Canape-watch at Anthropologie

If you’ve never been to America before, prepare yourself for a whopping great shock when you first visit Anthropologie which opens in London this week. It’s a fashion store but unlike anything you’ve ever seen. If you thought Selfridges, Dover Street Market and The Shop At Bluebird were temples of loveliness, this place will knock your sequinned Miu Miu socks off. Firstly, the space itself is a beauty to behold. A former Wedgewood store, the building has been gutted and rebuilt with a spectacular staircase and Anthropologie’s signature love-worn fittings slotting nicely into place. A tremendous amount of thought goes into the interior of all Anthropologie’s stores, ensuring each store has its own identity. And when I say a tremendous amount of thought I mean like having a wall made of (according to Grazia) 11,000 plants which are watered via rainwater collected from the roof.

Anthropologie is a fashion store that doesn’t really do ‘fashion’ fashion and that’s exactly what I like about it. It’s a boulder-shoulder free zone! Instead you’ll find preppie blazers with elbow patches, an array of super-skinny jeans (minus the need for fake tears and fading), artfully embroidered cardigans and lots and lots of beautiful costume jewellery merchandised the way only Anthro knows how – piled in multiples. The visual merchandising is the real hero of the show here, there is not a single area where your eyes can rest without feeling inspired. For me, it’s all about the lifestyle elements, the vintage furniture (although don’t expect it to be cheap), rustic quilts, kitchenalia, stationery, won’t-find-anywhere-else books, a display of alarm clocks and a wall handpainted in different shades of green.

And so to the canapes. I was given a sneak preview this afternoon at a press tea party and as expected, this wasn’t just a few platters from Pret. We had cheesecake, we had raspberry tarts, we had sandwiches, we had cupcakes, we had scones … shall I go on? In fact, it’s a shame Anthro doesn’t have its own little cafe but hey, I suppose it’s good to keep us wanting more…

Anthropologie opens on Friday at 158 Regent Street, W1. Only two more sleeps to go….

Chak-Chak-Chaka Khan…

What is this, an eighties diva revival? First Whitney on X-Factor, then the news that Chaka Khan has been photographed by Aitken Jolly for the Christmas Evans campaign. Evans, I salute your style. My mole-in-the-know tells me that she was fab and loved all the purple and black pieces, the leopard-print mac and the shoulder-grazing earrings. The best bit was when she started warbling Beyonce tunes at the end of the shoot, “everybody had goose bumps, it was amazing! ” Jealous, much?

The closest I ever got to hearing a celebrity sing on a shoot was back when I used to fob my celebrity cover shoots off on a willing freelancer. She once reported that Ashanti sang her way through the entire shoot, making all her conversational exchanges in song. “Can I have a cup of tea”, “what’s my next outfit” and “Let’s have a look at the Polaroid” were all note perfect.

I do think Chaka looks amazing in the pics although if I’d been art directing I would have added some snazzy Sophy Robson talons. Anyway, until the campaign launches (16th Nov) I’ll leave you with this (check out the oh-so-this-season thigh boots)…

Changes afoot

Clunky clogs at Chanel, kitten heels at Louis Vuitton, whichever way you slice it, there are changes in the air when it comes to footwear for next season. I’ve never been fond of the now-ubiquitous ‘plat-heel’, mainly because I’m a fast walker and those things are a bloody hindrance. For day, I’m sticking to Converse, work boots and Church’s lace-ups (all-weather solutions, perfect for London) and I’m happy to wear my trad red Swedish clogs around the house with chunky grey marl socks but sorry Karl, there’s NO WAY those high-heeled clogs with the natty lace-up-the-leg decoration are coming any where near me.

What I do like are the new SS10 ‘High Cut’ sandals from Bruno Frissoni at Roger Vivier. Lovely shiny leather, cleanly minimalist silhouette remininscent of Helmut Lang, no ghastly platform, good solid heel slightly angled to give it some interest. I’m not an engineer so don’t know if that angle renders them unbalanceable but if not, sign me up.

[Pic: LA Times]