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Dreamy scents on display at an Annick Goutal boutique

Dreamy scents on display at an Annick Goutal boutique

A limited edition Annick Goutal bottle

A limited edition Annick Goutal bottle

To fulfill all your Christmas dreams in one easy move, take a peek at either of the shops that Parisian perfume company Annick Goutal have just opened. Goutal, who died in 1999, was a great “nose” – her cult citrussy scent Eau d’Hadrien merely scratches the surface of her amazing talent. There is a huge choice of fabulously classy scents, from the purest flower (Rose Absolu) to the ancient and haunting (Sables). Now her bright and beautiful daughter Camille is running the show and expanding it in new directions. She whizzed over from Paris this week and showed me round her Mount Street domain. Upstairs, around the elegant fireplace and mirrors, it’s like a sweet shop – gorgeous ribbed bottles with gold or coloured ribbon, some with butterflies perched – and helpful assistants to guide you through the different fragrance areas. There are also deliciously scented bath, facial and home products. Downstairs is more a sexy boudoir feel, with the fantastically sensual newest range – Les Orientalistes, of which Musc Nomade and Encens Flamboyant are guaranteed to make you swoon. Add in beautiful, slightly boho jewellery inspired by the new perfumes, and fabulously elegant lingerie in classic silk satin and lace but unusual spicy colours, and you have a girl’s heaven on earth. Look foxy, feel smooth, smell great – what better seasonal gift for you and the man in your life? – Avril Groom
www.annickgoutal.com
109 Mount Street W1, 20 Motcomb Street SW1

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Fashion and Fantasy by Iain R Webb

Bill Gibb: Fashion and Fantasy by Iain R Webb

A night for golden oldies – one of the year’s best and quirkiest fashion parties was at Zandra Rhodes’ Costume and Textiles Museum in Bermondsey, where Twiggy opened a fantastic exhibition of designs by the late and much lamented Bill Gibb, and launched a brilliant new book about him by Iain R.Webb. Ladies of a certain age swigged champagne and swapped personal stories about the designer while looking fab in his originals especially the knits, with complex patterns by Kaffe Fassett, and sinuous jersey dresses with sequinned insets. For anyone who knows little about this outrageously talented Scot, who sadly died in 1988 aged 45, he was a style icon of the 1970s and still quoted as a big influence by designers of the calibre of John Galliano and Giles Deacon. Given that he flourished in a recession, expect to see similar wildly romantic designs and fantasy fabric mixes on a catwalk near you soon – he is well overdue a revival. – Avril Groom

This week Avril Groom has been dashing about Milan, attending all the shows and in the midst of all the flurry of tumbling models, Ferragamo shoes and super-glamorous Italian women, she gave IC towers a buzz with her latest observations:

Model takes a tumble at the Prada show at MFW

Model takes a tumble at the Prada show at MFW

The Prada show had the fashion pack buzzing due to the poor models teetering on seven-inch platforms. The girls wobbled, stumbled, fell and one girl put her foot down quite literally and sauntered down the catwalk with the shoes in her hands, and not on her feet.

Prada model on her feet at MFW

Prada model on her feet at MFW

Seen at the shows:
Civilians (all totally glamorous!) were wearing enormous platform heels and cocoon shapes featured quite a bit in their outfits. Scarily, the 1980s trouser shape with peg tops and narrow legs seems to have invaded the continent as well.
Pretty prints featured at Etro, all very elegant and a bit boho with lots of long, floaty dresses.
At Prada, it was all a tad sportif with crinkled fabrics and the aforementioned vertiginous heels.
Great geometric, avant-garde prints featured at Marni.
Interestingly, Bottega Veneta are branching out into prints, and very successfully too.
Forget bags, this year it’s all about statement footwear!

If you’re lucky enough to be in Milan, some fab happenings include:
A fab exhibition at La Triennale profiling Salvatore Ferragamo with a showcase of his most iconic footwear.
Giorgio Armani has just opened his biggest boutique in the world in Milan. Armani muse, Cate Blanchett was there at the opening, looking lovely as ever.
Picture credit: The Telegraph

Sinha-Stanic at London Fashion Week S/S '09

Sinha-Stanic at London Fashion Week S/S '09

Peter Pilotto at LFW

Peter Pilotto at LFW


Still mired in the miasma of floral prints, shoulder pads and platform heels under the tents at London Fashion Week, our Fashion Ed, Avril Groom managed to tear herself away to give us the following update:

Dries Van Noten’s influence is pervasive and very strong with mismatched prints on the catwalks as seen the other day at Nicole Farhi but with a real Eighties twist.

Peter Pilotto (a real star in the making) paired his abstract prints with long, loose jackets.

Fashion team Sinha-Stanic also presented a very strong and impressive collection.

Christopher Kane, Louise Goldin, House of Holland, Julien MacDonald, Basso and Brooke

Left to right: Christopher Kane, Louise Goldin, House of Holland, Julien MacDonald, Basso and Brooke

For more catwalk pictures from London Fashion Week, go to the LFW website.

It has been a frantic week for fashionable folk as London Fashion Week has arrived to brighten up morose September skies. Our resident fashion guru, Avril Groom has been on the frontline, in the catwalk trenches armed with her mobile phone, ringing IC Towers with updates during lulls in proceedings. Here are some of her observations:

Celebrity spotting:
Mischa Barton, Emilia Fox and Rosamund Pike at the Temperley show.
Shirley Bassey, Joely Richardson, Natalia Vodianova, Erin O’Connor at Julien Macdonald.
Samantha Cameron at Giles Deacon

Roland Mouret Pigalle dress

Roland Mouret Pigalle dress


What civilians were wearing:
Women were making a stab at the ‘new elegance’ look – think slim, longer, ladylike silhouettes and high heels, all very Mouret. The new pointed toe goes with this look.
Clothes took second stage to footwear which divided into two camps: huge heels in every shape, or flat-soled shoes, with very little in between.

Seen on the catwalks:
Body con skirts at Giles and models wearing the most extraordinary Louboutins with huge heels and triple ankle straps.
Abstract floral prints at Nicole Farhi, vaguely reminiscent of Dries Van Noten’s offering from last year.
Silhouettes and trims inspired by dinosaurs at Christopher Kane, and models wearing vertiginous and super-fab Manolo platforms on their feet – more dinosaur scales, plus rhinoceros horns.
Julien Macdonald, with a new backer behind the brand, pared down the glitz and showed a sophisticated collection in shades of the desert with a whiff of the 1980s – very Versace-esque, in a good way.
An abundance of flora at House of Holland, with sunglasses bedecked with flowers and fabulous floral-printed fabric bags with red leather trim (all very Gucci).
We time-travelled to 1985 at Topshop Unique with tongue-firmly-in-cheek teddy boy-style big, long, loose single-button jackets.
Similar but more grown-up, in gorgeous block-printed shades of pink, at Richard Nicoll.
At Louise Goldin it was all weirdly sportif yet futuristic, like Bladerunner meets the Bolshoi. Incredible, mind-blowing knits, some of them (padded geometric bra-tops especially) wearable only by the flat-chested.

Model wearing pearls at Luella Bartley (LFW)

Model wearing pearls at Luella Bartley (LFW)


At Luella, ruffles and bitsy florals comingled and accessory-wise it was pearls, pearls and more girls in pearls.
Even bigger, bolder, tougher pearls at Richard Nicoll.
Best prints in town – Basso and Brooke’s amazing Oriental excursion, with wonderful rich colours on perfect simple shapes, all cinched with modernist leather obi belts and set off with giant gilt hairpins and combs

Fashion predictions for next Spring/Summer:
The new erogenous zone: shoulders and shoulderpads, believe it or not – team with slim knee-length skirts so it’s not volume all over.
Mini-crinies will be huge – if a skirt is short make sure it’s voluminous.
Mirrored silver elements were spotted on fab Louboutin shoes at Giles and on great clutch bags at Mulberry, so hang onto your metallics.
Floral prints will still be huge, metaphorically speaking, as florals for 2009 will be dainty or abstract.
The Eighties is a decade that refuses to die stylistically so embrace your inner Melanie/Sigourney circa Working Girl as we might be wearing lots of draped jersey tops with body con skirts and dresses, sharp suits with sharper shoulder pads and even paper bag-waisted, pegtop trousers (oh the horror).