Is it worth it?Dress and go

This all-in-one designer garment promises to be all things to all women. Susannah Conway is unconvinced

I AM A Nineties girl with a Nineties problem: my wardrobe is filled with too many clothes. Every morning, I rifle through the rails looking for inspiration, then pull out the same old favourites from the day before. I find that although shopping is one of life's great pleasures, dressing isn't and my daily getting-ready-ritual leaves me with only seven minutes to dress in the morning. Any indecision leaves me running to the bus late again with a dry piece of toast in my mouth.

When I read about the StarckNaked (pounds 150) from hosiery experts Wolford, I hoped my dressing dilemma might be solved. Resembling a pair of opaque tights with a long, stretchy tube of fabric attached to the waist, it's a whole outfit in one garment and can be worn in three ways: as a skirt, a tube dress or a strappy dress (using the two attachable straps). What makes this hosiery innovation special is that it was designed by Philippe Starck, the avant-garde designer of posh hotel interiors and funky home furnishings. But does the ability to create fantastic door handles lend itself to designing wearable clothes for women?

Sophie Hedley, executive retail editor at Vogue, says, "It's a fantastic publicity vehicle and an inspired idea, but I don't think there will be very many women who will be able to carry it off."

Seamless and super-stretchy, you dive into the SN feet first as with normal tights, then struggle to pull the fabric up to your shoulders (imagine a giant sock). The SN can then be doubled over and pulled down to the desired length, starting from under your arms or waist. Halfway through, I felt like I was pulling a support bandage over my entire body.

The StarckNaked is like the fashion equivalent to a Pot Noodle - it seems all in one and a complete outfit, but there's not enough variety to make it as versatile as I'd want.

There are two key design problems that Starck has overlooked. Firstly, what happens if you ladder the tights? You can't whip 'em off and grab a new pair from your drawer. And how do you go to the toilet? This isn't sexy but it's a real problem, and I suspect sitting on the loo stark naked inspired the name.

Wolford don't mention on the packaging that you need to be a size 10 and that it should only be worn in the morning, before eating, to ensure a flat tummy. Testing it in the evening I was aware of every lump and bump - I'm a healthy size 10/12 - but my partner loved it, pleased to see me out of trousers and trainers and into something girly. It's a sexy black dress but it won't revolutionise dressing and remember, you need buckets of confidence as well as pots of spare cash to wear it.

Wolford stockists enquiries: 0171 935 9202

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