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Kawaii, or a love of the adorable, is huge in Japan – and it’s big here too. Bless, says Will Coldwell

Liquid sweetness: What could be easier? There is a hand-me-down quality to this summer's dresses, evocative of the flea market and the jumble sale. Alison Veness reports

This is the big easy. A dreamy, languorous moment of escapism before glamour inescapably descends, a moment to dress up in something effortlessly simple - after all, what could be easier than a fluid dress?

Fashion Update: Schiffer to retire?

RUMOUR has it that Karl Lagerfeld's favourite model, Claudia Schiffer, will retire from modelling after she marries her fiance, David Copperfield. Schiffer, who has been compared with Bardot, made her modelling debut at the age of 19 on the runway of a Chanel haute couture show. In modelling terms, she was a late starter. Now, at the grand old age of 23, she could be the first of the supermodels to bow out gracefully.

Chanel apologises to Muslims for 'Satanic Breasts' dress

IT IS not often that the head of a French haute couture house visits the Grand Mosque of Paris, the leading place of prayer for France's 3 million Muslims.

So you wanna be a boxer?: Boxing is no longer the preserve of the macho male. Now women are fighting fit without breaking bones. Emma Cook enters the ring

When boxing trainer and manager Isola Akay visited New York's largest gym five years ago he was shocked to see women fighting in the ring. 'I couldn't believe they were hitting each other so hard' he recalls. 'I decided I could offer something much better without all that bashing.'

Fashion: Backstage, the launching of TV careers . . .

Move over, Richard and Judy, it's the Cindy and Claudia show. While most spectators at the Chanel show in Paris were watching the catwalk, the real action was going on backstage for the cameras. Suddenly, television is where it's at.

Fashion Update: Naomi experiences a mood swing

WE ALL know how much a supermodel costs these days, but what price a supermermaid? Valentino wouldn't tell how much he paid Naomi Campbell to spend the whole of his Oliver show on a swing, wearing a coral encrusted bikini over a striped sheath dress ending in a mermaid tail.

People: Queen seeks tea and sympathy at Waterloo

TIRED, perhaps, of the endless gossip about her daughters-in-law, the Queen is taking a mid-week break to Belgium. King Baudoin and Queen Fabiola do not have any children, so Her Majesty will be able to get away from it all. Brussels boasts numerous attractions, but the Queen has opted for quiet contemplation at the battlefield of Waterloo. She will then take tea.

Dressing-up is what the British do best: as the decade moves on, individualism moves in

LAST MARCH, around the time that John Major was rolling up his sleeves and pitching into gritty, man-of-the-people heart-to-hearts, Claudia Schiffer was swinging down the catwalk with a dubious expression on her face. Dressed in scarlet leather, gilt chains and knee-high bovver boots, she was wearing around pounds 4,000 worth of clothes. And yet here was a look that was ridiculously easy to rip off at second-hand stalls the world over, from Kensington Market to LA's Melrose Avenue. But maybe that was the point.

FASHION / The new pluck: Who'd have thought there was so much in an eyebrow? Those bushy Brooke Shields caterpillars have been refined to Fifties arcs and now they've more or less disappeared altogether. You never know what you've got till they've gone

One of the last great beauty credos of the Eighties is crumbling. The luxuriant eyebrow that every beauty editor and make-up artist held sacrosanct for an entire decade (the same one that was supposed to be absolutely essential to the architecture of any face) is being plucked and pencilled into an emaciated shadow of its former self.

Wannabees follow in steps of superstar models: Dreams came true for 13 girls-next-door when they became 'superstar' models - for a night. Roger Tredre reports

LAST MONTH she was signing on back home in Cardiff. This week, she was a superstar model, for a night at least, striding the catwalk before the television cameras and the probing eyes of a thousand fashion industry guests. It was a dream come true for Dena Khazragi, 19, a finalist in the British round of the Look of the Year contest.
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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...