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Make getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers

Woollies for plants

Horticultural fleece has the appearance and texture of tissue paper, but being made from polypropylene it lasts outside rather better. I have been experimenting with ways of using it in the garden. It is certainly good for protecting tender plants. My agaves have come through several winters swathed in fleece blankets, like old men fearful of a chill.

Fashion: Dark nights in satin

As the nights draw in, now is the time to think about evening wear. There are lots of slender satin slip-dresses around this autum, made for languishing in darkly-lit, smoke-filled rooms; a hint of Thirties Paris in their self-indulgent decadence. This is the other side of evening wear - glitz, gloss and sparkle replaced by rust and pewter satin, chinese embroidery, garnets and black lace. Dark-rimmed smoky eyes are back; if you don't have dark rings around your eyes already (easily acquired by several fashionably debauched nights), fake it with layers of dark-grey eye shadow against a chalky-white complexion. Very pale and very interesting. One more Gauloise and your voice will break into a low, hoarse whisper. The secret is a little mystery - clothes that look as though they are from another time, another place.

In thing: Georgina von Etzdorf scarves

For vampires and neck fetishists a Georgina von Etzdorf scarf is the ultimate in luxury neck wear. Her fine crepe Volare tulip print scarf has been much sought after by the likes of David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Isabella Rossellini and Miranda Richardson. Other creations include yards of brilliant fuchsia silk, dreamy silver and aquamarine devore velvets and classic silk squares. A new shop brimming with goodies has just opened on three floors in the Burlington Arcade. On the first, her magnificent scarves lie neatly and invitingly in small shallow drawers - waiting to be rumpled, wrapped and taken away.

Vita buys Jackdaw

British Vita is buying Jackdaw Polymers, a nylon and granulated plastic maker, for pounds 9.4m.

Letter: Dyed-in-the-wool fan of Burton's

Sir: I, like Roy Hattersley, remember my first (and only) Burton's suit ('Gone for a Burton', 8 April). Having saved clothing-ration coupons for my 1946 wedding, I acquired a fine, lightweight woollen blanket, which I had dyed and then made into a smart 'going- away' costume at Burton's Palmers Green branch.

Fashion: Pure fabrication

STRANGE though it may seem, nylon is no longer simply used to make clammy men's shirts, slimy sheets, and costumes for bad science-fiction series. At Helmut Lang's spring-summer collections, clothes made out of what looked like bin-bag liners were mixed with sheer pink nylon tops and shifts. At Corinne Cobson, the dayglo colours made the clothes look one hundred per cent synthetic, even if they weren't.

Fashion: No sweater is an island: The traditional aran fisherman's jumper has been trawled for haute couture. Tamsin Blanchard investigates

Aran wool is not a fabric one would normally associate with ballgowns. It is the knitwear of fishermen and aran knit patterns are thought to date back over 3,000 years.

Anti-fur skin protest

Police arresting anti-fur protesters Tracy Reiman (left), an American; Anthony Jeffries (centre), from East Kent Animal Welfare, and Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder of Peta, a US-based organisation which opened a London office this month. They were held during a semi-naked protest in Regent Street, central London, yesterday.

Letter: Too hot for comfort

Sir: I have noticed that in nearly all public buildings the temperature is adjusted to be comfortable for the employees who work there.

FASHION / Night moves

BOUNDARIES are being crossed. Last spring, the international catwalks showed multiple examples of fashion's new mismatching - items not usually worn together were put together in new, fresh ways. Then came summer and a general loosening up - the return of the fluid dress, the fusion of Eastern and Western styles, the fall of the shortie skirt (though thighs made brief appearances at haute couture in July) and more breaking of rules.

Fashion: A simple dress is hard to beat: Scrunch it, roll it, crease it . . . this summer's essential dress combines easy fabrics with an enduring appeal, says Marion Hume

THE DRESS is the undisputed essential garment for this summer. The faded, floral dress, the chiffon, floaty dress, the nightdress worn layered over another nightdress in daylight hours and the second-hand dress worn with clumpy boots are already stamped as the fashion looks for summer 1993. For those who don't follow fashion slavishly, the other kind of dress - the one you love that comes out year after year the minute the temperature hints at rising - will be viewed as not just comfortable and easy this time around, but also as the height of fashion.

FASHION / Antique and old lace

AFTER austerity, opulence. In the season that has inflicted gamines and waifs on us, with their bony, boyish hips and tiny little chests, in the evening, at least, fashion is still celebrating the survival of a few womanly curves.

Fashion Update: Silk undies for all

IF YOU usually miss out on silk undies at Christmas because you do not fit in with conventional underwear sizing, the Bust Stop special size mail-order catalogue may provide a solution. The new company estimates that 11 per cent of women in this country take a bra cup D or above. Bust Stop's bras range from 30D to 32FF and up to 48GG. Styles include a silk bustier for pounds 37 and a silk Jacquard body for pounds 75, both designed by Catherine Fuller. For brochure and information, ring Libby Garside, 081-943 9733.

Acquisitions lift Sherwood despite lace problems

SHERWOOD, the lace maker, has pushed its pre-tax profits up by a quarter, helped by acquisitions and greater success in selling finished garments.

ICI swap deal 'finely balanced'

IMPERIAL Chemical Industries yesterday said it remained optimistic of going ahead with a pounds 350m asset swap with Du Pont of the United States, even though the European Commission's merger authorities are expected to block the deal.
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