Fashion: Off the peg: A new diary every season? Yes, darling, as long as it's a Smythson

Have you ever seen two fashion editors

play product poker on the front row at the catwalk shows? It is a no-cards-necessary duel. Grande Dame X perches on her gilded seat shrouded in a charcoal grey pashmina shawl. Grande Dame Y perches next to her and casually fingers her shahtoosh stole. Made from the soft underbelly fur of Tibetan antelopes, shahtoosh is expensive and - unlike pashmina - illegal. Game on.

Madame X pulls a silver Mont Blanc pen from her black leather Dunhill clutch bag. With a sly sideways glance, Madame Y "accidentally" drops a pair of sterling silver Gucci handcuffs from her Prada purse. With a flourish, Madame X takes out her Smythson baby-pink glove-leather notebook. Game to Madame X.

Smythson's pink leather notebook, embossed with the legend "Think Pink", is as rare as a Tibetan antelope's tummy and just as silky smooth. It was the key piece in Smythson's spring/summer stationery collection and fashion editors would give the blood of their first-born to possess one.

The fact that Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, photographer Mario Testino and designer Antonio Berardi are Smythson devotees is not in itself particularly mind-blowing unless, of course, you're a fashion editor. Smythson is significant because it has successfully given a Nineties face-lift to a brand born in 1887. Smythson has a fistful of Royal warrants and could list Grace Kelly, Sigmund Freud and Cecil Beaton as illustrious past customers. But what it couldn't do was entice the new generation - until creative director Samantha Cameron decided to "Think Pink".

You'd think our race towards the millennium with e-mail and the Internet would have killed the bespoke stationery business. "Quite the opposite," says Cameron. "Writing letters and sending invitations has become a luxury and luxury is a key word in fashion. I've noticed people want more ostentatious invitations, diaries and stationery. Pieces must reflect their personality and their times."

"Think Pink" (pounds 25) and the Smythson fashion diary are just the beginning in Smythson's hip replacement (bear in mind this store still sells "Game Books" and "Opera Diaries"). Cameron's genius is in preserving the Smythson charm while subtly paring down the classic products to appeal to modernists. So, gradually, the oxblood leather desk sets give way to pieces such as Cameron's minimal camel-coloured leather secretaire which would segue effortlessly into a Wallpaper room set.

For autumn/winter '98, Cameron has produced a limited edition box (pounds 19) of correspondence cards and envelopes in the season's signature dove-grey. Each card has a peacock feather attached. Smythson also has a bespoke service and can produce the fashion diary in any colour you desire. One eccentric Smythson client orders the season's new colour stationery and then demands the tissue lining in the envelopes and borders of letter paper match the colour of her lipstick. Now that's product poker. James Sherwood

Smythson of Bond Street, 40 New Bond Street, London W1, enquiries 0171- 629 8558.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Life and Style
fashion

News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news

Video: It is the type of thing no parent wants to hear

Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Network Manager / Senior Network Engineer

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning internet, do...

    Opilio Recruitment: Business Development Manager

    Competitive: Opilio Recruitment: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Bu...

    Recruitment Genius: Systems / Network Administrator

    £35000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning internet, do...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunity for someone l...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game