Life and Style A model walks the runway during the Balmain show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2013

Balenciaga's spring/summer 2014 show plays out to thumping, bass-heavy and very, very loud beats... but only after four outfits

Designers making their marque on the fashion scene

Although its not quite a return to the logo-laden days of old, stylised prints and artistic emblems are now selling like hot cakes, says Naomi Attwood

Ruffle some feathers: Model wears skirt £45, shoes £60, riverisland.com

iStyle: Frill seekers

Forget Flamenco, this season those ruffles have been given a modern makeover, says Rebecca Gonsalves

Excess all areas: 'Mona von Bismarck once ordered 150 Balenciaga garments after her train derailed'

We've all had wardrobe disasters. Few of us, however, retire to our room for three days to recover. But few of us are Mona von Bismarck, who did just that when, in 1968, the great Cristóbal Balenciaga closed his couture house with the declaration that there was no one left to dress.

Alexander Fury: A bit threadbare? You must be British royalty

In the eighteenth century, the great British export was style. French aristocrats saw Britain as a land of freedom and adopted our stout, hardy wool and tweed country squire attire as a badge of allegiance to the Rousseau-ean rusticity and democracy embodied here.

Strides ahead: Say pants to party dresses

Whether patterned or plain, it's time to say pants to party dresses, says Rebecca Gonsalves

The best Christmas gifts for the sharp-dressed man

Main image: skull umbrella, £185, Liberty

Nicholas Ghesquiere to leave post as creative director at Balenciaga

Designer Nicholas Ghesquiere is to leave his post as creative director at Balenciaga.

Fashion Statement: Change is easier to make when there are past masters to follow

It's always difficult, stepping into someone else's shoes – especially when you have high arches. And it's even more difficult when those shoes have been worn for so long and with such panache by their previous owner.

Ready To Wear: No woman should ever be dictated to by fashion

What does the Independent woman wear?

Hi-ho silver: jacket £50, riverisland.com

Fashion's silver lining

There's a futuristic alternative to a golden glow this season. Just don't think of it as a runner-up in the fashion stakes, says Gemma Hayward

Easy as APC

It's an exciting new direction for the casually cult brand

Of all the slightly silly Olympic-themed paraphernalia we've seen recently, this rather charming patriotic paper Cake Top is our favourite. £3.50 from talkingtables.co.uk (Victoria sponge not included)

Selfridges re-launches womenswear department for the digital age

When Selfridges unveiled their newly appointed womenswear department at the beginning of the year, hopes were high.

Ready To Wear: The last thing we need after Christmas is serious fashion

Feeling liverish, as your granny used to say? The good news is that this is the one time of year when it is nothing short of uncouth to consider wearing anything remotely fashionable and, even more so, tight-fitting and/or fabulously transformative.

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Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

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He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
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Spells like teen spirit

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Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

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British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

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Robert Parker interview

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