I have a new fashion passion. And it comes from the most unlikely source. It’s a figure skimming shift in purple jersey. And I am wearing it today. There’s some thoughtful ruching at the side which creates some fabulously camouflaging drape across the tum and a convincing curve at the waist. It’s got sharply padded shoulders and velvet sleeves and hits at the perfect level; just about knee-length. It arrived in a parcel that looked no bigger than a T-shirt and emerged without a wrinkle which means it will pack like a dream.
It looked good at a working brunch this morning and I’ll be wearing it to a cocktail do tonight straight from the office. There isn’t a pull or pinch anywhere in it and yet I think it looks pretty sharp and hot, if I say so myself. The litmus test is the office reaction and that was a unanimous ‘wow’ which is why I am blogging this right now.
It’s not from Bond St or Sloane. It’s not from Paris or Milan. Today’s perfect purple dress is from LK Bennett. The reason I am surprised, is that I have pigeon-holed that brand into the workwear category: a place where women who don’t have the luxury of the relaxed dress code we have, must go to buy a 9-5 wardrobe. Something about that makes me anxious: as if there was a risk of some sinister cross contamination if your working wardrobe got muddled up with your weekend one. I’ve always shied away.
But recently I realised that the brand has seriously upped their fashion game. The winter collection has got some fantastic tailored dresses (a hint of Roland Mouret, Victoria Beckham, Antonio Berardi construction) and some chicly feminine cocktail options. I’ve already got four dresses on my list for the summer.
And I am not alone. At the Christian Dior cocktail party at Claridges last week, I cornered a very eminent colleague in a particularly fab, purple and fuschia printed jersey shift. She was making the rest of us, in black, look dull and I wanted her to know that. Where was it from? Was it Lanvin commercial collection perhaps, was it maybe summer collection Etro or a vintage find from a Gucci Cruise line? No, it was L K Bennett.
This may be workwear, Grazia Girls, but not as we know it.