Fashion: You have to hand it to 'em
Matthew Bell blames the cult of blandness for our colourless lives
Ladbroke Grove is a history lesson in brick and concrete. It was the core of the Ladbroke Estate, an explosion of posh properties built in the 1840s after the Hippodrome Racecourse, north of Portobello Road, failed to attract punters and closed down. The classy gardens, squares, villas and crescents of 'Leafy Ladbroke' came to rival the stylish Whig mansions of Holland Park to the south. Unfortunately, on the north side, the demand for house-building for wealthy Victorians dwindled, then stopped, in the 1860s. It was a project which just ran out of money.
They might seem an unlikely duo but Ricky Gervais and the Duchess of Cambridge are teaming up to promote Britain's creative talent to foreign investors as they arrive in London for the Olympics.
1. Dress watch
Each of the three bottles of the Stella McCartney rose based scent limited edition collection are illustrated with the beautiful prints from the designers summer catwalk collection.
Tomboys, vamps and foil-clad dolly birds...Take inspiration from the catwalk, says Susannah Frankel, and an autumn season that is brilliantly diverse
It used to be the place to go for bibs, bottles and buggies. Now Mothercare simply can’t compete with our love of luxury brands. <b>Alice-Azania Jarvis</b> reports
Horses at Hermès, a live orchestra at Chanel – Paris designers pulled out all the stops at the spring/summer shows. And then there were the clothes... Susannah Frankel found power dressing, flat shoes, and some serious sparkle
Giles Deacon's debut collection lit up Paris, writes Susannah Frankel
No longer overshadowed by dresses or denim, trousers have stepped back into the style spotlight for autumn. Carola Long reports on a trend that's set to run wild
There was an added surprise bonus for anyone who shelled out for the ultimate party of the season, the Serpentine Gallery Summer Party. Amid the champagne-swilling, the games of ping pong with championship players set up by the gallery, and the right to roam among a guest list that included Stella McCartney, Erin O'Connor, Peter Blake, Grace Jones, Rhys Ifans, Vivienne Westwood, Tracey Emin and the Chapman brothers, Dizzee Rascal turned up to perform a "surprise secret gig" under Jean Nouvel's newly erected, bright red pavilion. Dizzee's performance, which marked the gallery's 40th anniversary, was arranged by the manager and promoter Raye Cosbert. A lot of the exquisitely dressed European heiresses and billionaires were also seen having their heartbeats recorded in the French artist Christian Boltanski's interactive installation The Heart Archive.
For those not fortunate enough to be attending London Fashion Week in person, all the key shows will be available to watch live on the official website, and next week, on www.independent.co.uk.
They look good on the uber-trendy child models in the ad campaign, and you know they'd look good on your offspring, too. As of yesterday morning, any pampered kid aged between the ages of 0 and 10 can work their new look from Stella McCartney – or more specifically, Stella McCartney for GapKids and BabyGap – while sipping their babyccinos. It's another coup for Gap, which has a successful history of bringing designers like Pierre Hardy and Roland Mouret on board to give their adult clothing some cutting edge. And when Hit & Run frisked the rails at 8am when the first collection hit stores yesterday morning, it looked like Stella had scored the chain yet another hit. She's designed exactly the sort of retro-cool clothes that will appeal to the adults buying the clothes.
You can put what most celebrities know about art on the back of an envelope – and that's exactly what more than 80 artists, designers, singers and actors have been doing for charity auction Pushing the Envelope. Those showing off their ability to turn a DL (that's your average-sized envelope, folks) into a work of art include the Turner Prize-winning Grayson Perry, who has created a gothic, Alice in Wonderland-style scene, and the illustrator Hannah Firmin – best known for the covers of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series – who produced the eye-catching image pictured top right. They will all be auctioned off on eBay tomorrow, in aid of the National Literacy Trust, so get in your bids now. www. pushingtheenvelope.info
When Forbes magazine recently published a list of the most bankable actress in Hollywood, Naomi Watts was the surprising name at the top of the list.