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14th August 2023


Like many devotees of Sex and The City, I have been taking in And Just Like That. While I have been enjoying it, it reminded me of how much I adored the OG series. So I have just taken in all six of them, culminating in Carrie’s trip to Paris. One thing is for sure. Ms. Bradshaw has retained her eclectic sense of style, and the new 2023 TV version is packed with colourful chic, which is never on-screen boring to watch.

It pretty much reflects how fashion has been over the last few seasons. From the overblown looks at Gucci to the fuschia at Valentino, everything has become bigger, and frothier, and more voluminous. And while the lure of social media looks is still a hook – keeping up over there is still a fast-paced affair – never count out the attraction of a great TV show or a real-life drama. After watching the recent couture shows in Paris (unlike Carrie I wasn’t falling over in Dior, I was viewing via Instagram Live!), it seems as if some of the major designers have been closely watching Succession, as well as the courtroom proceedings earlier this year starring Gwyneth Paltrow.

Major couture labels can do something even the most innovative of the newer luxury names cannot achieve – yes, it might be very nice to wear The Row, and Loro Piana, and Loewe, but true Paris couture houses are sprinkled with their historical stories. While newer labels tend to keep their designer names out of the headlines, us fashion lovers never tire of reading about Gabrielle Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and the Fendi family.

The Chanel show, on the banks of the River Seine, showed models walking on coloured cobblestones, and while the looks were distinctly tailored, without a hint of flamboyance, the quiet luxury touches came courtesy of handmade crystal buttons. Crepe coats and tulle dresses, with that eponymous tweed, whispered elegance from designer Virginie Viard. I popped in to see Emma at Blankstone to source some pieces to match the couture I have fallen in love with.

The Chanel 5009 sunglasses with that all-important chain detail

Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior presented a collection of apparent simplicity in the city’s Musée Rodin. The theme was inspired by original drawings by Christian Dior himself, and making intricate couture, with the finest detailing, appear simple is quite a skill, but Dior delivered. To the designer, couture is about creating wardrobe permanence, which is the very opposite of fast fashion.

The Dior DiorTag SU the perfect black with monochrome detailing

At Fendi, Kim Jones made it all about the dress. Intricately embroidered, with modern details like fine chains, these were beautiful columns that were made to wear, rather than be seen in. Draped and elegant, with hints of jewelled tones, this is absolutely Jones’ finest collection to date: he wanted to create clothes that felt like jewellery you could wear.

The Blankstone Fendi FE00991 the gorgeous havana tones and gilt trim sit perfectly with a column dress

And so to Saint Laurent. While Anthony Vaccerello doesn’t always stick to the routine schedule, there is no doubt that this couture house has led the way in not only staying close to its origins, but also giving couture customers what they want. Also fearless in showing eyewear both in shows and in campaigns, this is tailoring at its very best, and packed full of powerful looks.

The Blankstone Saint Laurent SL333 the stunning cat’s eye shape with unusual logo to top your tailoring

There is always an ongoing debate about couture – does it have a place in such a changing world? While we are talking about how we live now, is it sensible to have dresses that cost so much to make? If you really love fashion, then it is not merely about the clothes. They are also pieces of art, and also reflect culture and then become part of history. And what is created by the great designers trickles down to what us mere mortals choose to wear. Couture houses employ the finest artisans and seamstresses, and yes, a huge proportion of those working in this sector are women – it is a tradition worth protecting. If you look back through museum pieces, then they have been made to last centuries – no landfill allowed.

Back in the real world, if you don’t currently have a yacht at your personal disposal, you can still put the quiet luxury look together with High Street pieces. I love Massimo Dutti, Cos, Reiss, Me+Em and & Other Stories. But when it comes to eyewear, I will always go to Paris first. These are forever sunglasses which are built to stay on your face whatever the current fashion. And you can always store them and bring them to life again.*

By the way, I don’t actually go to Paris for my eyewear. I go to Blankstone.

Forget the Rue Cambon. It’s first to check out eyewear in Derby Square and then it’s onto Bouchon next door for the perfect French lunch.

Tu sais que c’est logique!

*If you purchase some fresh eyewear from Blankstone Opticians, but also have a beloved pair which need some TLC, bring them with you. With their Glow Up Your Glasses offer, they will restore them to their former glory. Mark and the team recently restored my favourite Chanel sunglasses, and they look box-fresh again.

The Blankstone Chanel range can be found here:

The Blankstone Dior range is available to view here:

The Blankstone Fendi range is ready to see here:

The Blankstone Saint Laurent range is below:

In-practice shots by Emma at Blankstone

Find her on Insta here:

This month’s Blankstone style blog is brought to you by our very own fashion reporter, Nancy-Buckland Kirk.


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Images courtesy of Vogue Runway/Chanel/Dior/Fendi/Saint Laurent