Life and Style
 

French Sole is celebrating 25 years with its first non-London store – it’s time to slip in to spring, says Rebecca Gonsalves

Christmas Gifts: It's not just the thought that counts

From silks to scarves, candles to corsetry, there's plenty for the informed male to buy his soul-mate. By Fiona Campbell

The Joys Of Modern Life 72. mules in winter

FASHION IS going minimal again. And by this I don't mean the stark deconstructionist creations of Rei Kawakubo. No, it seems we must dare to bare. Whether it's at a film premiere, darling, or to totter down London's South Molton Street, this season's style icons have been spotted everywhere in mules - backless shoes.

Fashion: Frill seekers

Agent Provocateur, the raunchy design duo currently rifling through the staid drawers of M&S, have produced a history of lingerie which reveals rather more than a hint of stocking. Foreword by Rebecca Lowthorpe

We should all be worried by the Wal-Mart revolution

`Wal-Mart can inflict huge damage on our retailers. But free trade does not mean a free-for-all'

Why are they picking on me?

From outrage to mortgage: Vivienne Westwood talks to Sophie Goodchild

Fashion: Off the peg - Nina Dempsey squeezes into a girl's best friend, M&S control knickers

Saturday night in London and a group of well-dressed, well-informed twenty- and thirtysomething women is having supper at a private dining club. The talk turns from how much we hate Ally McBeal and how much we love French Martinis to another, less glamorous, subject. Once the male waiter has been dispatched from the room, at least half the women confess to wearing Marks & Spencer control underwear. Considering that any self-respecting fashion follower has a drawer stuffed with frilly Agent Provocateur smalls and sleek Dolce and Gabbana Intimo numbers, this is a major admission. The underwear currently gripping the capital is large, black, nylon and heavily elasticated but, and this is the important bit, they do a very important job.

Fashion: A shore thing

Bold, glamorous swimwear won't be hard to find this summer, with designers and high street alike delivering the goods. So if you're planning a midnight dip, be prepared to stand out in neon stripes, flirty polka dots and psychedelic florals

Cricket: Jury is out on stump microphones

CAPTAIN'S MEETINGS are not usually the sort of place for a psychological joust, but that did not prevent Arjuna Ranatunga from turning yesterday's gathering into a point-scoring exercise over Alec Stewart. England play Sri Lanka in the opening game of the tournament in 10 days and any early advantage could be crucial.

Style Police: The fine art of flirting

The late, great Diana Dors had the right idea, says JAMES SHERWOOD. Now there was a girl who knew her lingerie

Real shopping: Is it worth it... Handcuffs

WHAT WITH the Women's Institute publishing nude calendars, and celebrities caught in compromising positions in LA being interviewed on Parky, it's clear that in Britain we have become far more comfortable with the kinkier side of sex. But are we really ready to purchase bondage gear outside the confines of a Soho back street?

The Irritations of Modern Life: 35. Urban chic

WALKING DOWN the street the other day, I did a double-take. Had the war spread to central London? A blonde babe wearing camouflage combat trousers and a fleece jacket was talking into her mobile phone, looking more Kosovo than Bond Street. A couple of Soho film producers in bright yellow Prada Gore-Tex jackets looked like they should be putting out a fire rather than enjoying a business lunch.

Investigation ordered after 28 babies die in hospital experiment

MINISTERS HAVE ordered an inquiry into research at an NHS trust where an experimental treatment carried out on 122 premature babies resulted in the death or injury of 43 of them.

Fashion: Into The Groove

For women in their late twenties and early thirties, these clothes will bring back memories: Cyndi Lauper singing 'Girls Just Wanna Have Fun', Madonna in 'Desperately Seeking Susan', those lacy fingerless gloves and fishnet bras, the heavy jewellery, ripped- up tights and stilettoes. All were slavishly copied in village discos up and down the land. This is not a revival as such - more a homage ...

Frills, thrills and tassles

Girls, you might think Valentine's Day is about romance, but your bloke probably has earthier ideas.

The damage: What is the price of love?

Fiona McClymont offers a Valentine's Day shopping list
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There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick