Shawl or nothing; n THE STYLE POLICE n
The fashion mafia are in ecstasies over pashmina. It's a lot of fuss for a woolly scarf, says James Sherwood
Sunday 20 December 1998
Many a talking head in the fashion industry has been photographed stroking their silk/cashmere muff and purring, "How did I survive those gruelling Concorde moments before I bought my pashmina?". Photographer Mario Testino, model Helena Christensen and designer Matthew Williamson are all members of this petit style clique.
Let Style Police elucidate before going in for the kill. Pashmina is a fabric, roughly 65 per cent finest cashmere and 35 per cent silk, which is softer to the touch than a cloud of chinchilla. A "pashmina" is a voluminous shawl, predominantly sourced in Kathmandu, made of aforementioned fabric which said fashion mafia drape elegantly around the thorax.
In December Vogue, we were let into half a secret. William Welstead - "The pashmina milkman" - makes a very comfortable living lurking outside Conde Nast with a colour sample chart of pashmina off-cuts tucked into his mac lining. That darned elusive Welstead will supply pashmina addicts with their fix from his regular buying trips to Kathmandu for one third of the pounds 300 kosher price tag.
Rather disingenuously, Vogue reports, "Movie stars and moguls are privy to [Welstead's] mobile number but the rest of us can buy one of his pashminas, pounds 230, from The Cross." Come now, don't be coy. Shouldn't that be Liz Hurley, the entire staff of Vogue and every PR in London are privy to this magic mobile number? Fashion loves nothing more than the "We know something you don't" line. This might explain why the industry has been in a lather about the pashmina all year and nobody took a blind bit of notice. It's hardly a secret on par with "who murdered Marilyn?" that The Scotch House has been bumping out delicious pashmina scarves with pretty glass bead trim for pounds 95 for a dog's age.
Being the season of goodwill and all, Style Police is not going to savage the pashmina in Scrooge-like fashion. No, the point is that "must-haves" like the pashmina or the Fendi "Baguette" are invariably "don't care" issues for most of us. Frankly, must-haves quickly lose their fashion bite. You wanna wear it first, milk the applause and then give it to a relative for Christmas before the wannabes catch-up.
There is nothing like the dash of a scarf thrown over the shoulder in an insouciant fashion. Style Police was the first to applaud the return of the stole this autumn/winter. We loved it when you bought antique mink stoles from the chazza shops. We gave a laudatory whoop when you started buying fine mohair picnic blankets and draping them round the shoulder like a latter-day Babushka. We practically reached orgasm when Browns Focus first imported Poem Crown silk duvet-padded scarves.
The catwalk revived the Fifties cape and, despite some idiot christening it a Shrug, we went wild for this new addition to Nineties fashion. Shoulders were practically invented for a theatrical drape of fabric. A pashmina may float your boat but to the rest of the world it still looks like a scarf. The real story for autumn/winter is the way you improvise. Each to their own, and never let it be said Style Police advocates cloning.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Astrological signs are almost all wrong, as movement of moon and sun throws out zodiac
The distress of some Zayn Malik fans is real, and they need support, say experts
NHS property sale could raise £7.5bn to help pay off its growing deficit and free up space for housing
Gay marriage, one year on: Couples mark first anniversary of same-sex marriages
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Yorkshire man to win £10,000 off a £1 bet placed six years ago if Dan Jarvis becomes Labour Party leader
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 4 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 5 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...