• What to see

    When the Royal Academy puts on a big name artist show, you know you're getting the greatest hits.

    And so to the Manet show, which doesn't disappoint; Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets (see left), The Railway and Le Déjeuner sur l'Herbe all together and all up close. The exhibition has been curated by MaryAnn Stevens focusing on the artist's portraits. And Stevens has chosen to specifically highlight the point that in Manet's bigger compositions the figures were often from previous portraits. He was painting what he knew.

    The show which opens tomorrow is expected to be a big hit, and has already taken masses of advance bookings. So my tip is go on 'Exclusive Sunday Evenings', where for thirty quid you can cruise the show in peace with a glass of something in one hand and a media guide in the other.

    Manet: Portraying Life
    26 January - 14 April 2013

    Image above: Édouard Manet
    Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets, 1872
    Paris, musée d'Orsay, acquis avec la participation du Fonds du Patrimoine, de la Fondation Meyer, de China Times Group et d'un mécénat coordonné par le quotidien Nikkei, 1998

  • What to wear

    Mon Dieu, there's a lot of French on the British high street at the moment. Ten years ago it was sort of just Benetton. But now it seems that almost every other clothes shop has been bleu, blanc, rouged.

    However it's not the kind of French dressing from the days when I was a student living in Paris. Back then my Parisian friends were utterly bemused by my scrappy style, whilst they were in navy twinsets and Chanel the minute they turned sweet sixteen.

    No, the new invasion is gallic with a twist. At Zadig et Voltaire there's a laid back LA vibe, a sassiness at Sandro and Maje and it's off-duty model at Isabel Marant. But for androgyny with a slice of rock and a twist of British dandy - it's The Kooples.

    The brand was founded in 2008 by three French brothers, Raphael, Alex and Laurent Elicha, who wanted to rework traditional tailored menswear into urban clothes for both men and women. Slim strides, sharp jackets and neat shirts, are designed by the two elder brothers alongside British tailor Patrick Grant of Norton & Sons. The brothers weren't new to the schmutter business - their parents Tony and Georgette Elicha had established and run Comptoir des Cotonniers. But the difference with the Kooples, is their attitude to marketing (memorable campaigns using real life couples) and also the vast and rapid expansion of the brand which was born only 4 years ago.

    For summer, expect neat shorts suits, natty zips and trademark skull embellishment  - for boys and girls who like to borrow each other's clothes.



  • What to do

    It's not too late. There's still a bit of January left to get those New Year resolutions going. And if you're still feeling a bit bleugh after a long old festive feast, then kick-start that 'new 2013 you' you've promised yourself, with a cleanse. And I'm not talking a quick bath.

    Sitting on my desk is a fun-looking box filled with alluring 'Wonderland' jars. Instead of 'drink me, eat me', labels read 'clean green or super multi'. But I am under no illusion here, this is a box of pain. The idea is that you swallow and chomp on the pills, cutting out acidic forming food and replacing it with alkaline as directed and after 12 days all sorts of good stuff will happen to you.

    The cleanse has been devised by yoga teacher and health expert Chris James, who after graduating from King's College with a degree in theology, travelled to India where he cruised about on a 1952 Enfield motorbike, making his living buying and selling antique textiles. But it was on a trip to the Himalayas that he was first introduced to yoga. "I was always attracted to people who'd studied yoga," explains James, "particularly by how enthusiastic and committed they were. That's how it began."

    He got hooked and practised daily for hours. But when James broke his neck after being brutally beaten up, yoga took on a greater significance. "My doctor said that if I hadn't been so strong thanks to yoga, I'd be in a wheelchair." So after two years of putting his body back together, Chris began teaching his friends. Who told their friends. And word spread.

    To complement his yoga teachings and to give the body a good internal clean, Chris has launched his cleanse, promising a 'Brand new you' in 12 days. And if you fall into a rut when the caffeine withdrawal headache kicks in, or you are desperate for a bar of Galaxy, then there's plenty of support via an interactive forum, online videos and Chris's team members ready to take calls.

    "The consensus is that with this cleanse you can lose a dress size," says James, "But it's more about health, breaking bad habits, shifting a gear and restarting your metabolism." He adds, "I'm on day 11 of the cleanse and my skin is glowing and the whites of my eyes are sparkling - and I'm no saint - I like a glass of red wine and a coffee!"

    The box on my desk is still open, now I just need to start… It's never too late.


    Also available at www.feelunique.com and Urban Retreat at Harrods.

    Chris James offered all Vanity Fair A-List members the chance to win one of two Chris James Mind & Body Cleanse (worth £120 each). Don't miss out on future offers, sign up to the A-List