Strike a pose - in polyester

No 89: GRATTAN; PETER YORK ON ADS
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The Independent Culture
ONE quick way to imply connections with smart fashionland for brands that've never been within a mile of it is the "catwalk scene". Models, three abreast, doing the supermodels-with-attitude stride, were an Eighties icon.

Grattan, the mail-order people, have come to this mode somewhat late. In the 1980s catalogue selling went up-class, became niched, a service for busy, discriminating people with more to spend but no time to shop - rather than the recourse of hard-up young mothers who wanted credit. But hard-up young mothers are always with us, and Grattan are always there to serve them.

But the young mothers still need some reassurance that it's more than body covering, that it's good gear with labels - most of them rather modest - and a sense of style.

Thus our presenterine, who has more than a touch of Suzanne Mizzi, introduces "this season's fabulous Grattan fashion show" and a lot of polyester bowls along the catwalk. "Clothes for every occasion," she announces: "casual", "classics" and "evening wear"; all with a possible "next-day delivery service". But the presentation, the clothes, the models are all accessible: there's not the faintest danger of the terrifying apparition of Karl or Yves. Grattan rejects today's key ad trends; it's not a period pastiche, not played for laughs, not - even - in black and white. Instead it's all done cheaply, brightly and desperately cheerfully, a modest mid-80s gloss on the golden days when no one ever made jokes about polyester on national television.

! Video supplied by Tellex Commercials.

! CORRECTION: last week's review wrongly attributed the music in the Durex ad to Bjork; in fact it was composed by Chris Smith and Robert White, and sung by Naomi Eyers.

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