Top 10 at 10! Time to Celebrate with Victoria Square!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Born to Shop. . . . . . .

What can I say, I love to shop! For me there is nothing I enjoy more than indulging in a little retail therapy in my favourite stores. Shopping shouldn’t be a chore, but rather an experience and an opportunity to discover new trends and products from the brands we love.

These days we tend to take for granted the belief that we can shop whatever we want, whenever we want it but that hasn’t always been the case. I remember the frustration when so many of the brands I loved were not available in Northern Ireland and the excitement I felt when Victoria Square opened in Belfast 10 years ago and brought with it brands such as Ted Baker, REISS and the Apple Store to name but a few.

For the first time in 2008 I now had access to brands that had been so elusive to me in the past and I remember how exciting it was to finally see these products in person! I remember vividly visiting CRUISE on Victoria Square’s opening day, enjoying glasses of bubbly and spending the afternoon trying on Jimmy Choo sandals and bags, as far as I was concerned I was in fashion heaven and more importantly I was blown away by the standard of customer service across all the stores of Victoria Square!

Photo Adrian Quinn.
You see that’s the thing about Victoria Square, it's so much more than just bricks and mortar, it’s the people who work in it that truly bring it to life. I remember how 10 years ago I attended a special “Friends and Family” Preview evening at House of Fraser, with my best friend David, not only did I get the opportunity to see the store before it opened to the general public, but it was the beginning of some amazing friendships too. From Danielle at Links of London to Maggie at my beloved Karen Millen concession I not only walked out of House of Fraser with fabulous purchases, but dear friendships too that have lasted far beyond their time working at HoF.

Photo Adrian Quinn.
That’s what makes Victoria Square so very special, from House of Fraser to Aspinal of London, Lunns The Jewellers to CRUISE their customer service is second to none, and for the first time I experienced what it was like to have long term, trusted relationships with Sales Associates. They took the time to get to know me and my tastes, they gave me honest advice when something didn’t suit me, or would source the perfect bag or cuff that I so desperately wanted to add to my collection. Victoria Square for me epitomises world class Customer Service and for this very reason it will always hold a special place in my heart! As they celebrate their 10th Anniversary this month I thought this would be THE perfect opportunity to look back at some of my many fabulous adventures at the Square!

So here it is, in no particular order my Top Ten at Ten!

Photo Adrian Quinn.
10. Personal shopping.
I love to build relationships with the stores I shop in and this moved a step further in 2011 when Victoria Square launched their Personal Styling service. From the comfort of their super chic personal styling suite, shoppers now had the opportunity to experience THE ultimate styling experience, picking up lots of styling tips and tricks from their In House Stylist. Over the years they have had 3 fantastic stylists (Judi Graham, Rebecca Mckinney and most recently Katherin Farries) and I have been privileged to become friends with them all. If you need a style overhaul or are looking for something special I cannot recommend Victoria Square's personal styling packages enough! (plus they’re great fun too!)

Getting feedback from Victoria Square's 1st Personal Stylist Judi Graham on this AMAZING Hervé Léger bandage dress.
(Photo Stephen Potter.)
My first meeting with Victoria Square's 2nd personal Stylist Rebecca McKinney at an event at Coast.
(Photo Stephen Potter).
Checking out some stylish fashion with current Personal Stylist Katherine Farries.
(Photo Darren Kidd PressEye.)
9. Appletiser StyleFix Fashion Show.
I was always a big fan of the Appletiser StyleFix Roadshow and I was so excited when it came to Victoria Square. I remember falling in love with a full length Hervé Léger gown and making a beeline to House of Fraser as I just had to have a pair leather shorts I spotted on the catwalk! This show also marks a special place in my heart as it became the subject of my first ever blog post (you can read the post HERE) and marks the beginning of my blogging career.

Photo Stephen Potter.
8. Meeting International Fashion Designer Amanda Wakeley!
As someone who is deeply passionate about high end designer fashion, it was amazing to have the opportunity to actually meet acclaimed fashion designer Amanda Wakeley at CRUISE when they hosted a special event showcasing her designs. Guests were also given a preview of some of her next season pieces straight from London Fashion Week. That evening I had the opportunity to try on one of her catwalk sample's from LFW (an amazing bias cut silk evening gown with Swarovski detailing) and chat with the lady herself! Such a down to earth and friendly woman I remember how excited I was when Amanda complimented me on my silk blouse, and how passionate she was about her work.

My Karen Millen outfit at the Amanda Wakeley event.
(Photo Stephen Potter)
7. CRUISE 30th Anniversary Party.
As you can probably tell CRUISE is one of my favourite stores, if you are a lover of high end fashion it is THE best place to shop designer pieces in Northern Ireland. I was privileged to not only attend their exclusive 30th Anniversary party in 2011 but I also featured in their Street Style shoot campaign by photographer Les Garçons de Glasgow which appeared throughout their UK stores to celebrate this milestone!

CRUISE 30th Anniversary Party.
(Photo Stephen Potter).
6. When VOGUE came to the Square!
Any fashionista would jump at the chance to attend a VOGUE party and in 2012 I had the opportunity to do just that when Victoria Square staged VOGUE’s Fashions Night Out! A strictly VIP only event, The Ivory hosted THE ultimate Fashion Party and just like those SATC gals we sipped on Cosmo’s and enjoyed an exclusive fashionshow showcasing the very best of Victoria Square’s fashion and up and coming local designers. It was such a memorable experience to sit FROW at such a stylish event!

Photo Kelvin Boyes PressEye.
5. Hosting the ManTime Catwalk Show at The Ivory Restaurant.
One of THE most stylish reataurant’s in the city, The Ivory located on the 3rd floor of House of Fraser was the venue for Northern Ireland’s first all male fashion show. As someone who was more used to sitting FROW it was such an eye opening experience to have the opportunity to host the show and work with some of my favourite stores on the project (CRUISE, House of Fraser, etc.) I truly loved every moment of it! I remember fondly partying into the wee small hours at the after party, it was definitely a night to remember!

Hosting ManTime Catwalk Show at The Ivory Restaurant.
(Photo Stephen Potter).
4. When FASHIONWEEK met Victoria Square.
My regular readers will know just how much of a die hard fan I am of West Coast Cooler Belfast FASHIONWEEK, and my all time favourite FASHIONWEEK show would be their underground Car Park shows at Victoria Square. FASHIONWEEK Director Cathy Martin was definitely ahead of her time when she chose to stage FASHIONWEEK at such an edgy and urban venue. The atmosphere was electric and I felt like it could have easily been a catwalk show at any one of the International Fashion Week's.

3. Afternoon Tea at the Square!
I have always loved how Victoria Square like to think outside the box and I remember how excited I was when a courier arrived at my door with my invitation to attend their Spring Fashion Tea event at the Square in 2014 (the invite was a vintage style china tea cup and cupcake!)) The perfect instagrammable event, Victoria Square was transformed into an English country garden complete with grass, white picket fences and fabulous fashion of course! I can think of no better way to enjoy spring fashion than with cupcakes and tea! (Click HERE for my full blog post)

Photo Darren Kidd PressEye.

2. Victoria Square’s ultimate Style Soiree!
I've been lucky enough to attend numerous catwalk shows over the years, and this was one of the best! For one night only Victoria Square transformed Elmwood Hall at Queens University into a fantastical Autumnal Fantasy World to showcase some of Victoria Square’s hottest looks. The catwalk was adorned with Autumnal leaves while an elusive Mr Fox sang and introduced the evenings proceedings. Such a fantastical show it was unlike any catwalk I had ever seen and truly set the bar for catwalk events in Northern Ireland!

Photo Kelvin Boyes PressEye.
1. Becoming a “Kingsman” with Lunns The Jewellers.

Ever since my first purchase from Lunns The Jewellers in 2008 (my diamond Gucci watch) I have loved shopping with them. A family run business they are passionate about watches and fine jewellery and pride themselves on first class customer service. Last year they partnered with Tag Heuer for the launch of the new “Connected Modular 45” watch, and hosted an exclusive “Kingsman” party for invited guests! We partied in style and even had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the Limited Edition Tag Heuer Connected 45 Kingsman watch as featured in “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”. Of course no movie themed party is complete without a movie night, and so Lunns also invited us to a special screening of the new movie at Odeon, Victora Square complete with Lunns popcorn!

So there you have it, just a few of my many memories at Victoria Square! It’s hard to believe that Victoria Square has been here for just 10 years as it feels as if it's iconic glass dome has always been a part of the Belfast skyline. Victoria Square revolutionised the retail landscape of Northern Ireland and it’s impact has truly changed the way we shop. It has always been my favourite shopping destination in Northern Ireland and I’m so happy to see them celebrating such an important milestone in their journey! Thank you Victoria Square for all the wonderful memories and I look forward to celebrating their birthday in style! (details of their events below).

Share your Victoria Square memories on Facebook @victoriasquarebelfast Twitter @Victoria_Square and Instagram, @victoriasqbelfast using the hashtag #VSQ10

Throughout the month of March, Victoria Square is saying thank you for the memories with a host of exclusive events and over £10,000 worth of giveaways to celebrate its big birthday.

Over the next few weeks, shoppers will benefit from a fantastic range of promotions, offers, giveaways and events, as Victoria Square goes into full on celebration mode, with the mall bedecked with an impressive floral installation. During the 10th birthday month, customers will also have the chance to win an array of prizes and VSQ experiences. A massive £10,000 worth of Victoria Square prizes will dished out through giveaways on the mall and in partnership with Visit Belfast, Cool FM and Q Radio. A special arcade machine in the centre from 16th-25th will offer visitors the chance to win fantastic gifts, ranging in value from £5 - £500, with proceeds going to Victoria Square’s chosen charities for 2018.

Victoria Square’s iconic dome is acting as showcase area for a range of prize-winning artistic creations, submitted through a public art competition to mark its 10th birthday. A Mother’s Day Fayre on 10th and 11th March and Easter activities kicking off on 30th March will bring further buzz and excitement to the centre during the 10th anniversary month.

For further information, visit

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