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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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power