News Louis Vuitton is finding that customers no longer buy handbags for the logo and is changing tack

Sales rebound in fourth quarter after a tough year for French luxury giant

Wisteria-print pinafores... was Stella inspired by The Good Life?

Stella McCartney kicked off proceedings at the Paris collections yesterday with a show that appeared to reference childhood memories of her mother's wardrobe with easy denim separates, fine-gauge knitwear and relaxed tailoring in summery shades straight out of the 1970s.

Susannah Frankel: Sensitive soul of fashion lost the thread

"Lacroix, sweetie," Edina in Absolutely Fabulous often answered when asked what she was wearing, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Given the circles that the TV satire focused upon, it probably was. The exuberant designs that characterise this designer's work, inspired, he has said, by his southern France childhood, was as integral a part of the upwardly mobile 1980s as the Filofax and the predominance of matt black.

French dressing: This season's flirtatious Gallic sensibility

Vive la coquette! At Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs' ultra-flirtatious silhouette and exotic details make for a French fashion moment, says Susannah Frankel

Credit crisis diary: Looking forward to Elliot's hospitality

An invite arrives to a House of Commons reception next month to unveil a report on how to encourage investment in green technology. A worthy aim, but will the bash still be on by the time we get there? It's just that the invite comes from Elliot Morley, the MP who forgot he'd paid off his mortgage and claimed another £16,000 for it. What chance of him still being around in June to buy the drinks?

Businesses warn of rising risk of counterfeiting on internet

Popular brands have called for stricter policing of the internet, as they fear fraud will soar during the first "digital recession".

Dior conjures up past in face of recession

"More Dior than Dior." That was how Christian Dior billed its spring/ summer haute couture collection yesterday. It was the first major show of Paris Couture Week, and offered the first answer as to how the luxury houses might respond aesthetically to the recession.

<a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/openhouse/2008/10/a-top-tory-expo.html">Ed Howker: A Top Tory exposed over Fragrant Mandy</a>

No prizes for guessing the "senior Conservative" and "leading member of David Cameron's top team" who alleged that Mandy dripped "Pure Poison" (presumably not the type made by Dior) when describing Gordon Brown

Susannah Frankel: The new face of fashion is more accessible and less expensive

The buying spree that characterises contemporary fashion goes back to the Nineties, when France's luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) and its visionary CEO Bernard Arnault began to acquire designer labels with a voracity that was unprecedented.

Martin Margiela: Fashion's invisible superstar

Forget Banksy &ndash; for 20 years, designer Martin Margiela has fiercely guarded his identity. He has never given an interview, and has never once been photographed. And yet he is the single most influential figure in fashion, rated by his peers as the very best. So who is he? Susannah Frankel gets inside the mind of an elusive maestro

LVMH wins compensation from eBay in counterfeit case

A French court ordered eBay to pay €38.6m (£30.6m) to luxury goods group LVMH for allowing the sale of fake merchandise, in a ruling immediately appealed by the online auction website.

Hotel plan means Samaritaine will shut up shop

One of the great landmarks of central Paris, derelict for the past three years, is to be converted into a spectacular, river-front hotel.

The smart set: Michael Howells for Galliano

Michael Howells has provided John Galliano with breathtaking backdrops for his clothes. Carola Long talks to the award-winning set designer about his latest creations

Perpignan 19 Wasps 12: Lewsey injury deepens English gloom in build-up to All Blacks

As Lawrence Dallaglio was quick to point out, results may yet prove otherwise but there is a whiff of decay in English rugby which an impending joust with the All Blacks is hardly likely to dispel. Wasps were desperately undercooked in 28-degree heat close to the Mediterranean and, by their own admission, are way off the peak of yeoman power with which they won the Heineken Cup in 2004.

Sir Robert Calderwood

Local authority executive with a 'kindly sense of socialism' who oversaw Strathclyde Regional Council
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition