The fashion month

Diana's death stole the fashion headlines this month, with pages devoted to celebrating her dress sense; new style mag `Frank' hit the newsstands; `Full Monty' stars turned designer terrorists, while the Spice Girls turned supermodels; and Patsy Kensit swapped Prada for Etam
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Dressing up Diana

Fashion Paid its last respects to Diana, Princess of Wales, this month, and just as the public at large turned a particularly pleasant person into a saint, so the fashion press have finally taken to their hearts a princess they once scorned for her Euro-trash chic.

The glossies loved to photograph Diana, especially if they could get her to wear something simple that didn't glitter. It was a major coup when Vogue got her into a black polo-neck for their famous Patrick Demarchelier shoot in October 1991. Now it is different. Ultra-glam Di featured in special tributes in Vogue, Vanity Fair and Elle, with only Harpers & Queen going for an "at home with the little princes" look. Her favourite Demarchelier shot - wearing a tangerine dress - appeared on Vogue, and Vanity Fair printed unpublished photographs from the famous Testino/ Versace session.

The definitive tribute came from Vogue's deputy editor Anna Harvey. She had helped Diana make wardrobe decisions from the beginning of her public life, and was largely responsible for the transformation from Sloane duckling to designer-clad swan. "She really had nothing in her wardrobe," says Harvey, "a few Laura Ashley blouses and skirts and some bobbly jumpers." The tone is apologetic, as if Anna had tried her best but Diana insisted on wearing the odd mistake. She just couldn't get her away from large fake jewellery, the "Dynasty Di" one-shouldered dresses or the heavy black khol. "She'd ask advice but not necessarily take it," says Harvey.

Newspaper tributes skirted around the disasters. "Despite dressing in Versace, she could never look tarty," said Allison Pearson in the Daily Telegraph. "She was our very own Jackie O," said Mimi Spencer in the Evening Standard. "As a style icon of the late 20th century, Diana will have no equal."

Diana did not always enjoy such sympathy. When it was announced that she would auction her gowns at Christie's, Grace Bradberry of the Times claimed it "will be seen as a history of fashion gaffes". And when she did dump "Dynasty Di" for "Dior Di" last December in New York, she was accused of sleep-walking. "The problem" said Brenda Polan in the Daily Mail, "is that it looked like she had accidentally stepped out in her nightie."

The truth is that, even without the occasional gaffe, the fashionable cognoscenti found Diana's dress sense conventional and unadventurous - and sometimes even faintly vulgar. The uniform of upper-class British womanhood is a million miles from the rarified atmosphere of catwalk and couture house (come to think of it, the woman who both likes and can afford cutting-edge couture is a rare creature indeed). So, while Diana as cover girl sold magazines, in private, fashion folk were far from adulatory. What they chose to ignore was that ordinary punters adored her look.

"What she wore was more relevant to the woman on the street than what we see on the catwalk," says one insider. "Most women can't relate to high fashion, but they could aspire to what she wore. She had a certain style - the very tailored pastel suits, for example. She knew her clothes were a kind of sign language, and any designer on the planet was thrilled when she commissioned them."

Who Shot What Who Shot What Who Shot What+

RUBBING shoulders with the Eighties look is the new embroidery. It popped up as folk art in Vogue and Scene, went eastern in the Times and was teamed with tweeds for a "nonchalant" look in Elle.

Cover girls included The Spices on Elle (right), plus a six-page spread, Kylie on Esquire and Liz Hurley on Arena.

The glossies got supplement-mania, with New Woman offering the best free addition: a no-nonsense "shop your way around the high street" booklet with 500 ideas for under pounds 100 each. Unpretentious and indispensable. Others included Elle's high-street fashion guide and Harpers & Queen's holiday guide.

The gals were out, as blue bloods modelled for Vogue and India Hicks, granddaughter of the late Lord Mountbatten, shoved on a few Indian-style frocks for the Times Magazine.

Daftest fashion item of the month: A pounds 125 leather chewing-gum holder from Hermes. For those who are a few sticks short of a packet.

High profiles this month included John Galliano in Vogue, the Gucci feuds in Esquire, Dries van Noten in Scene, Joseph's new menswear shop in the Independent Saturday Magazine, Helmut Newton in Elle and catwalk hair stylist Guido in the Independent on Sunday's Real Life.

To fake or not to fake? No one's sure. i-D and Harper's & Queen both featured fake, except for pony-skin coats. Vogue hedged its bets with fake-fur trims.

Jewellery got fierce. Vogue profiled Slim Barrett, ex-RCA fine artist Dai Rees was in the Evening Standard, Scott Wilson adorned the Guardian Weekend.

Ruby red was hot in ES magazine and Elle, which also went back to black. Brown staggered on its last legs, but got a mention in the Sunday Telegraph Magazine. The Daily Mail showed us "how to look gorgeous in grey".

Fashion got ironic, with new magazine Frank (right) and the revamped Modern Review. Frank's main fashion model flaunted a ripe, pregnant belly while romping in a field. Modern Review dressed up a toilet-roll-holder dolly in mini haute couture. It's not knit yourself an orgasm, it's glue yourself to lateral thinking.

The Guardian presented its joint style awards with Elle, which included Kate Moss (best model), Naomi Campbell (style icon) and Jean-Paul Gaultier (best international designer).

London Fashion Week previews centred on McQueen (Time Out, ES magazine) and The New Generation, a group of emerging designers, with ex-Ghost Seraph and knitwear designer Julien McDonald getting the lion's share of the publicity.

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RED OR Dead has created a 50-page website that reflects its design skill and slightly "unhinged" humour, while IT giants Intel held a "PC is in Fashion" event, which featured 12 PCs on a runway "wearing" the latest software designs, according to the Times. Cyber, man.

Patsy Kensit (right) is quitting the catwalk because she's vertically challenged. "I'm too short," she says in the Mirror. But she's done a nice bit of posing for Etam, including preview shots for OK! and a lovely double-page ad in New Woman.

Naomi Campbell helped raise more than pounds 100,000 for Jamaican sick and disabled children's charities by attending a special fund-raising lunch at the Intercontinental Hotel in London, said Voice, while Esquire gave a list of 30 reasons why you should love her.

The Daily Telegraph, along with STA Travel and student mag Fresh Direction, launched a model competition. Apparently, it won't be the usual find the vapid-beanpole-of-tomorrow vehicle, but, rather, is aimed at students with personality and looks.

According to the Guardian, Christie Brinkley is suing the National Enquirer for intimating that she has an irrational fear of cows.

Jemima Khan, revealed Harpers & Queen, has her shalwar kameez designs by Sheikh Amer Hassan faxed to her from London and made up in Lahore.

The fluffy world of women's magazine publisher IPC was thrown into turmoil this month. The Daily Telegraph reported that Mark Howard, a features writer on Woman's Realm, felt he was treated callously by editor Kathy Watson. He turned up for work an hour late because his daughter had fallen seriously ill, only to be sacked on the spot. Phew! Where are the fluffy bunny knitting patterns when you need them?

According to the Times Magazine, Naomi, 27, is 59 in the UK's top 100 rich kids with a pounds 3 million fortune, while Kate Moss, 23, is at number 68.

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`It's a counsel of perfection'

Milliner Stephen Jones on his working relationship with John Galliano, Vogue

`In terms of diversionary tactics, this is a fabulous season for women with big hips, huge bums and tricky goings-on in the calf/knee/ankle department.'

Judy Rumbold on Autumn/Winter haute couture, Elle

`This is the problem with going out as somebody else's idea - you end up looking more like them than a person you actually recognise.'

Charlotte Raven on over-stated designer clothes, Modern Review

`Shakespeare would have adored the Guccis.'

Esquire on the snaffle family's monumental in-fighting.

`I wouldn't like to see my designs on everyone. I'd go fucking mad.'

Alexander McQueen, Time Out

`Attitude's fine, as long as it goes hand in hand with beauty.'

Chrissie Castagnetti, talent scout for Select Model Management, on searching out new faces of tomorrow

Hit Of The Month

MODEL OF the month in FM is Mark Addy, star of The Full Monty, who appeared in a spoof cK one ad (above) for just one weekend to promote the film. "It was a one-off guerrilla thing," says an inside source. "We don't want to get Calvin Klein's back up. But you know what they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery." However, news breaks that another Full Monty star, Steve Huison, will appear in an Escape spoof and will be blowing his trumpet in ES and the Independent. Does this mean Kate Moss will be growing a beer belly and taking up the trombone? Hope so.

Business News

MARKS & SPENCER group chairman, Sir Richard Greenbury, is planning to bring its upmarket Brooks Brothers clothing concept, which retails "dress- down Friday" menswear, into the UK and Europe.

Source: Sunday Telegraph

Lingerie chain La Senza revealed losses for the last six months up 77 per cent to pounds 2.9 million and estimated it would probably plunge deeper into the red for the full year.

Source: The Guardian, The Telegraph & The Independent

Elizabeth Emanuel has been rescued from the brink of bankruptcy by self- made millionaire Shami Ahmed of Joe Bloggs fame.

Source: The Guardian

Allegra Beck, the late Gianni Versace's 11-year-old niece, will inherit the designer's 50 per cent stake in the Versace empire, estimated at pounds 40 million.

Source: The Guardian & The Mirror

Swim and sportswear designer Sam De Tern and gothic designer Maria Grachvogel have both created cheaper designer collections exclusively for Debenhams. Grachvogel's range will appear in the shops from 6 October with De Tern's apres-ski collection arriving later in the month.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

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