Balenciaga

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.

Return of the mac – as a fashion icon

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.

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Susie Rushton: You can't put a price on simple pleasures

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.