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

Saturday, 29 March 2008

My other blog

I have started another blog, its name is Buchmendel, after the Stefan Zweig short-story and I will be posting occasional passages from books I am reading.

Here is the first entry, from Bruno Shulz's story, Tailors' Dummies'

'Carried on their shoulders, a silent, immobile lady had entered the room, a lady of oakum and canvas, with a black wooden knob instead of a head. But when stood in the corner, between the door and the stove, that silent woman became mistress of the situation. Standing motionless in her corner, she supervised the girls' advances and wooings as they knelt before her, fitting fragments of a dress marked with white basting thread. They waited with attention, and patience on the silent idol, which was difficult to please. That moloch was inexorable as only a female moloch can be, and sent them back to work again and again, and they, thin and spindly, like wooden spools from which thread is unwound and as mobile, manipulated with noisy scissors into its colourful mass, whirred the sewing machine, treading its pedal with one cheap patent-leathered foot, while around them grew a heap of cuttings, of motley rags and pieces, like husks and chaff spat out by two fussy and prodigal parrots. The curved jaw of the scissors tapped open like the beaks of those exotic birds.'

Grow up!

our girl

For a year I have been banging the same drum: that we have to stop buying cheap throwaway high street clothes and invest in fewer, more expensive pieces. And I have been saying Jaeger Jaeger Jaeger (and Cos). In the past week I've seen pictures of Sarah Brown, the wife of our prime minister, and Anne Enright, winner of the Booker this year, in this season's Jaeger jacket with shoulder detail.

Now here is the Times with more of the same:

The sector of the fashion high street once unflatteringly called middle market has lost its flabby lack of focus and identity, and been given a fierce shot of retail Botox. It’s been upgraded and rebranded as something called Affordable Luxury or Masstige (that’s prestige for the masses; desirable things for everyone, not just the rich), and it’s meant to appeal to women, rather than girls, who appreciate youthful but don’t do teenage. Belinda Earl, Jaeger’s top woman, who has transformed the label into a fashion must-have and recently kicked off London Fashion Week with Jaeger’s first international catwalk show, is one of the movement’s forerunners.

“Today’s consumer is very discerning,” Earl explains. “Because of the huge amount of fashion information available through the internet, weekly glossies and TV, she’s aware of trends but wants them interpreted in a way that flatters her shape and is right for her lifestyle.” The ailing Jaeger label, bought by Harold Tillman in 2002, has been completely revitalised by Earl, who was wooed from Debenhams (where she negotiated the Designers at Debenhams ranges). “Our customer shops with her hands and wants quality fabrics that feel good to touch and against her skin.” Items such as the cashmere poncho and printed silk shirt have rapidly become contemporary classics at Jaeger. Since Earl joined, the number of stores has risen from 89 to 120. As a company, it has gone from losing £3 million a year to last year’s profit of £70.6 million. “When I arrived at Jaeger, I did lots of research and focus groups with our customers. They told me, ‘You must do this. There is nothing for us out there.’”

Thought for the day

Youth is the time of getting, middle age of improving, and old age of spending. Anne Bradsteet