The ultimate jumble sale offers celebrity pass-me-downs

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The Independent Online

To the untrained eye, it is the type of well-cut and slightly outdated outfit favoured by women of a certain age on special occasions.

To the untrained eye, it is the type of well-cut and slightly outdated outfit favoured by women of a certain age on special occasions.

But the outfit has an infinitely more colourful political heritage than the average white trouser suit: it took centre stage at a photo call in Downing Street after Tony Blair's 2001 election victory.

Last night, the white suit, which used to belong to Cherie Blair, was among more than 3,000 items of clothing donated by celebrities in one of London's biggest jumble sales.

Hundreds of shoppers piled into Topshop in Oxford Street where the Jumbo Thrift Sale was raising money for the HIV-Aids charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust.

From the designer Sadie Frost and model Yasmin Le Bon to the photographer Poppy Villeneuve and the 1960s legend Twiggy, hundreds of leading lights of the fashion, film and arts worlds donated numerous covetable items of clothing.

In keeping with its reputation as a haven for schoolgirls and fashionistas alike, Topshop also ensured the prices ranged from as little as £2 to as much as £600. And in classic jumble stall style, it was clear the victors would emerge as those who were the best at the underrated art of rummaging.

Amid the piles of nylon nighties, hats and themed boxer shorts was a floral sleeveless baby doll dress, formerly belonging Sadie Frost and on sale for £65. Another find was an original Chanel beige suede jacket, on sale for £160. It was once the property of Yasmin Le Bon, who also donated a £160 vintage Forties-style polka-dot chiffon dress in a very unsupermodel-like size 12 .

Cherie's mulberry trouser suit, which also featured on the family Christmas card, was the leading contender for the most historically significant outfit, and a snip at £100.

Among the most expensive items was a floor-length feathered Yves Saint Laurent chiffon evening jacket which was on sale for £600.

The evening before, Anita Pallenberg and the stylist Bay Garnett hosted a celebrity auction, during which 14 selected outfits were sold, including a Vivienne Westwood number for £4,500.

Last night's sale took up the entire lower basement floor of the store.

"We've had more than 3,000 donations from leading members of the music and fashion world so there is a lot of stuff on sale," a spokeswoman for Topshop said. "The prices are very varied so there really is something for everyone here."

Cath Cole, head of corporate and trust fundraising at Terrence Higgins Trust said: "Raising funds for people living with and affected by HIV has never been more important. Our services are more in demand now than they've ever been."

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