• 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.

    www.atelier-mayer.com
    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.

  • Where to go

    Every so often it seems that shops play a complicated game of Monopoly with undecipherable rules. Old, familiar stores are replaced with young upstarts, other shops more simply move a few places down the road, while some ageing friends disappear forever.

    Paul Smith is playing the game this year. Tonight he reopens his former wookedy furniture and antiques treasure trove on Albermarle Street, which has grown into the space next door. Why have one shop when you can have two?

    Architects 6a have smashed through the dividing wall to create one big shop filled with interlinking higgledy-piggledy rooms. There are standalone spaces for mainline menswear and womenswear, (look out for the men's knits - especially the oversized houndstooth - girls can take a size small for the perfect boyfriend sweater), a shoe department with walls entirely covered in dominoes (26,000 dominoes to be precise), a gallery in the basement and a space for furniture and other curiosities. The black painted façade is clad with cast iron panels - look carefully to see Sir Paul's drawings secreted amongst them.

    Meanwhile other players in fashion Monopoly are Isabel Marant, due to open her shop on Bruton Street later this month, and Belstaff who are launching their 'House' on Bond Street this Sunday with a motorbike parade.

    Paul Smith, 9 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BL
    www.paulsmith.co.uk
    www.isabelmarant.com
    www.belstaff.com

  • What to read

    Unless they just happen to be your best friend, style icons don't usually let you in.

    That's because part of what makes them an icon is the mystery. It's the gap between them and us. So to maintain their iconic status, we never see beyond the gloss; there's no hint of the prep, the stylists, the heaps of clothes on the floor, the magazine tear-sheets, the reference books, the bathroom shelves groaning with make-up, the bad hair day. You rarely see a style icon go shopping.

    But presenter, writer, model Alexa Chung is different. She's the girl whose style has been 'right' for right now for the past ten years. And will continue to be for at least the next ten years. And now she's made a book about it - aptly called IT - that lets us all in to her world. And guess what… looking so right is hard graft. Via her pink canvas covered book with its suitably insta-twittery-scrapbooky feel, Chung shows and tells that her mode has been honed through watching hours of film, analyzing her own icons including wonderfully varied characters Wednesday Adams, Winona Ryder in Heathers and Anna Karina in Une Femme Est Une Femme, or rubbing mud into new Converse so they don't look too new.

    There's nothing patronizing, prescriptive or preachy about Chung's book. Girls will be inspired and their mums and grannies won't be able to resist dipping. IT is a lovely, honest window into Alexa's life; which seems like a glorious combination of taking style just seriously enough with doing a lot of mucking about.

    Alexa Chung - IT
    Published by Particular Books, 5th September 2013, £16.99