Life and Style

How do five designers alight on the same obscure inspiration? How are ‘trends’ born?

Through the looking glass: Róisín Murphy reflects on her stylish life

Gigs, photo sessions, catwalk shows, parties... a busy woman needs a change of outfit or two. Here, the Moloko-singer-turned-solo-star talks us through some of her more memorable fashion moments

Fur flies: Top designers lead fightback

Some of fashion's biggest names are refusing to heed the animal activists' campaign to ban its use. Jonathan Owen and Mark Jewsbury report

DVD: Kylie, KylieX2008 , (Fremantle Media)

The Minogue machine has been responsible for more moments of pure pop genius this decade than any other.

Susannah Frankel: 'Time to hide your tunics, tartans and tweeds'

Ready to Wear: Deep cleanse your wardrobe

Ready to Wear: The Lanvin/Acne tuxedo looks great in America’s most ubiquitous weave

The late Yves Saint Laurent famously said that he wished he had invented denim. As that has been the staple fabric of the modern wardrobe, both for men and women, from the 1970s to this day, it is easy to see why. This also goes some way towards explaining the collaboration between the Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz and the Swedish purveyor of probably the finest denim in the world just now, Acne. The results, due in store and online later this month, are as covetable as might be expected.

Checks appeal

From the highlands to the home, tartan rules the roost. Annie Deakin falls in love with tartan. Literally.

Ready to Wear: Big knickers are a way of sexualising a wardrobe and the wearer

Knickers. They're everywhere. And if that sounds like the most almighty case of stating the obvious, the fact that any underwear is currently being worn over clothes rather than hidden away beneath them or, failing that, that the clothes in question are so sheer that knickers show through is perhaps less commonplace.

Trinny and Susannah slide out of fashion

They were queens of the makeover show, and a generation of women trusted their style advice. So what caused Trinny and Susannah's crowns to slip?

Johann Hari: What sort of freedom do you believe in?

In a lush patch of Yorkshire, something strange is happening. The quaint practice of a British by-election has thrown up a serious philosophical debate about what it means to be free. Sure, to get to it, you have to jostle past the silicone implants of the Miss Great Britain Party, David Icke's seven-foot lizards plotting world domination, and the Westminster correspondent-flock wondering what it all means back in SW1. You have to burrow deep, and listen hard. But if you do, you can begin to see what liberty will look like in a techno-charged 21st century.

Facchinetti serves up elegant ode to luxury for Valentino

Alessandra Facchinetti's first haute couture show for Valentino was an ode to refined luxury. The house's new creative director, who took the reins after Valentino Gharavani retired in January, succeeded in showcasing the skills of the atelier while exercising a modern restraint.

Punch and Judy, Young Vic, London<br/>Atalanta, Britten Theatre, London<br/>Acis and Galatea, Wilton's Music Hall, London

Mr and Mrs Punch and the Molotov cocktail: Britten was said to hate Birtwistle's violent opera, but, 40 years on, its wit and skill stand out. Just don't look for a moral centre

French Lessons: Couture shows in Paris

The couture shows in Paris were a masterclass in both elegant restraint and unfettered exuberance, says Susannah Frankel

A cut above: Stylist to the stars dies

Hairdresser to the royal, the rich and the celebrated, Alexandre de Paris did everyone from Liz Taylor to Claudia Schiffer. As his death is announced, John Lichfield celebrates the first &ndash; and sharpest &ndash; of the 'haut coiffeurs'
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game