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.

Frills, thrills and tassles

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

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 ...

The damage: What is the price of love?

Fiona McClymont offers a Valentine's Day shopping list
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?