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Chanel ‘tells locals not to use their balcony and to dim their lights’ during Manchester catwalk show as businesses accuse the fashion giant of costing them money

Residents living close to a Chanel fashion show being held in Manchester city centre are being told to dim their lights and not use their balconies when the models take to the catwalk.

The global fashion house is transforming Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter of the city for its Métiers d’Art show on Thursday, December 7, which is set to see celebrities, fashionistas and other VIP guests descend on the city.

A temporary canopy is now in place, which has been taped off for the event, and access to the area has been limited with several road closures in place.

A number of businesses are being paid by the fashion brand to shut while the event takes place, but owners fear the reimbursement will not cover their losses.

Locals have also received letters, that have been passed on from Chanel, which requested that occupants do not use their balconies during the show and urged occupants to ‘dim’ their lights on the evening in question.

 The global fashion house is transforming Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, or its Métiers d’Art show on Thursday, December 7, which is set to see celebrities, fashionistas and other VIP guests descend on the city

One resident said: ‘We were told not to go on our balconies and to keep our curtains shut during the show. It was more or less: ‘We strongly suggest you don’t go on your balcony or if you have lights on in your home close the curtain.’

He said he began receiving letters about the fashion show around three weeks ago.

‘We’ve had a handful of letters which have been like a drip feed of information because they want to keep it on the down low even though everyone knows it’s a Chanel show’, he added.

Within the letters he says event dates were given and residents were warned the area was set to become ‘very active’ from Monday, December 4. 

When asked about the transformation of Thomas Street, he said: ‘It’s a lot of money spent on basically a glorified canopy. If they leave it up that will be really good for the businesses during winter time and if there’s heating and stuff that would be great. I feel like it’s a little over zealous but it’s cool it’s not happening in London or somewhere like that.’ 

Another resident living in the building said he too had received a letter warning him not to use his balcony during the show. 

A manager of a bar on nearby High Street, said they have suffered reduced footfall due to people assuming the businesses in the area are shut in the lead up to the event.

He said: ‘It looks closed unless you’re coming from Edge Street. We’ve had to change our entrance. On Saturday (December 3) I would say we were a couple of grand down.’

The manager said the business has been compensated for the days it has been told to close [Wednesday and Thursday] but worries the amount given may not cover the total losses incurred.

Another manager of a venue also on High Street, said the establishment has not been asked to close but has seen a drop in customers due to the road closures in the build up to the show.

‘It’s definitely been quieter,’ he said, adding that the impact of the show has been ‘played down’ by organisers who have reassured businesses that only certain roads will be affected and the impact will be minimal.

Locals have also received letters, that have been passed on from Chanel, which requested that occupants do not use their balconies during the show and urged them to 'dim' their lights

Locals have also received letters, that have been passed on from Chanel, which requested that occupants do not use their balconies during the show and urged them to ‘dim’ their lights

The venue receives its beer delivery on a Wednesday and staff are concerned the delivery may not be able to go ahead amid the closures.

‘They’re saying customers can still walk up here but then drivers can’t come up here and if we don’t get the beer we can’t open,’ the manager said.

When asked whether he’s expecting any celebrity visitors this week, he said with more than a hint of sarcasm : ‘Oh yeah Naomi Campbell coming for her chicken and chips.’

One resident living in a flat on Thomas Street said he works at a nearby cafe that has faced issues with receiving deliveries due to the road closures and loading bays being ‘blocked off’.

He said: ‘The delivery drivers are ‘mad’ because they’re blocking off all the loading bays to prioritise this. They [the drivers] will get in and say: ‘I’ve parked this far off the street.’

The landlady of a pub on Shudehill however hopes the fashion show will bring in more punters.

She said: ‘It’s great for Manchester, it’s a once in a lifetime thing. There has been a lot of disruption but they’ve paid everybody compensation.I have the pub on the corner and they’ve kept us informed for weeks and weeks. It’s not disrupted any business for me and we’re hoping it [the fashion show] will bring people in on Thursday.

‘It’s a busy time of the year anyway but I think it will be good for us. I think it’s brilliant, it’s got everybody talking about Manchester and it’s good for the Northern Quarter as well.’ 

A 64-year-old man who lives nearby and grew up in the area said: ‘It’s fantastic, how can it be bad? How many other cities get this? The ones that do are London, Milan, Paris and now grotty old Manchester, in the market area. I was born in this area.’  

Chanel have been approached for a comment.  

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