If you could choose just one, money-no-object outfit, what would it be? Four generations of the Foord family told Melanie Rickey about their fantasy wardrobes
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The Independent Culture
What constitutes the perfect set of clothes - a "fantasy outfit"? Glamour and sophistication? Fit and flattery? Or simply something that suits, and works for everyday life? To find out, six members of one family were enlisted to tell us what, if they could have absolutely anything - and we meant anything - they would most like to wear. Kevin Foord (who took the pictures) got his mum Marilyn, dad Gordon, nan Peggy, brother Matt, sister Kim and her son Connor to describe their fantasy outfit to our stylist Charlie Harrington. Charlie then interpreted their desires for a day in the studio; their reactions, pleased or otherwise, are recorded overleaf.

For each member of the family, the concept of "fantasy" was initially very different. Peggy Snook, 85, wanted something in pink or lilac, though she didn't quite know what exactly. Perhaps something long with a matching hat and gloves? "I liked the cerise skirt-suit from Anne Harvey I wore to Kim's wedding," she said.

Marilyn, 54, wanted to be a glamour puss, but like most other family members wasn't particularly au fait with any designer labels - nor was she sure whether their clothes went up to a size 16. She knew which high- street stores she liked (including M&S), but was most excited by the idea of a trip to Harvey Nichols. It was a similar story for her daughter Kim, 32. Her first fantasy was to look like Julia Roberts in the red dress from Pretty Woman, but after deciding she'd "need a fantasy body to go with it", changed to wanting an outfit suitable for a society wedding or a summer garden party.

Both men said they would like designer suits, smart shoes and good watches. The detailed fantasy-choosing process took a whole evening for Gordon, 62 - but all of one minute for his 16-year-old son Matthew, who announced: "I would like a Giorgio Armani navy pinstripe suit, a white shirt, the tie Yves Saint Laurent designed for Chelsea Football Club, Patrick Cox loafers and a Tag Heuer watch."

For Connor, who is two and a half, the choice was simple. His mother thought he would look lovely in the children's ranges from Ralph Lauren or Gap - but then his uncle Kevin told us about Connor's love of the Tellytubbies. And although everyone learnt something when they actually tried their fantasies on for size, by far the happiest was Connor - he adored his Po suit so much he hasn't taken it off since.


"I had a wonderful day. I had my hair and make-up done, and the lady was very good. The outfit was very suitable, though I wouldn't have chosen it for myself. The scarf was very nice and had gold beading, but the skirt was far too short. Though the shoes were nice, they pinched and would have given me bunions [Peggy has very slim, size eight feet and has to shop in specialist stores]. But when I saw the end result I was very happy. I wish I could afford these things, but I can't as I'm a pensioner."


"On the day, we showed him Gap Kids clothes," said Connor's mum Kim (below centre), "but as soon as he saw the Po suit he grabbed it and put it on like a shot. He ran around all day shouting 'Po!' After the shoot he asked: 'Can I wear my Tellytubby tracksuit to nursery?' We let him wear the 'hat' to nursery and he has worn it every day since. By the end of the first week he had a little rash under his chin from where the Velcro fastening rubbed. He even sleeps with the suit by his side. I hope the novelty wears off soon."


"I usually wear a lot of sportswear [Matthew plays ice hockey for England], so when you asked about my fantasy wardrobe I knew I wanted Armani, as it's a label I will probably never be able to afford. At first I wanted to wear a shirt and tie with the suit, but Charlie, the stylist, said I should try a V-necked T-shirt. I preferred that in the end. The shoes were nice, but the best thing was the Tag Heuer watch. In all I thought I looked a lot older, and a lot richer. This is definitely my fantasy wardrobe."

Navy sparkle top, pounds 79.95, crepe tunic, pounds 69.95, and skirt (part of suit), pounds 269, all by Oliver James, from Harrods, Knightsbridge, SW1 (enq: 0171 730 1234); navy brocade pumps, pounds 149, by Emma Hope, 33 Amwell St, EC1 (enq: 0171 259 9566); scarf, pounds 125, by English Eccentrics, from Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, SW1 (enq: 0171 235 5000). TOTAL: pounds 623

Red 'Po' Tellytubbies outfit, pounds 25.99, available from Hamleys, 188-196 Regent Street, W1 (enq: 0171 734 3161). TOTAL: pounds 25.99

Navy pinstripe single-breasted suit, pounds 479, and V-neck T-shirt, pounds 109, both by Emporio Armani, 191 Brompton Rd, SW3 (enq: 0171 823 8818); loafers, pounds 130, by Patrick Cox, 30 Sloane St, SW1 (enq: 0171 730 8886); silver watch with gold face, pounds 920, by Tag Heuer, from a selection at Harrods, as before. TOTAL: pounds 1,638


"I originally wanted a charcoal-grey double-breasted suit from Ralph Lauren, but when I turned up for the shoot, all the suits Charlie had got in were single-breasted, which threw me. Still, when I put the suit on I thought it looked really nice. I might wear one now. The ribbon lace-up shoes by John Lobb were really excellent, they were comfortable and came with instructions and everything. I usually like to wear sports clothes, and at work the dress code is fairly casual, so it was nice to get dressed up and wear a tie. At the time I thought 'this is terrific'. I wanted to wear it home."


"I liked this outfit a lot, though I wouldn't have chosen it for myself. The trousers were really long. I'm 5'6 and they were almost one foot too long for me, it was extraordinary. We had to pin them up a lot. The jacket was a size 12 and fitted really well. I like trouser suits, they are practical and smart, and this was a lovely one. It wasn't really a complete fantasy for me because I could potentially buy it for myself, but I would wear this for a business meeting or for a wedding. Overall I was very pleased."


"When we went shopping I saw a fabulous green/blue suit by Christian Dior. When I tried it, it was absolutely perfect, but they wouldn't release it to us so we chose a Galliano suit instead, which was lovely, but it wasn't my fantasy. I felt like I was wearing the designer's personality, and needed a cigarette holder and a cocktail to go with it. I also felt very self-conscious, exposed, and I couldn't move around in it very easily because it was so fitted. But everyone said I looked nice, and I did love the shoes, they were brilliant. Best of all was seeing Matt looking so grown up - that was lovely."

Grey single-breasted suit, pounds 1,975, by Ralph Lauren, 143 New Bond St, W1 (enq: 0171 491 4967); blue shirt, pounds 60, by Yves Saint Laurent, 36 Long Acre, WC2 (enq: 0171 379 0061); shoes, pounds 400, by John Lobb, 88 Jermyn St, SW1 (enq: 0171 930 8089); watch, pounds 665, by Gucci, from good jewellers nationwide (enq: 0171 371 7795). TOTAL: pounds 3,046

Lilac/pink jacket, pounds 295, and turn-up trousers, pounds 119, by Joseph, from Fenwicks, 63 New Bond Street, W1 (enq: 0171 629 9161); grey sleeveless top, pounds 55, by Maska, from Harvey Nichols, as before; cream leather high-heeled shoes, pounds 215, by Gina, 189 Sloane Street, SW1 (enq: 0171 235 2932). TOTAL: pounds 684

Plum multi-striped fitted jacket, pounds 1,305, and plum silk bias-cut shift dress with fluted hem, pounds 559, both by John Galliano, from Liberty, 210-220 Regent St, W1 (enq: 0171 734 1234); plum three-strap sandals, pounds 125, by Russell & Bromley, 24-25 Old Bond St, W1, and branches nationwide (enq: 0171 629 6903). TOTAL: pounds 1,989