Real Clothes: Haven't we met before?

Missed that classic last season? Well, here it is again
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Indy Lifestyle Online
In the Eighties, it was unthinkable that a designer would repeat an item from one season to the next - the status stymbol decade demanded that you ditch your entire wardrobe every year. But no longer. In recent times you may have noticed the odd piece making it through to a new season. I first became aware of this when Ben de Lisi said to me, "We always make this dress because the customer always asks for it," and I thought, "Wow, someone actually cares that I may have regretted not buying that fab dress/trousers last season, or want a second helping". And whereas once upon a time a designer would have died rather than admit they were carrying forward a style, now they positively trumpet this customer-friendly approach. Giorgio Armani has just this season launched "Easy Pieces", a small sub- collection of items whose shelf-life will stretch beyond six months. Joseph, whose "smoking trousers" (featured) have become a modern classic, also understands that customers like to come back to old favourites. If only Marks & Spencer's would realise this with its knickers and stop changing them just as soon as you find a pair you like.

Styled by ZO BROWN

Photographs by BECKY SMALL

Photographer assisted by Rebecca Hassett.

Make up by Sharon Willmore using A la Carte.

Hair by Giuseppe at Windle using Bumble & Bumble 0171 497 2393.

Modelled by Indre. Thanks to Katinka.

Black zip sport jacket (sizes 38-46), pounds 229, Emporio Armani, 191 Brompton Rd, London SW3 (tel: 0171 823 8818). Grey skirt (sizes s-l), pounds 58, APC, 40 Ledbury Road, London, W11 (tel: 0171 229 4933).

GIORGIO ARMANI: "Our Easy Pieces range comprises staples that a woman can buy all year around - essentials that can be mixed and matched with the new items of the season. The silhouettes are clean and simple, the fabrics and colours are basic."

Black godet dress (sizes 8-16), pounds 610, Ben de Lisi, 40 Lister Street, London SW1 (tel: 0171 730 2994).

BEN DE LISI "The reason I always have this dress in my collection is basically because it sells extremely well. It is ageless understated glamour. I have a saying you don't quit the dress until the dress quits you."

Black cotton shirt (sizes s-l), pounds 55 Agnes B, 58-62 Heath Street, Hampstead, London, NW3 (tel: 0171 225 3608). Grey fleck trousers (sizes 8-14), pounds 195, Streness, Harrods, London SW1 (tel: 0171 287 6767).

AGNES B "There are some pieces, like this shirt, that I always do. They are simple clothes that can be easily mixed together with newer pieces and fabrics every season. The intention is not to impose a trend, but to give everyone the opportunity to dress in a way that flatters them, and to use the clothes the way that they want to."

Grey flannel jacket, pounds 335, trousers (sizes 8-14), pounds 160, Bella Freud, Tendenza, 8 South Molton Street, London, W1 (tel: 0171 684 0234).

BELLA FREUD "When you get a good cut in a jacket it's something that you don't throw away. I may change a detail such as buttons or collar shape but I keep the silhouette the same. I"ve always loved trousers suits and this is an integral part of my collection."

Cream cashmere jumper (sizes s-l), pounds 239, olive wool trousers (sizes 6-16), pounds 199, both Nicole Farhi, 158 New Bond St, London W1, (tel: 0171 499 8368). Monogrammed mac (sizes s-xl), pounds 720, Louis Vuitton, 17-18 New Bond Street, London, W1, (tel: 0171 399 4050).

MARC JACOBS FOR LOUIS VUITTON "This Louis Vuitton raincoat is a classic piece that has become one of our best-sellers. It plays with the famous monogram and transcends the seasons."

Grey sleeveless jersey top (sizes 8-14), pounds 55, Base Elements, Harrods, Knightsbridge, London (tel: 0171 287 6767). Grey wool smoking trousers (sizes s-l), pounds 109, Joseph, 26 Sloane Street, London, SW1. 81 King Street, Manchester (tel: 0171 590 6200).

JOSEPH ETTEDGUI "Smoking trousers are my best-selling style. Everybody knows these trousers are designed by `Joseph' and this autumn I have decided to produce them in nearly all the chosen fabrics."