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.

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

    Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

    Early Years Educator

    £68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

    Nursery Nurse

    £69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

    Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

    £117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam