Clever fashion shoppers spend more to get best bargains

NEW YEAR SALES GUIDE

FOR THOSE lucky enough to have some cash or credit at their fingertips, now is the best time to buy fashion.

In this instance "now", and "fashion" are the key words. For we are not talking about average clothes.

Real fashion is aspirational - it is what we quietly wish for, not what we actually buy. That is why this year, and into the next one, fashion sale shopping should be approached in a new, less haphazard, way, which we will call "blueprint buying".

The idea is to pick out preferred designers and a few desired "looks" from the latest glossy magazines.

In the January issues of the main fashion magazines, urban utility chic, luxury minimalism, bohemian and the romantic hippy look get a strong airing, as do colours. Next year every colour - apart from black - will make a huge impact. The most important will be shades of pink, red and yellow.

Once a few decisions have been made (tear out chosen pages and take them shopping to keep the mind focused), it is time to buy these autumn/ winter pieces with the view that they will be worn continually throughout the year.

This will involve spending proper money; but isn't it better to have paid pounds 250 (rather than pounds 400) for a Matthew Williamson snowflake cashmere jumper from Browns, or a black Ann Demeulemeester suit - jacket pounds 275 (from pounds 405), trousers pounds 110 (from pounds 189) - from Liberty?

These clothes are instantly recognisable as expensive, covetable items, and ones that upgrade an outfit from just OK into absolutely fabulous.

The best places to make crucial blueprint buys are independently owned designer boutiques with varied stock, and designer-owned stores such as Chanel, Gucci and Prada who can make big markdowns on their merchandise.

Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Glasgow and, of course, London are the best cities to find them, although large towns usually have two or three high- fashion boutiques.

In Barnsley, Pollyanna has up to 50 per cent off labels such as Yohji Yamamoto, Martin Margiela and Commes des Garcons. In Glasgow, Cruise has up to 50 per cent off Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Gucci for men and women.

In Wimbledon Village, south-west London, Matches has a Prada raincoat for pounds 239 (from pounds 435), and a Dries Van Noten print dress at pounds 180 (from pounds 362).

At Betty Jackson's London boutique one of her wonderful sheepskin jackets is pounds 862 (from pounds 1,000), and at John Rocha's recently opened boutique there are bargains galore, especially on trans-seasonal organza dresses, pounds 315 (from pounds 450), silk satin skirts, pounds 111 (from pounds 159) and delicately embroidered tops pounds 278 (from pounds 397).

The choices are fairly wide at the beginning of the sales, but the closet blueprint buyers will be out in force, snapping up the pieces they have had their eyes on for weeks.

After all, why pay pounds 500 for a dress, safe in the knowledge that seven days later it will be pounds 250? Why indeed.

Best Of The Fashion Sales

Specialist boutiques

A La Mode, 36 Hans Crescent, London SW1; 0171-584 2133; sale from 28 December to 10 January

Alberta Ferreti, 205-206 Sloane Street; 0171-235 234; 28 December to January 31

Ally Capellino, 66 Sloane Street, London SW3; 0171-591 8201; from 2 January

Betty Jackson, 311 Brompton Road, London SW3; 0171-589 7884; 29 December

Biba, 15 Shorts Gardens, Covent Garden, London WC2; 0171-359 3699; sale now on

Browns, 23-27 South Molton Street, London W1; 0171-491 7833; 9 January

Browns Focus, 38/39 South Molton Street, London W1; 0171-629 0666; 9 January

cK Calvin Klein, 55 New Bond Street, London W1; 0171-491 9696; 27 December

Chanel, 26 Old Bond Street, London W1, 0171-493 5040; 167-170 Sloane Street, London SW1, 0171-235 6631; 6 to 16 January

Christian Dior, 22 Sloane Street, London SW1; 0171-235 1357; 29 December

Comme des Garcons, 59 Brook Street, London W1; 0171-493 1258; sale now on until mid-January

Corniche, 2 Jeffrey Street, Edinburgh EH1; 0131-556 3707; 1 January

Cruise, 180-188 Ingram Street, Glasgow G1; 0141-572 3232; 26 December until the end of January

DA Lilliard, 44 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, London WC2; 0171-379 8399; 29 December

Dolce & Gabbana, 175 Sloane Street, London SW1; 0171-235 0335; 29 December until 20 January

DKNY, 27 Old Bond Street, London W1; 0171-499 8089

Donna Karan, 19 New Bond Street, London W1; 0171-495 3100; 27 December until mid-January

Egg, 36 Kinnerton Street, London SW1;, 0171-235 9315; 19 January for two weeks

Emporio Armani, 191 Brompton Road, London SW3; 0171-823 8818; 27 December until January 10

Flannels, 4 St Ann's Place, Manchester, M2; 0161-832 5536 for branches in Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle and Birmingham; 27 December until stock lasts

Georgina von Etzdorf, 50 Burlington Arcade, London W1; 0171-409 7789; 30 December until stock lasts

Ghost, 14 Hinde Street, London W1; 36 Ledbury Road, London W11; 0171- 229 1057; 29 December

Giorgio Armani, 37 Sloane Street, London SW1; 0171-235 6232; 27 December until January 10 (approx)

Gina Shoes, 189 Sloane Street, London SW1; 0171-235 2932; from now until end of January

Graham & Green, 10 Elgin Crescent, London, W11; 0171-727 4594; 5 January

Gucci, 33 Old Bond Street, London W1; 18 Sloane Street, SW1; 0171-629 2716; 2 January

Hermes, 155 New Bond Street, London W1; 179 Sloane Street, London SW1; 0171-499 8856; 16 January

Issey Miyake, 270 Brompton Road, London SW3; 0171-581 3760; 28 December for three weeks

Jane Davidson, 52 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2; 0131-225 3280; 28 December

Jean Paul Gaultier, 171-175 Draycott Avenue, London SW3; 0171-584 4648; now until end of January

John Lobb, 88 Jermyn Street, London SW1; 0171-930 8089; 28 December

John Rocha, 60F Sloane Avenue, London SW3; 0171-838 0017; 28 December

Jones, 15 Floral Street and 13 Floral Street, Covent Garden, London WC1; 0171-240 8312; 6 January

Joseph, 77 Fulham Road, London SW3, 26 Sloane Street, London SW1; 23 Old Bond Street, London W1; 0171-823 9500; other Joseph branches; 28 December

Joseph Azagury, 117 Walton Street, London SW3 and 73 Knightsbridge, London SW1; 0171-259 6887; now until end of January

Katherine Hamnett, 20 Sloane Street, London SW1; 0171-823 1002; 28 December

Koh Samui, 65 Monmouth Street, London WC2; 0171-240 4280 and 28 Lowndes Street, Knightsbridge, London SW1; 0171-838 9292; 29 December

Krizia, 25 Conduit Street, London W, 0171-491 4987/8; sale now on

LK Bennett, 31 Brook Street, London W1; call 0171-491 3005 for other branches; sale now on

Manolo Blahnik, 49 Old Church Street, London SW3; 0171-352 8622; 8 January

Margaret Howell, 29 Beauchamp Place, London SW3, 24 Brook Street, London W1; 36 Savile Row (menswear); 0171-584 2462; 29 December

Matches, 34 & 56 High Street, Wimbledon Village, London SW19; 13 Hill Street, Richmond, Surrey; 0181-947 8707; 28 December

Mulberry, 41-42 New Bond Street, London W1; Gees Court, London W1; 0171- 491 3900; 27 December

N Peal, 37 Burlington Arcade (women), London W1; 71 Burlington Arcade, London W1, 192 Piccadilly, London W1 (men); 0171-493 5378; 28 December

Nicole Farhi,158 New Bond Street, London W1; 193 Sloane Street, London SW1; 0171-499 8368 for other stores; sale now on

Patrick Cox, 129 Sloane Street, London SW1; 0171-730 8886; 81 King Street, Manchester M2; 0161-819 5336; 27 December London branch; sale now on in Manchester

Paul Smith, 40-44 Floral Street, Covent Garden, London WC2; 0171-379 7133 for Manchester, Nottingham and other branches; 2 January

Pleats Please, 20 Brook Street, London W1; 0171-495 2306; 28 December

Pollyanna, 14-16 Market Hill, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70; 01226-291665; 2 January

Polo Ralph Lauren, 143 New Bond Street, London W1; 0171-491 4967. Sale starts 2 January until the end of January

Prada, 43-45 Sloane Street, London SW1; 0171-235 0008; January

Richard James, 31 Savile Row, London W1, 0171-434 0606; 9 January

Sam de Teran, 151 Fulham Road, London SW6; 0171-584 0902; 4 January

Thierry Mugler, 134 New Bond Street, London W1, 0171-629 7020; now until 12 January

The Cross, 141 Portland Road, Holland Park, London W11; 0171-727 6760; 11 January

Valentino, 174 Sloane Street, London SW1; 160 New Bond Street, London W1; 0171-235 5855; sale now on

Van Mildert, 19-21 Elvert Bridge, Durham DH1; 0191-384 8500; 27 December

Versace, 34-36 Old Bond Street, London W1; 0171-499 1862; 6 January

Versus Jeans Couture, 113-115 New Bond Street, London W1; 0171-355 2700; 4 January

Vivienne Westwood Man & Red Label and Anglomania, 44 Conduit Street, London W1; 0171-439 1109; Gold Label, 6 Davies Street, London W1; 0171- 629 3757; 15-17 County Arcade, Victoria Quarter, Leeds; 01132 456403; first week in January

World's End, 430 King's Road, London SW10; 0171-352 6551; first week in January

Whistles, 12 St Christopher's Place, London, W1; 0171-487 4484; now on

Yohji Yamamoto, 14-15 Conduit Street, London W1; 0171-4891 4129; sale now on for at least a month

Yves Saint Laurent, Rive Gauche Men and Women, 33 Sloane Street, London, SW1; 0171-235 5839; Rive Gauche Women, 137 New Bond Street, London W1; 0171-493 1800; 29 December

Department stores

Barkers, Kensington High Street, London W8; 0171-937 5432; 27 December

Debenhams; 0171-408 4444; 26 December Scotland and Manchester; 27 December elsewhere

Dickins & Jones, Regent Street, London W1; 0171-734 7070; 27 December

Fenwick, 63 New Bond Street, London W1; 0171-629 9161 for other branches; 27 and 28 December

Harrods, Knightsbridge, London SW1, 0171-730 1234; 6 January

Harvey Nichols, London,SW1, 0171-235 5000; 27 December

Liberty, Regent Street, London W1; 0171-734 1234; 27 December

Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London W1; freephone 0800-123400; Manchester 26 December; London 27 December

Adam Fulcher

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