Global fashionistas crammed into a Manchester street

Celebrities, models and several hundred global fashionistas crammed into a Manchester street on Thursday as French luxury brand Chanel turned it into a catwalk for a prestigious fashion show.

Actors Kristen Stewart, Hugh Grant and Tilda Swinton were among the stars on Thomas Street in the city’s Northern Quarter, as was director Sofia Coppola.

Models including Manchester’s Karen Elson used the road as a catwalk, with its mixture of trendy bars and traditional shops providing the backdrop for the Metiers d’Art show.

The models and guests were protected from the pouring rain by a tall glass canopy that was erected over the road for the occasion.

Chanel was attracted by the city’s “creative energy” and musical history, director of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky said.

They opted for Manchester because “too many things happen in London and we wanted to be in the UK out of London”, he told BBC News.

“We decided to come to Manchester because it was the most inspiring for Virginie [Viard, creative director]. She was inspired by the music and art that she sees here in Manchester, and we’ve had a warm welcome.”

The show’s soundtrack included Manchester bands like The Fall and New Order – two of whose members were in attendance, along with local rappers Aitch and Bugzy Malone.

There were also two Gallagher brothers – not Oasis stars Liam and Noel, but Liam’s sons Gene and Lennon, as well as Noel’s daughter Anais.

Also among the 600 attendees were actors Jenna Coleman, Callum Scott Howells, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Lucy Boynton. Other guests ranged from author Jeanette Winterson to Olivia Attwood Dack from Love Island to Taiwanese actress Gwei Lun-mei and Japan’s Sakura Ando.

The stars soaked up the street’s combination of history and hipness, posing for photos in the doorway of the long-standing Clark Brothers – a retail supply shop that few people would have previously given a second glance – and outside the Bay Horse Tavern pub.

That was one of the street’s bars that Chanel took over for the night. For most of the previous two weeks, the pubs and shops were closed after the company moved in.

Chanel has compensated businesses on the street for closing but declined to say how much it had spent in the city.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Manchester’s cabinet member for culture, would not say how much the company had paid, but said it had “invested in the city” and that the event would help the local economy.

He said the show was “great for Manchester and is great for our ambition to be a global destination”, adding: “The fact that Chanel have chosen to come to Manchester demonstrates that we’re doing something right.”

Beforehand, a protester outside held a sign calling on the city council to “get your priorities sorted” – with the slogan: “Food or heat!! Not luxury goods.”

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