I spent the first half of this summer only too pleased at the clouds, downpours and lingering chill in the air. I wanted the skies to reflect my mood, and if I wasn't feeling sunny or blithe, I was damned if anyone else should be.

The cool brands con: pay us £6,250 and you, too, can claim a place on the British hip list

Paul Smith, Harvey Nichols and Myla among companies excluded in cash-for-cachet controversy

`I like the smell of a real tree'

Some demand a traditional Christmas tree. Others enjoy a more modern approach. Dame Barbara Cartland likes a bit of pink on hers. Paul Smith has opted for brass elephants. How are you decorating your tree this year?

Christmas Gifts: No batteries required

Gifts don't have to go beep to keep men interested, reveals Robin Clegg

Fashion: Home-grown and proud of it

They said it couldn't produce anything new. But London Fashion Week has a few surprises in store for the summer. By Susannah Frankel


The wind is chill, the clouds racing, and there's moisture in the air. Summer's gone and it's time to wrap up for the coming deluge in hat, coat and scarf. But what to wear? And where to buy it? Our expert winter warmer Beth Dadswell has the season's fashion forecast Photographs by John Knock

Fashions at bottom of garden

PAUL SMITH showed his spring/summer 2000 collection at London Fashion Week yesterday, amid the quintessentially English greenery of the Chelsea Physic Gardens. The designer introduced his womenswear line to the British catwalk four seasons ago, and it has since gone from strength to strength.

The very height of fashion: Profile: Paul Smith

: Profile: Paul Smith

Fashion: Never felt better

In a season dominated by fin-du-millenaire silliness, seek refuge in warm, comfortable felted wool. A remnant of sanity in a fashion world gone mad

Who's Hughes?: Sean Hughes interview

He feels uncomfortable in expensive suits and pays more attention to the hair up his nose than the hair on his head. Yet novelist, actor and comedian Sean Hughes still considers himself a serious person

Fashion: Brave new man

The Paris shows had it all: white crocheted mini-dresses, pastel headscarves, patchwork floral shirts and leather slippers. And that was just the menswear. By Alix Sharkey

Food: The outing of nerdy food

ONE CANNOT live exclusively on a diet of baked leek and trompette tart, roast turbot marinated in spicy lime and coconut, cabbage-wrapped pork knuckle with sauce gribiche, veloute of artichokes with foie gras, roast wood pigeon with perfume of ceps, and pineapple mille feuille with coconut sorbet.

Fashion: Trading places

The men pictured on these pages run vintage clothing stalls and shops, but they usually wear jeans and T-shirts to work. Here they try on modern British suits, and give their verdicts

Fashion: And God created gingham

Brigitte Bardot put the cheeky into the checks. This time round they're not only sexy, they're cool, too. By Rebecca Lowthorpe

Fashion: They call me mellow yellow

Avoid the sulphurous and wear it washed out - and you, too, can carry off the season's hottest colour.


Paul Smith ladies watch with a blue or red face, and shiny, metallic snake-skin adjustable strap, pounds 225, Watch2Watch (0171-351 4606)
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