Fashion: sweater girls

You don't need the body of Lana Turner to look fabulous in a sweater. But it helps. These are clothes that need a few curves to transform them from homely knits to glamour pieces. If you've got it, flaunt it. So pull out that pointy bra from the back of your knicker drawer, and snuggle into something stretchy. Styling by Philippa Duck. Photographs by Desmond Muckian
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Knitwear is a boon and a blessing to womankind. It keeps us warm. You can (usually) throw it in the washing machine. It is stretchy and comfortable. It can be as synthetic or as natural as you want it to be. And it can look as glamorous as you please.

Take the humble cardigan. This simple garment, once knitted by the drawer-full by granny, has emerged as one of the wardrobe staples of the Nineties. While the structured jacket still has its place in the working wardrobe, it has been slowly inched out by the knitted variety. Somehow, a cardigan just feels right; it doesn't restrict movement and can still be a status symbol if it is made of cashmere and has the right buttons. Print it with leopard spots, of course, and you have no choice but to be a glamour puss in the great tradition of 1950s Hollywood.

Then there's the knitted dress. The Irish designer Lainey Keogh has proved that you don't have to be a size 10 to wear her intricate hand knits. Her favourite model is the voluptuous Sophie Dahl. After her show for spring/summer '98, she dressed the matronly curves of Marianne Faithfull in a sweater dress worn over a corset, not unlike some of the combinations on these pages.

The young Welsh designer Julian Macdonald is also responsible for making knitwear glamorous again. His lacy cobwebs cling to the curves of the body with the addition of sequins and beads for some night-time sparkle. Both Keogh and Macdonald have lists of celebrities queuing up to buy their clothes, including Isabella Rossellini, Meg Ryan and Sharon Stone. Some things never change. Hollywood starlets' penchant for mohair, cashmere and clingy wool is one of them. Tamsin Blanchard

Mohair skirt, pounds 300, by Lainey Keogh, from Liberty, Regent Street, London W1, A La Mode, 36 Hans Crescent, London SW1, Square, 3-4 The Corridor, Bath, Room 7, 64 Street Lane, Roundhay, Leeds, enquiries 003531-679 3299; sweater by Fake, available from Browns, 23-27 South Molton Street, London W1. Armchair (part of set), pounds 850 and lamp, pounds 250 from Out of Time, 21 Canonbury Lane, London N1, enquiries, 0171-354 5755

This page Black satin corset, made to order by Mr Pearl for Antonio Berardi, enquiries 0171-836 4265; leopard print cardigan, pounds 35, by Miss Selfridge, 221-223 Oxford Street, London W1 and branches nationwide, enquiries 0181-910 1359. Right Chocolate brown V-neck sweater with chevron, pounds 350 worn with brown tweed split skirt, pounds 170, both by Katharine Hamnett, 20 Sloane Street, London SW1, 38 Princes Square, Glasgow, enquiries 0171-823 1002; Tactel knickers, pounds 7, by Marks & Spencer, 488 Oxford Street, London W1 and branches nationwide, enquiries 0171-935 4422.

Pale yellow lambswool tube dress with sequin motif, pounds 72, worn over polyamide boob tube, pounds 55, both by Jean Colonna, available from Brother to Brother, 202 West Street, Sheffield. Stylist Assistant Holly Davies

Hair Philippe Baligan

Make-up Cynthia Baligan

Model Sarah Holland