Pep Guardiola is a man with influence and has been somewhat of a style icon since joining Manchester City and the Premier League back in 2016 – and his latest fashion choice has fans everywhere in football talking.
His recent touchline uniform has come in the form of a jumper which dons a melted Manchester City badge, but while millions assume that the obscure badge is simply a printing error, there is actually a lot of history behind it.
The jumper, which comes in black as well as grey, is part of a deal between Manchester City, Puma and JD, but is spearheaded by legendary fashion brand founders Anthony and Christopher Donnelly.
The Manchester-born Donnelly brothers recently released their MDCR clothing collection, which celebrates the generation-defining indie-dance scene that put Manchester on the map and took the world by storm – something that the Donnelly brothers were an instrumental part of. MDCR is an abbreviation of Donnelly brothers brand madchester.com.
In Anthony Donnelly’s own words, the melted crest on the jumper is based on a t-shirt from the acid house period “when nightclubs such as Stuffed Olives and the Hacienda had no air conditioning” and “being p*ss wet through, melting on the dance floor, smiling like Cheshire cats” was the norm.
The design was created by Anthony’s brother, Christopher, along with designers from Puma HQ in Germany. Christopher is also responsible for the many iconic designs behind Gio-Goi – his and Anthony’s iconic British fashion brand that originated here in Manchester.
Anthony and Christopher are the proud sons of scrap metal merchant Arthur Donnelly and hard-working straight-laced mum June Donnelly. They were raised in the south of Manchester in Benchill with sister Tracey and quickly made a name for themselves in both the British fashion industry with Gio-Goi and the thriving rave scene here in Manchester and London.
It is worth noting that Pep Guardiola has been wearing the MDCR collection out of personal choice, which has driven droves of Manchester City fans to go out and purchase a piece of authentic Manchester music history – it is believed that this is the first time ever in the history of the Football Association that a club has allowed outside parties to dramatically change a club’s badge design.
But this is the exact kind of disruption and influence that drove the Donnelly brothers to create Madchester, along with a small group of others, in the late 1980s – a movement and collective that fought the government for your right to party with Sweat It Out, Manchester’s first illegal rave.
The brothers have an unmatched reputation for effective marketing campaigns, which includes the time they got themselves on the front page of Vogue magazine with Gio-Goi and Dior, photographed by legendary portrait photographer Mario Testino, so it was no surprise to find that Anthony and Christopher were behind the MCFC x PUMA collaboration.
The Madchester music scene gave birth to the illegal rave and its protests against the authorities are what made an acid house rave so alluring for young (and old) partygoers back in the day. The Donnelly’s were instrumental during this time and quickly rose to prominence.
On what Madchester means to the Donnelly’s, Anthony says: “Madchester to myself and Christopher brings back memories that are mad and brilliant at the same time – never to be repeated I would imagine.
“However, Madchester is often hijacked by brands everywhere who were not even there. Most recently, a famous deodorant used the brand without permission – which was one of the reasons behind creating Madchester as a brand so that we can ensure the intellectual property is protected.
“It can be annoying in some cases, for example, how our councils are using the history of Madchester as something they are proud of in order to sell the city. I suppose this is understandable given what we created, however, those same councils were actually instrumental in trying to crush Madchester, the Hacienda, and our illegal Sweat It Out raves.”
To date, the Donnelly brothers and Madchester exist predominantly as a live events brand that leans more towards tourism and there is a lot planned on the horizon that Anthony and Christopher believe will bring much-needed revenue to Manchester’s Night Time Economy.
A spokesperson for the Madchester brand says: “Madchester is to Manchester what the Beatles are to Liverpool, or Nirvana is to Seattle. People flock here in their thousands and we are expected to give them a good time.”
Anthony and Chris are deep in their plans to bring Madchester to the masses with an event at Depot Mayfield next April, alongside the founders of The Warehouse Project. There is also a second MDCR clothing collection dropping in November, which is part of the same collaboration with MCFC, JD and PUMA, and is more of a fashion-led line inspired by the era which will include staple items such as bucket hats and parka jackets.
With the Donnelly’s, one thing is for sure, you’ll be seeing a lot of them in the coming months and in 2022 – and while Manchester as a city grows and grows, the Donnelly’s will be working hard to keep its historic roots intact.
Watch the story of Joy, the first outdoor rave up North, organised by Anthony and Christopher Donnelly, below.
Heritage railway arches in Manchester city centre to undergo £3.7m transformation by HOME arts centre
A section of the iconic railway arches along Whitworth Street is set to be refurbished into a brand-new development space for up-and-coming local artistsunder HOME.
Having existed as a recognisable part of the city’s rich transport and architectural heritage for as long as we can remember, three of the familiar archways situated on Whitworth Street West are now about to be given a new lease of life which will also help support Manchester’s beloved arts community.
Coming under the HOME theatre and arts umbrella with the work being carried out by the North West arm of Robertson Construction, the transformation is set to start fairly soon and is scheduled to be completed by May 2024.
Sitting between Whitworth Street West and HOME’s main arts building at Tony Wilson Place, which has been a popular cinema, gallery and restaurant since 2015, the new development centre will provide a space and vital resources for artists of all ages, disciplines and stages in their careers. Wonderful stuff.
Costing £3.7m, the goal of the ‘HOME Arches’ project is not only to give the Whitworth Street West Arches some much-needed TLC, but to help nurture, attract and retain creative talent in Manchester by providing them with a high-quality, low-cost rehearsal and training space.
Moreover, being connected to the ever-thriving First Street district will further strengthen it as a well-known and go-to city centre destination for artists and visitors alike.
Funding for the renovation was secured back in 2021 following a £2.3m government grant, with a further £0.9m contribution from Manchester City Council and around £0.5m from HOME themselves, who are helping cover some post-construction costs.
The Arches project is part of a wider £20m redevelopment plan under the national Levelling Up fund, with the bulk of the £17.5m scheme seeing the Upper Campfield and Lower Campfield Market buildings (both Grade II-listed structures) lovingly transformed into a new tech, media and creative industries hub.
Issuing a statement following the announcement, Director and CEO of HOME, Dave Moutrey said they are delighted to provide “meaningful, additional creative space for artists” and allow them to “grow the work that we do with artists in the North West, across theatre, film, visual art and digital works”.
As for the Council itself, leader Bev Craig said: “These arches are part of our heritage which have sat unloved and underused for many years. This scheme is bringing them back to life with a very modern purpose – complementing the thriving cultural economy in our city.
“Culture has a huge role to play in the success of our city and its people – creatively, for health and well-being and economically. This project will enhance this part of the city centre, create new jobs and further strengthen Manchester’s cultural ecosystem.”
We can’t wait to see how the new historic railway arches look under the loving stewardship of HOME and see the impact it makes on local creativity and culture.
Guardian critic Grace Dent raves about ‘pointedly bonkers’ Manchester restaurant Musu
The food critic Grace Dent has published a rave review of one of Manchester’s new restaurant openings, Musu, bestowing national kudos on the Bridge Street eatery.
Referred to by the Guardian reviewer as ‘very possibly the most expensive restaurant in Manchester’, in a glowing write up she compares it to ‘the Starship Enterprise, albeit one with geishas on the walls and a £110 seven-course menu’.
Already a favourite of Ilkay Gundogan’s notoriously hard-to-please wife (it’s the only eatery she’s praised since famously saying that the Manchester food and drink scene was ‘horrible’), thankfully, Musu has now found a more discerning reviewer to recommend it.
Dent opens by advising ‘all who have already taken terrible umbrage that Musu even exists’ to ‘abandon reading this review here’, before going on to say she, personally, is ‘rather cheered that there are still people north of Watford who have the faith and gumption to open places as pointedly bonkers as this.’
The 55-cover restaurant is described as being ‘as dark in places as Adrian Mole’s bedroom’, with plenty of attention paid to its ‘theatrical’ detailing.
A glass-fronted private dining room that, ‘at the touch of a button, turns frosted’, gets a special mention, as does Musu’s bold ‘Japanese murals, globe lighting and […] nakedly open kitchen’.
But the real praise is reserved for the cooking of chef Michael Shaw, formerly of Gordon Ramsay Inc and Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, hailed as ‘minuscule portions of exquisite pleasure that linger in your mind.’
As she reels through the seven-course tasting menu, praising each dish as she goes, things go from great to excellent.
At one point, after digging into Musu’s sashimi (described as ‘ three of the finest pieces of sashimi imaginable’) she proffers: ‘I felt like handing my badge back there and then – it’s over; I won’t ever taste better’, before moving on to another ‘outstanding’ dish.
If there is a criticism, it’s that upon finishing the seven courses she still finds herself hungry – commenting: ‘Very rarely – in fact, never – do I wish I’d chosen the longer tasting menu, though at £150 plus drinks, that would have been guaranteed to cause a reader revolt.’
This, in turn, leads to some good-natured musing on just who all these people are spending hundreds in ‘mobbed’ Musu on a Friday night, with Dent asking pointedly: ‘Where are they getting their money? None of them seemed to be the type to have Brink’s-Mat gold buried at the bottom of their garden.’
Summarising, she writes: “If you’ve already decided to boycott Musu over the sheer cost, the din and the small portions, I must at this point stress that the food is outstanding.
“Sure, Musu isn’t for everybody, but if someone else is funding your wanton extravagance, then drag them there. It’s unforgettable for many reasons: some of them are hilarious, yes, but mostly they’re just plain good.”
Read more:The best restaurants and bars to open in Manchester in 2022