Susannah Frankel: Ready To Wear

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Indy Lifestyle Online

It's always gratifying when one of fashion's favoured sons receives attention from those working outside the industry. Even the fact that the pages of Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho, for example, feature great swathes of text which appear to be, well, let's just say "heavily influenced" by the august tradition of fashion writing more usually to be found in American GQ is a cause for celebration. Similarly, the importance of fashion to a far greater novel – Marcel Proust's Remembrance of Things Past – can't fail but lend a certain degree of gravitas to a subject that is all-too-often dismissed as flighty. The latter is, of course, the fashion snob's reference par excellence.

What to make, then, of Stacey Slater's status as the new Vivienne Westwood at the rather less haute end of the market that is EastEnders?

Ms Slater – a woman who thinks nothing of sleeping with her fiancé's "farver" – runs the "fashion" stall at Walford (two tops for a monkey, or should that be a pony?) and, as such, has long provided the programme-makers with an opportunity to show that they have their finger on the pulse. The same cannot be said of Coronation Street, where the off-the-shoulder peasant-top still, bewilderingly, rules at the Rover's Return and where Liz Macdonald's cleavage and Rita Sullivan's shoulder-pads are more high-camp than high-fashion.

Our heroine this week, though, is rather more up to the minute than that. Consider her faux-fur bomber-jacket which preceded Miuccia Prada's production of clothing on a similar theme by a season. True, it's more mangey mutt than teddy-bear in flavour, but don't let that put you off. Mrs P's satellite dish picks up the BBC, clearly.

Now, the character is cementing her position as fashion icon to the masses by applying to fashion college in (where else?) East London. During her first interview – screened last Thursday and just as doomed as might be expected – she was advised that there were no places on the course in question but she might like to try for a similar one in Croydon; a slap in the face for anyone born within the sound of the Bow bells if ever there was one.

"I like that Christopher Bailey," she warbled, though whether he likes her is a different matter. "And Giles Deacon," she continued. Deacon is not only pleasingly obscure but also – would you Adam and Eve it? – works down the road from Albert Square. Okay, so it's not great French literature, but the designer will no doubt be delighted by his new-found status as household name. "He's original," according to the soap star. And coming from Stacey Slater...

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