• What to wear

    Twice a year, designer Alice Ashby travels to Pitti Filati in Florence - the Olympics of yarn - to source succulent threads for her contemporary knitwear brand Blake LDN.

    Straight lines, neutral shades and colour-blocking are signatures for the brand founded in 2012. So it comes as little surprise that Alice's first job fresh out of Central St Martins was assistant knitwear designer at New York headquarters of Rag & Bone - the brand that could write a monograph on single-colour chic.

    But with a litany of fresh-faced designers emerging each year with the same speed as the Greeks launched boats in search of Helen of Troy, what makes Blake LDN standout? Quality not quantity could be the brand's epigraph; all the pieces are made by skilled British craftsmen from the the finest Italian materials (merino, cashmere, cotton and angora). And as Alice releases every design in limited numbers, each collection is tightly considered with longevity in mind. Take the high street conveyor belt and picture the opposite.

    Looking ahead to Spring/Summer 2015, Alice has been experimenting with new yarns; the aesthetic is minimal, the quality is high and the wearability oh-so comfortable. Sold via her website, Colette in Paris and on Net-a-Porter, for which she has created exclusives, it won't be hard to find yourself wrapped in a Blake LDN angora sweater or cashmere beanie.

    By Bridget Arsenault


    Blake LDN offers all Vanity Fair A-List members the chance to win a one-to-one consultation with the brand's designer Alice Ashby at The Secret Christmas Grotto on 2nd or 3rd of December (2 Percy Street, London W1T 1DD). With Alice's guidance the winner will pick out a piece from Blake LDN's Autumn/Winter collection (value up to £300). 

    Don't miss out on future offers,  sign up to the A-List.

  • What to buy

    Despite unfavourable odds, Hunter has fashionably crossed over to the urban side.

    Thanks to Creative Director Alasdhair Willis, Hunter is no longer the preserve of honking country sloanes. What began with festival folk realizing the value of a dry trotter, has paved the way for Hunter wellies in a palette of pantone pretty colours. Suddenly the rubber boot was footwear of choice at unpredictable-summer-weather parties across the land.

    Willis has sprinkled magic dust over the 1856-originated brand, making inclement-weather wear irresistible to townies. Last week the new flagship store opened on Regent Street, decorated in primary brights, that give a cheery feel to the potentially gloomy act of buying wet-weather gear. And the same goes for the slick product that includes rubberized rucksacks, a dream green duffle coat and knits with fluoro hits, that cleverly remind the joy of childish puddle-splashing rather than cursing adult caught in a storm. 

    The new shop is filled with (albeit mud-free) reminders of the brand's outdoor roots; floor to ceiling videos showing country life, leafy light-box backdrops, a bright red garden shed and a (fake) grass-lined lift. And despite Hunter's rainbow brights being aimed at urban slicksters, all the classic hits are still there. So there's no upsetting the (notoriously fierce) green wellie brigade.


    Hunter, 83 Regent Street, London W1

  • What to buy

    Surely the best party outfit is one that's already been worn on a wild night? And even better, one worn by a supermodel? Right?

    Which is why Naomi Campbell's Fashion for Relief Pop-Up Store at Westfield London will no doubt be mobbed by festive party aesthetes wanting a pair of Campbell's heels, Kate Moss's frock or Shirley Bassey's floor length gold sequin gown.

    In the thick of Westfield London's 'The Village', The Pop-Up Store is Campbell's project to raise awareness and funds for Fashion Against Ebola. So Naomi has called on her fashion world friends to donate clothes by designers including McQueen, Versace and Victoria Beckham, with prizes each day as part of the shop's Golden Lottery.

    But don't shilly-shally. Naomi's shop is only open for a week. 

    Naomi Campbell's Fashion for Relief Pop-up Store, 28th November - 4th December