Press day highlights: Monsoon, M&S, Whistles

Poof! What a whirlwind day of action!

After a frenetic morning of pitching and writing with a bit of Facebooking thrown in, I got myself down to the Monsoon aw09 press day. Luckily it was only a bus ride away so I had quite a pleasant commute and even had time to swing by Last Place on Earth, the most charming little-bit-of-everything vintage shop opposite Latimer Road station (37 Bramley Road, W10 Open 10-6, Mon-Sat). They specialise in distressed painted furniture, often with a Union Jack painted on, or shabby-chic chairs upholstered in vintage flags. Outside on display today was a fur jacket alongside a Hawaiian shirt. I love an eclectic mix, don’t you?

Five minutes later I arrived at Monsoon HQ to find a couple of Karma Kars (0208 964 0700) stationed outside.

Lots of loveliness at Monsoon, including an amazing romany caravan on display adorned with all manner of silk dresses, faux fur coats and wafty satin blouses. Monsoon has had a bit of a revamp so there are less boho hippie dresses and more streamlined ‘pieces’. The food was excellent too.

Anyway, the Karma Kars outside were there to ferry press to wherever they had to go afterwards. This is when the fun started. I got in Tobias’ (owner of Karma Kars) Ambassador car and we spent the next half hour gossiping about anything and everything. Readers, it turns out he lives practically in the next street to me and is now my new BFF! What did we talk about? Well… (deep breath)…his god-daughter (Charlotte Tilbury)… his comedy horn that sounds like a neighing horse… his other BFF, Mourad Mazouz (owner of Momo and Sketch restaurants and also behind the restaurant at The Double Club)…the state of the economy….the new Evening Standard (I think he should write a column in there)…religion…politics… and sex! Finally, he tipped me out at M&S in Marble Arch for their press day and we bid adieu. If you want a taxi ride in London with someone funnier than Alan Carr, I’d recommend him.

M&S gets a lot of stick but I always love their press days and it’s not because they know how to lay on a feast. My M&S highlights:

M&S channels Louis Vuitton

Rather tasteful take on 80s jersey

Beautiful bag, no?

M&S channels Balmain

(Er, WTF is this? Stirrup jeans? Sorry to be a fashion fascist but I really don’t want to see M&S’s target market, miss average UK – AKA size 16 and 5’2 – in these.)

Who doesn’t love a pink leopard-print tote?

M&S channels Ivana Trump – in a good way

Per Una at M&S channels Miuccia Prada

After a brief detour into Selfridges to buy a yellow Coke bottle, I legged it down to the Whistles press day in Regent Street. When all the hoo-ha about the newly-relaunched Jane-Shepherdson-For-Whistles kicked off last season I wasn’t really feeling it but today I finally got it. My general thinking went ‘would Mary Portas wear this?’ and the answer to everything was ‘yes’. Which to me means Whistles is finally achieving its goal of catering to the fashion-forward thirty-or-even-forty-something. The biker stuff was the best and there was lots of it – basically visible diagonal metal zips on everything.

This blouse-jacket is my favourite

Also the bottle green silk blouse with press studs

Biker dress – now this is more like it Jane!

Very Kate Lanphear, no?

A tweed dressing-gown coat? So wrong on paper, so right in reality

Personally, I’m all about the jewellery – average price £25

Finally, I ended up at NBPR’s beauty playground press day at Home House where they laid on Myface make-up artists , facialists and a Tarot card reader. I was especially taken by Lulu’s Timebomb Eye R&R, an eyemake-up remover with it’s own cotton pads. Alas, no Lulu but isn’t the packaging cute?