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.
Whether patterned or plain, it's time to say pants to party dresses, says Rebecca Gonsalves
Main image: skull umbrella, £185, Liberty
What does the Independent woman wear?
When Selfridges unveiled their newly appointed womenswear department at the beginning of the year, hopes were high.
The daughter of Anglo-French musical royalty, Charlotte Gainsbourg was destined to be a performer – and now she's in the hottest arthouse film of the year. So what does the actress and singer have to be shy about?
Everyone loves an animal print.
Of all the festivals, it's at Cannes where the A-listers really show their style. Susannah Frankel on the red carpet triumphs and disasters
Conceived almost 200 years ago by a Glasgow chemist with an interest in rubber and turned into a fashion icon by stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Steve McQueen, the Mackintosh became the venerable British brand that lost its way. Next week, it seals a remarkable comeback with its first stand-alone store.
While the very idea of "intellectual" fashion is likely to bring out an even a half-intelligent woman in hives, there are certain industry heavyweights who regularly come up with designs that provoke a certain amount of thought at least.
Whether you're slobbing on the sofa or schmoozing the in-laws, it isn't just your tree that should be well-dressed this Christmas, says Harriet Walker
Its catwalk show is among the highlights of Paris Fashion Week
No longer overshadowed by dresses or denim, trousers have stepped back into the style spotlight for autumn. Carola Long reports on a trend that's set to run wild
Do you know why the British economy is struggling? Let me tell you a story to illustrate. On Saturday I went to a village fête in Somerset. Picture the scene: a coconut shy, quoits, an egg-throwing contest, bric-à-brac and an ice-cream van, in a pretty field next to a country church. Toddlers as far as the eye can see; women in striped aprons and men in Birkenstocks. Feeling hungry, I stop by a cake stall, where I buy a home-made chocolate brownie for – get this – 15p. Fifteen pence! By the close of business, I doubt whether the cook-cum-stallholder even made back the cost of her ingredients, let alone turned a profit. And that's what's wrong with the British attitude to enterprise.
Since Alexander McQueen's death on 11 February this year, speculation has been rife as to who would have the requisite talent and insight to continue the designer's legacy – or even if the company would survive his loss.
From oversized coats to flattering tailoring, the Paris collections had accessible clothes – and flashes of truly imaginative brilliance. Susannah Frankel introduces the key themes