Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

What women want

Twenty-four hours after the Halston AW08 show in New York, this brown jersey below- the-knee shirt dress has sold out on Net a Porter. is sniffy:

But overall, the collection left you wanting more. More of Halston's double-face cashmere coats, yes, but also more of a sense of how Zanini will take the label forward. The unstructured evening gowns he showed today won't cut it.

And yet the dress is sold-out. Do the fashion press ever wonder why?

I had a sneak preview today of the Ossie Clark relaunch collection which will show at London Fashion Week on Monday, and about which I will have much, much more to say.

Avsh Alom Gur, OC's creative director, says yes, he can make me a couture dress, but can it wait till Tuesday?

I found my dress

Last year I received three hot tips about where to shop: from Anya Hindmarch, Alexandra Shulman and Hillary Alexander, fashion director of the Telegraph. Jaeger. And I wrote about it here.

Jaeger now has three womenswear lines: Jaeger Collection, the don't-frighten-the-horses clothes we all recognise; Jaeger London, innovative dresses and separates for contemporary working women; and Jaeger Black, its premium range of what it considers investment dressing - the perfect sleeveless black shift dress, the evening coat. Jaeger seems to be aiming itself squarely at women in their 30s and up who know what is on the Paris, London, Milan and New York catwalks, and also know that they are not prepared to buy anything that does not suit them. "Fit and flatter" is the unsurprising message the company received from the focus groups it commissioned.

For decades Jaeger has been in the doldrums, the place where Home Counties matrons buy their expensive navy polyester shirt-waister dresses but under the direction of its new CEO, Belinda Earl, the company has become fashion forward as they say in the trade. The current fashion for star fabrics was sparked last Autumn when Kate Moss wore a star blouse from Jaeger.

My best dress of 2007 was Jaeger and yesterday Belinda Earl, her head of press Iona Hames and I had lunch to discuss the forthcoming AW08 show this Sunday, its first ever at London Fashion Week, and then we went back to the Regent Street flagship shop so they could show me the new SS08 Jaeger London range which had just come in. And there I found my dress.* It fulfills the brief exactly, right length, right shape, sleeves, and the colour is this season's yellow in geometric shapes on a black ground (and no, it doesn't make me look like a wasp). I also bought a mimosa yellow jacket in heavy, lined linen, so I am all set for the Spring.

I think that Jaeger is doing really interesting clothes for grown-up women, and they have something for all shapes. On their sizing, my dress was two sizes smaller than the LaDress dress which was too sizes too small. I concede that they are expensive, but they use quality fabrics (my dress is a mix of silk and cotton) and they should last and last.

* No, it's not the one in the picture, that's AW07.

Thought for the day

Our clothes are too much a part of us for most of us ever to be entirely indifferent to their condition: it is as though the fabric were indeed a natural extension of the body, or even of the soul. Quentin Bell