The Maker’s Atelier – a new book for women who like making stylish clothes

If you like COS and you like making clothes, then you will love this new book by Frances Tobin. The Maker’s Atelier sewing brand (selling paper patterns and making kits) was set up by the 57-year-old designer two-and-a-half years ago; when despite a minor COS habit, she couldn’t find exactly what she wanted to wear (at the right quality), onRead more

The emotional power of clothing

An old acquaintance sent me a message a while ago, says Elaine Kingett. A photo of my ex’s jacket, draped on the back of a chair. ‘Is this blah-blah’s? Did he leave it here after dinner last night?’ She’d made a mistake. Got the wrong Elaine. My ex had subsequently married a woman with theRead more

This is a fantastic film – 20th Century Women with Annette Bening

This a beautiful film. Beautifully shot in the hazy Californian sunshine. 20th Century Women is set in Santa Barbara at the end of the 1970s. Annette Bening is superb as Dorothea Fields, a chain-smoking, 55-year-old single mother living in a shared house with her 15-year-old son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann). Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning andRead more

Fashion and politics do mix

Talking politics and wearing leopard print, oh hang on a minute …. I know this is a place where women come to read about style but like many others I am deeply concerned about what’s going on in the world right now. I think we can all agree that these are extraordinary times. A couple of weeks ago IRead more

Reasons to be cheerful: a Josef Frank exhibition

Walking into the Josef Frank exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum is an instant dopamine rush. A beautiful buzz. Like David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II, ‘It’s a form of two-way therapy.’ An escape from bitter temperatures and bonkers politics. Millions of viewers tuned into the BBC nature documentary last year and as the 90-year-old presenter explained, ‘We crave refuge from horrorRead more

An exhibition about northern style

A new exhibition at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool is one of my must-sees early this year (it’s on until 19 March). North: Identity, Photography, Fashion includes the photographs of Shirley Baker , Alistair McLellan, Elaine Constantine, Corinne Day and Nick Knight. Together with work by designers  Paul Smith, Raf Simons, Peter Saville, stylist Simon Foxton and many more. I grewRead more

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Blimey, it’s Christmas. I’ve been cracking on with Book Number Two like nobody’s business and Christmas has crept up on me like a pantomime villain. This photo of Karen Elson is from Grace: The American Vogue Years . Such a wonderful roundup of an outstanding career, though the coffee table book is so big I can barely lift it. MustRead more

Flaming good scents! Five of the best perfumed candles for Christmas

There’s nothing like an exquisitely scented candle to warm the cockles, writes Vicci Bentley. Fair enough, they’ve become the default gift, replacing soap and bath cubes – and they are the ideal dinner party gift for someone you like, but don’t really know. Yet their huge popularity is founded on a universally appealing thought. These dark days around the Solstice, there’s poetryRead more

Creative Women at Work: scarf designer Jane Carr (and a special offer!)

Designer Jane Carr studied fashion at Central Saint Martins and then worked in Italy for many years – first as head of print at Versace and then at Jil Sander (when Jil was actually there) – before setting up her own scarf company, in London. ‘I started making scarves for friends and then the companyRead more

Gathered: a beautiful book on flowers by Mary Norden & Polly Wreford

I’m going easy on the Christmas gifts this year. But one thing on my list for a flower-loving friend (who hopefully won’t see this post) and my mum (who definitely won’t see this post) is the new book Gathered by stylist and art director  Mary Norden and photographer Polly Wreford. The pair worked together commercially for manyRead more