pay an extra £27 for the privilege. I totally accept that this is a worthwhile event for most girls (and guys) out there, but it's simply my tastes which prevented me from seeing the value in buying a ticket.
On the contrary, I totally enjoyed covering the event as press and I would LOVE to be invited back next year as it's given me a ton of bloggable material. Thank you The Clothes Show Live, thank you very much :)
And as for my readers, have you been to The Clothes Show Live before? Were you there this time? What bargains did you find? I'd love to know, so please post a response in the comments below and I'll reply as soon as possible! Thanks for reading and for bearing with me whilst I was getting this review up... I just have so much to do!