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People and business: Davies moves in stately style

LIZ DAVIES has joined Birchin International as managing director in charge of styling, to spruce up the AIM-listed company's three stately homes which have been converted to conference centres.

Ms Davies was the creative force behind the 1980s fashion icon Next which she founded with her former husband George Davies. In 1992 she moved to Mothercare to work with Ann Iversen, and was expected by the industry to follow Ms Iversen to Laura Ashley.

Perhaps wisely, she didn't, and instead founded her own retail design consultancy, working for the likes of Tesco and Storehouse.

Now Ms Davies's job is to "bring some coherence" to Birchin's three country houses - Eynsham Hall in Yorkshire, Chewton Place in Oxfordshire and Swinton Castle in Bristol.