These are clothes for women who turn left. They are fabulous quality, and indicative of the way more of us want to dress
So we’ve all received the memo on athleisure by now. But I can’t be the only one still worrying that it’s too demanding a look for those of us whose focus, despite those new year resolutions, remains more on the side of leisure than ath.
Spending morning to night in whoop-arse leggings may work for Jennifer Lawrence but it’s not for me, nor my gluteus maximus. Yet I can’t help coveting the free-flow seam-free approach of athleisure and, let’s be honest, the absence of any waistband other than a stretchy one.
Step forward the new brand Callens, which offers extra-luxey sports-luxe targeted more at life outside the gym than in, both in terms of the fabrics — cashmere and silk sit alongside techno jersey — and the softer, more forgiving lines.
I would happily hang out nowhere near the treadmill in, say, the navy track pants with silk satin waistband and mesh tulle detailing and navy and white silk stretch shirt (pictured, £395 and £300 respectively, in store only at Selfridges London).
These are clothes for women who turn left when they get on a plane, or those who — like me — dream of doing so. They are not cheap, but they are fabulous quality, and indicative of the way more of us want to dress. The brand’s founder, Claire-Anne Stroll, is an echt jetsetter herself — her husband, Lawrence, is the business brains behind Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors — and quite the most glamorous golf fanatic ever to have teed off.
It was her love of the sport that got her thinking about a new brand, she tells me, “but it quickly developed into much more than being sportswear. I wanted it to be about 24-hour dressing, about the ultimate capsule wardrobe. I was looking for freedom of movement without compromising on chicness.”
Callens certainly proved a big success at Selfridges in its first season, and the store has just taken delivery of the spring/summer range. “The brand represents a shift in the way we are buying luxury fashion,” Melissa McGinnis, the women’s ready-to-wear designer buyer at Selfridges, tells me. “It’s the ultimate in solution dressing.”
There’s also a great edit on the website luisaviaroma.com: I particularly covet the navy hooded silk and cotton jersey sweatshirt and the camel cashmere track pants (£418 and £522). I feel a high kick coming on (not).
Tights. Some women — and even more men — might say they don’t belong in a fashion column, but then they haven’t come across the new brand Heist. I exaggerate not one jot when I say, in the premium tights category, these represent the best quality/price equation I have come across.
They are entirely without seams (aside from the toe seam, which is tucked underneath the toes to be invisible) and have 5,000 spirals — thread count in tights-speak — which is ten times higher than your average high-street brand. But the killer detail for me is the wide, seam-free waistband, which looks positively lingerie-ish and in the low waistband version verges on va-va-voom.
Tights are usually guaranteed man-repellers. Heist has conjured up the impossible: come-hither hosiery. This probably has something to do with the fact that the brand was launched by a man, Edzard van der Wyck, and an uxorious man to boot (what better qualification for the job?). Van der Wyck tells me he “couldn’t believe there wasn’t a better quality of tights for my wife to buy”. Heist is a love letter of sorts.
That’s why these are the nylons to get your marriage out of a tight(s) spot; just what’s needed during so-called divorce month. They start at £19 for the 30 denier, £20 for the 50 denier, with free next-day delivery (heist-studios.com).
Stars in your ears
I am not even going to pretend to you that I am not fed up about being a Capricorn. Assuredly it’s the worst star sign. Why? Because it means your birthday is depressingly close to Christmas, either lost in the festive melée or, far worse, sunk in the detox despond of January.
Then your zodiac symbol is the boring old goat, and the best you have to offer the world is being “trustworthy”, “practical” and “conservative”. Baaaa, or whatever the caprine equivalent is (we don’t even get our own onomatopoeia).
About the only thing that has carried me through my birthday week this year is the twinkle in my eye — or rather ear — that is Louis Vuitton’s new range of Fortune earrings. There’s a different one for each sign of the zodiac, the emphasis being on one, given that the earrings are sold individually, this being fashion land and all, and fashion land having decreed the single earring the auricular ne plus ultra.
The Capricorn design manages to turn even a goat into a style statement, though typically it’s not a patch on the Aquarius one, with its beautiful watery rivulets (brass with gold finishing, £245,louisvuitton.co.uk). If my parents could just have held off for a couple of weeks.