Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Chester: Retail At Its Best

Growing up, Chester was my nearest city, and once a month or so I popped in for a quick shop. It wasn't as thrilling as going into Manchester, the big city of shining lights - or that's how I saw it, with its enormous Topshop and the wonder that is Afflecks Palace. I took Chester for granted, I think, and kept my blinkers on as I popped in to pick up an essential.

Today I visited Chester for the first time in over a year and saw it with fresh eyes. Whether it was because the sun was shining brightly (at last! Hoorah) or that the city really has changed, I walked around in wonderment, scooting up and down the steps of the historic Rows and rattling over the cobbles. The city centre was bustling with activity, with independent boutiques nestled happily between multis, and big-name retailers inhabiting beautiful Tudor buildings.

I spent a long time in Aliz Vintage, a store housing vintage Chanel and YSL pieces, along with fabulous lower-priced 1970s lurex dresses; two of which I tried on, one being too large, the other too small. Not my day! I was also treated to a tour of The ├ęditeur, complete with a cup of tea and a slice of hat designer Laura Apsit Livens's birthday cake.

One disappointing discovery was the rebranding of Browns department store: it has always been a Debenhams but had a strong personality of its own, too. Now it seems Debenhams have clumsily ripped down the Browns sign to make way for their own branding, taking a little bit of Chester's retail history along with it.


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How cute..!
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Have you ever seen such a beautiful Superdrug?
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Of course, I couldn't leave without taking a photo of the second most photographed clock in the world... especially so well contrasted against a brilliant blue sky!

I loved Chester's bustling mix of independent, British, and multinational retailers, all under wonderful 16th century rooves; perhaps Mary Queen of Shops should take a trip to Chester before she pronounces the Great British High Street dead and buried.

10 comments:

  1. I can't believe this but even after 4 years living in Manchester I still haven't visited Chester. It actually looks really pretty! What is it like for places to sit and eat? Day trip worthy?
    xxx

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  2. P.S. Love the blog redesign, it looks fab
    xxx

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  3. Ive not been to Chester for years, must go for the day this summer its such a great place!

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  4. Oh I haven't been to Chester in AGES which is sad really since its only a stone throw away from were I live.And a vintage designer shop?! Definitely going to have to pay a visit to Aliz Vintage!

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  5. Shame on Mary! I thought she was pro the Brisish fashion industry with her new line of lace knickers, what was the strap line, Love your country. Pretty cool words, but as ever you have to back them up,great post! Sharon xx

    www.mypassporttostyle.blogspot.com

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  6. Sorry about the typo, I meant British of course!

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  7. Chester always reminds me of my mum, we would alternate shopping trips between there and Liverpool but my best finds came from Chester's boutiques. It's such a pretty city, and so relaxing to wander around in :)

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