• What to wear

    Fashion's done its thing in London and moved onto Milan, leaving us with dreams of spring looks to come. But wearing all that fashionable gear can be exhausting and often when you get home you want to change into something comfy. But the problem with comfy is it's rarely chic.

    This was the problem encountered by Paris-based Raphaella Riboud, who whilst working for Dior, Vogue and Tatler spent her days in heels and full-on elegant dresses. But found that when she got home the comfy options were either bad pastel-coloured or in grotty fabrics better suited to the gym.

    So Raphaella made herself some pyjamas. Tailored, chic, made in France with heavy silks from Italy. They were a success. Raphaella added to the line with prints and shorts and negligees. Boutique Colette wanted them.

    And the great thing is, not only do they fit the post-work-relaxing bill, but they're amazing for travelling as they don't crease. Wear them on holiday to ward against moquitoes or with heels to go out. Just don't think of them as pyjamas, but a smart silk pants-suit.


  • What to know

    Ever since my university days at Bristol, when I got stuck in a bathroom, (having consumed various funghi thus convinced the swirling carpet would swallow me hole) I've had an issue with patterned rugs.

    Aside from my foolish student misdemeanours, the other problem is that most contemporary rugs are so damned ugly. However, there are exceptions. Luke Irwin's hand-knotted carpets have been on my radar since he first started his business 10 years ago, when I went to visit him on a sunny day at his house in Dorset. We laid the enormous rugs - inspired by crop circles - out on the lawn, to feel the full effect. They were dazzling.

    Since then, Irwin's business has grown steadily and successfully, with a smart shop on Pimlico Road, from where clients can choose the size, colour, weave, textile for the dream rug. The design is then whizzed across the world to the master craftsmen either at the foothills of the Himalayas, Nepal or Jaipur, before reappearing in its 3-D state just 12-18 weeks of intense knotting later.

    This week Luke Irwin launched a new collection of designs called Tarantella, inspired entirely by Italian folk art. The collection is accompanied by a charming book edited by Clive Aslet and filled with recipes and love-letters to Italy. The sort of book to read in a stolen moment, whilst lying back on one of Luke's beautiful patterned rugs. But maybe not after a meal of 'mushrooms'.


  • What to know

    Twenty years ago, wearing vintage was quite the statement. "Where's that dress from?" "It's vintage", would be the nonchalant reply from the wearer, secretly thrilled the fruits of her labour had been noticed. Because labour it was; to find 'the dress' you had to ferret through rails at Oxfam, spend chilly mornings scouring flea-bitten clothes in Portobello market or rifle through an ageing relative's cupboard.

    These days, if you want it, there's a sanitized, easy-peasy, mothball-free version of vintage shopping. At Atelier-Mayer.com in Connaught Village (ps. two doors down from the best hot chocolate at Coco Maya), vintage is offered as less of a statement and more as a smart alternative to buying current season.

    "Cool girls mix seasonal and vintage," explains Atelier-Mayer.com's owner Carmen Haid, who today relaunches a fresh new e-commerce website. The clothes are edited according to trend, decade, occasion, and there are masses of great accessories. Pieces are collected by Haid from all over the world; whether bought at auction (eg. a shearling coat from a recent auction of Suzy Menkes' collection) or a whole heap of Balenciaga bought from a former muse because she now lives in Ibiza and will only wear white!

    But for those folk who shy away from vintage for fear of stepping into the former clothes of a miserable, grumpy, evil lady, then Atelier-Mayer.com is for you. Each piece has been Feng Shui-d and comes with a certificate to prove it. So while you may be carrying an old bag, you won't be carrying an old bag's energy.

    47 Kendal Street, London W2 2BU
    Tel: +44 207 7067200

    Atelier-Mayer.com offered all Vanity Fair A-List subscribers the chance to win a pair of 1980s Chanel Earrings (see image, worth £550).

    Atelier-Mayer.com also offered all Vanity Fair A-List subscribers a 10% discount on all vintage purchases. Don't miss out on future offers, sign up to the A-List.