Joan Burstein (Mrs B) owner of Browns boutique on South Molton Street, who saved up her clothing ration coupons in 1947 to buy her first New Look dress, who went bust in the Sixties and built up her business again from scratch, and who discovered John Galliano, has this to say:
"It's important to be positive when times are hard, but to those who are facing having to start again now I would say this: to have got where you did, you must have had talent, so use it again – and be humble, accept advice and work hard. I worked very hard, and now, I think, it's important to be doing my bit for British businesses because this is our economy and we're stuck with it."
This recession, she says, feistiness creeping into her voice, only feels different to the last one "because then we didn't have it blaring at us from everywhere. Yes, we had a bad time in November but we did well in December. The bottom line is that people still want to buy, and if they haven't got the money they'll save to buy the things that they want.
"There's too much doom and gloom, but I promise you this: people still aspire to own things."