Every time I want to finish writing about my perfume collection, life gets in the way (as is its habit).
So this post will be about my trip to London and hobnobbing with a bone fide fashion guru.
The conventional wisdom is that fashion business is full of bi***es, of both sexes. It is undeniably obsessed with youth and beauty, and aimed at people with more money than sense (or taste). Thanks to “The Devil Wears Prada”* the prevailing opinion is that to get ahead in this business, you need to be either a sharp-tongued queen or an ice-queen, or worse still, a talentless creep. But there is also the other side: there are very few areas of business where women wield as much power and influence, or get paid as well as they do in fashion. And there are plenty of women in fashion, who got ahead while being nice to everybody on their way to the top.
A few weeks ago I was lucky to win a Marks & Spencer competition. I have always been a huge fan of M&S, ever since I walked into one of its shops in the early 90, during my first visit to London. Founded by a Polish Jewish emigre, it is thoroughly British, which is why I often buy gifts for my non -British friends and family there. I can completely understand why for many British expats, M&S is often the first shop they go to when visiting Blighty – the thought of not being able to shop at M&S fills me with horror. The prize couldn’t be more perfect: it was a styling session with the legend of British fashion journalism, Hilary Alexander, at the M&S flagship store in Marble Arch, plus money to splurge on the fabulous Per Una collection. So I was very excited to take the train to the Big Smoke and meet Hilary as well as M&S ladies Caroline, Judy and Co. Hilary is the opposite of the fashion stereotype: warm, witty, down to Earth and just very, very nice. Her expert picks were spot on: elegant dresses flattered my hourglass figure, while bottom -sculpting jeans and jumpers were perfect for my freelance lifestyle. Trying on different outfits, assisted by such a fashion guru and 4 (!!!) other ladies, I was in fashion heaven. This is what being a celebrity must feel like, only better, because I don’t have to put up with all the scrutiny that comes with fame. Thank you!
Here are a few of my favourite pieces from the current M&S collections, some of which I tried on – the white dress and the biker jacket are very high quality and very flattering – who doesn’t need a Little White Dress (currently more fashionable than LBD) or a proper biker jacket in their wardrobe?
After morning’s heady delights, I spent the afternoon eating cake, drinking coffee, spotting celebrities and visiting new shops, all of which I shall describe next time (see, I’ll never get to write that post about perfumes!).
*There is a dire shortage of good films about fashion, but that’s a whole other post.