Everyday luxury

Reading this week’s announcement that Joanna Sykes has been appointed design director at Aquascutum made me very happy indeed. Not only is Sykes a sweet and modest person, she is also an outstanding designer and a perfect fit for Aquascutum. Known for her fuss-free silhouettes and flattering tailoring, she has been tapped to take Aquascutum to new heights following the departure of Michael Herz and Graeme Fildler to Bally. Sykes’ appointment highlights the attention on female British designers creating high-quality, enduring clothes for women of all ages to wear in an everyday context (ref: Hannah McGibbon at Chloe, Phoebe Philo at Céline, Margaret Howell, Stella McCartney).

This to me is luxury. For some, luxury means expensive, rare or extravagant. For me it’s something beautiful and useful that is made to last. (Examples off the top of my head: My Hermès Medor watch, Church’s shoes and Helmut Lang blazer). The timely appreciation of nineties minimalism is about more than a pared-down silhouette. It’s about fine fabrics, a great cut and fit and the ease of throwing on clothes that trascend situations and can be forgotten about once you’re in them. As gorgeous as the current crop of bodycon cocktail dresses are, they don’t have a place in my life. But perfect-cut cigarette pants? Tailored jackets in soft fabrics? Tummy-skimming tops in neutral palettes? More please.

I don’t think these need to be relegated to top-tier price-points either. COS and Whistles have recognised this need for well made, everyday staples that aren’t trendy but still have a sense of style, while ASOS is soon to introduce ASOS White for the customer who has grown up with them. Watch as others follow suit.