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Friday, 29 September 2017 13:49:10 Europe/London



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Friday, 29 September 2017 13:48:23 Europe/London



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The Trouser Destination

Friday, 29 September 2017 13:47:38 Europe/London


Trouser Destination


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Amanda Mealing Interview

Friday, 29 September 2017 12:50:03 Europe/London

Amanda Mealing Interview

To support Breast Cancer Awareness Month, my Woman of Substance for October is the fabulous British film and TV actress, Amanda Mealing, who is a breast cancer survivor and ambassador for Breast Cancer Care. Probably best known for playing glamorous cardiothoracic consultant, Connie Beauchamp, in the BBC’s Holby City and now Casualty, Amanda is the only adopted member of her family. She was the youngest of four children, growing up in Dulwich, South London, with her adoption never being a secret. When she was 15 years old, her brother died - it affected her deeply. Her career has included TV and film roles including The Darling Buds of May, GBH, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Jake’s Progress and The Lakes. She has directed two films and has plans to direct Casualty shortly.
Amanda lives on a farm in Lincolnshire with her screenwriter husband Richard Sainsbury and their two sons, Otis and Milo.
We met in The Ham Yard Hotel in London’s Soho for a drink and a chat.

Amanda, congratulations on your career so far. Do tell us about your Casualty role, Connie, and what it’s like playing a lead part in such an iconic British TV series.

Ah! Thank you. Yes, Casualty has been running for 30 years. It has made history for that and recently airing an episode filmed entirely in one shot. That means no editing, no second camera, one hour long continuous shot. Quite an achievement. My character Connie has been in this show for 4 years now but was previously in its sister show Holby City. At the time there were very few leading female characters and those that were there were secondary to the male lead; the wife, mistress, lover, daughter etc. So to play a woman who was not only fiercely independent but highly skilled and able to play the boys at their own game was a dream of a part. Moreover, she’s not afraid of her sexuality. 13 years ago, when I first played Connie, parts like that were written as if a woman had to deny her gender. Thankfully things have changed in the world of drama now.

When was the defining moment of your career and why did it impact you so greatly?

It’s hard to pinpoint. I’ve been acting for over 40 years. I was 6 when I started, so there have been many phases. My first job was with Julie Andrews, directed by Blake Edwards of Pink Panther fame, shot at Elstree Studios, which I went back to years later to film Holby City.
I think GBH was a pivotal point. It was my first meeting with Alan Bleasdale, whom I believe one of our greatest writers, and led to years of working with him. He’s very loyal to cast and crew, a rare thing in this industry. Only recently did he reveal that after my audition for GBH he walked out and told the casting director to cancel everyone else; he’d found what he was looking for. That led to him writing Jake’s Progress for me and Julie Walters. I’ve been very fortunate to have a career that has lasted so long.

The day after giving birth to your second son you were diagnosed with breast cancer. How did you cope with that shocking news at such a happy and emotional time?

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. I had a very large, stage three tumour. The initial prognosis was not good. To go from the wonderment of giving life to having one’s own in the balance is hard to conceive, harder still to make sense of. Even now, 15 years on, I am trying to make sense of it. I’m a fighter but having a newborn gave me the drive to fight harder. I refused to give in to the disease. I turned my anger on it, not anyone or anything else. I trusted in the amazing medics and was absolutely determined to live my life as normally as the situation would allow, for my son’s sake. At the time I was focused on what I call my hand-to-hand combat, my personal civil war, so didn’t really take on the enormity of what I was going through. And that is a similar story for many of the women I speak to. The physical battle is fought by you and the professionals but the emotional and psychological fallout can last for years. Before diagnosis I could, like so many of us, deny my mortality. Now, I am all too aware of it. It is only now that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in cancer patients is being recognised. I have been an ambassador for Breast Cancer Care since then and they have recently developed an app to help with this. It is called Becca. It is a personalised, daily check-in that gives support, information and inspiration. See

You mentioned that you will direct two episodes of Casualty. Do tell us more.

Yes. It’s very exciting. Over the years I have directed a few short films, including an episode of Casualty last year, and have a production company, Black Chair Films, which is currently in the process of funding my first feature film. I have always been interested in the other side of the camera. I am never short of suggestions on set, so it is a natural progression for me. It is like being a conductor at the centre of this wonderful creative collaboration. Every aspect of filmmaking is about storytelling, from the costumes to the shots and everything in between. It’s exciting at the age of 50 to be starting a new career.

You traced your birth parents to New York after the birth of your first son. Please tell us about that experience.

I was urged to find them after having my eldest boy because I wanted to be able to tell him about his roots. Strangely, the evidence was in front of me all the time, on the birth certificate. My grandmother still lived at the address. I hadn’t reckoned on anyone still being there. It took me a long time to make contact. I had to process each piece of information slowly and making that final call was enormous. I felt sick. What do I say? How do I introduce myself? Do I say “Hi. This is your daughter?”. Do I introduce myself as by adopted name? My birth name? How would she respond to me? She could reject me, again. Until I made that call I could still believe in a fairytale ending, but once I did… Luckily for me it was a fairytale ending. I, my mother and my sister now have the most amazing relationships. I sadly lost my adoptive mother six years ago. She was a strong woman, as her mother was and as every woman in my life has been.

How wonderful that your birth mother was a Biba model in the ‘60s. Do you feel you have inherited her fashion genes? What is your personal style when off-screen?

She is very stylish. She still has it. Kindly my mother says, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. We jokingly say we are ‘professional shoppers’. We love shopping. Style is definitely about knowing yourself and your body. Nothing contrived or forced or high fashion. That’s for the younger ones. Fashion is transient, whereas style has longevity. When I buy pieces I want them to l last. I have a dressing room, yes, I have a lot of clothes, but in my defence, there are pieces that I have had for years and years. My approach is good quality and clean lines. You can’t go wrong with that. I tend to have a summer and winter look. Summer is more fluid lines and maybe a pattern. Winter is solid colour and classic cuts. I love the styles of the ‘40s and ‘50s. I think it was such a beautiful time for women. Ava Gardner and Audrey Hepburn are my favourites. Audrey Hepburn is still heralded as the most stylish woman because she wore simple lines.

I know you are a real fan of Winser London and I believe Connie has recently discovered us too…! Which pieces caught your eye this season and how would you - and Connie - wear them?

It was my agents Sarah and Grace who introduced me to Winser London. They have the Audrey jumpers. Well, that was it for me. I was in love. I have quite a few key pieces that I can wear all year round. The reversible poncho is a Godsend. Summer time it can be thrown over a vest for those chilly evenings and winter time over my Audrey jumper. The Miracle range is my ultimate go-to collection. The Lauren and Grace dresses fit beautifully and, strange as it may sound, are designed for a woman’s body. I have a bust, waist and hips. I like them and like a dress that celebrates that too. Now my love has spread to Connie. After my break to direct Casualty we’ll re-launch her and will do so in Winser London. It’s perfect for the character. Strong, independent and stylish. Win. Win.

Posted in 0 By chris sandford


Friday, 1 September 2017 05:27:54 Europe/London

Style Icon - Leandra Medine

LEANDRA MEDINE started Man Repeller - the online magazine and blog - in 2010 based on the notion that great fashion is about pleasing women, not men. Since then, she has developed her trademark humorous voice, which has proved to the industry that fashion can be funny, whilst it’s a serious and substantial business. Women around the globe have started using the term "Man Repelling" as a verb, further proving Medine's widespread influence.   Born in 1988, a New Yorker, she is married to a UBS financial adviser.  She has a Down Town office with a staff of 10 and 2 million readers and followers.  She no longer models all the crazy clothes herself but when she poses in her ridiculous outfits she looks adorable and hilarious; one can’t be sure if she is endorsing or mocking.  There is always a witty charm to the fashion mash-up, but in her private life she admits to wearing jeans and shirts and other non- man repelling kit.  Medine is a solid fixture on the New York fashion scene; invited to all the shows and launches, easily recognised by PRs and paparazzi.  Laughter is such a precious commodity I’m quite happy to see her in a straw hula skirt in a Manhattan street. The fact that it’s actually by some fab glam designer brand makes it an “emperor’s new clothes moment”.

Style Icon - Leandra Medine

Posted in 0 By chris sandford

Miracle Dress Collection

Friday, 1 September 2017 04:27:04 Europe/London


The Miracle Dress Collection



It was as a result of Winser London's first collection of our Ponte di Roma double stretch jersey, that quite a few of our customers wrote in to say what a miracle the pieces were and how they had boosted their confidence. We listened and named the collection 'Miracle' straight away. The Miracle fabric and clever designs flatter all shapes and sizes - the viscose jersey has a two-way stretch that fits and flatters and doesn’t crease, enabling you to wear the pieces from desk to dinner with just a simple accessory update. You'll look just as good at the end of the day as at the start.
The collection launched with five styles and has grown to include leggings, trousers, skirts and dresses to suit all figures. Carefully considered design details make this collection extra special: soft pleat detailing across the stomach area, grosgrain finished zips, incorporated pockets for an easy, elegant style, colour blocking to slim. Explore our Miracle collection to find the perfect style to simplify your wardrobe and boost your confidence. It really is a miracle!

The Miracle Dress Collection

Posted in 0 By chris sandford

Charlotte-Anne Fidler

Friday, 1 September 2017 03:30:25 Europe/London

Charlotte-Anne Fidler Interview

Creative Director, Charlotte-Anne Fidler, is my ‘Woman of Substance’ for September. Charlotte has spent her career creating beautiful fashion and lifestyle images for glossy magazines – including Vogue, Marie Claire, ELLE and US Glamour - and has styled celebrity covers including Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Adele and Gwyneth Paltrow et al. In 2012 she moved from Hackney with her young family to an idyllic village in Wiltshire where she indulges her passion for gardening – in between freelance styling and looking after her two daughters, Anouk, 14 and Bo, 9.
We met for a drink at KPMG’s private members’ club, Number 20, in Grosvenor Street, Mayfair.

Charlotte, what a fantastically interesting career! You have met and worked with some of the world’s most talented people. Do tell us about your favourite moments.

I’ve loved almost every minute of my career. I’ve had the chance to travel the world, stay in wonderful places (the Hotel Bel Air was a favourite) and to work with extraordinary people. Favourite moments: meeting Beyonce and shooting Destiny’s Child’s last cover (they used it for their greatest hits album); running around a park in Brooklyn with the adorable Amanda Seigfried and her equally adorable dog, Finn; working with inspiring people like hairdresser Sam McKnight, make-up artists Mary Greenwell and Lisa Eldridge and creatives like Robin Derrick (ex-creative director of Vogue). And but my favourite part was always coming home!

Where do you start with a celebrity styling job? Do you have a system, a method or do you work in a more organic way each time?

For a magazine celebrity feature, I was always the creative director, too, so I would have a concept – perhaps inspired by the movie the celebrity was promoting or something about the celebrity herself – so that would be the starting point. For example, I thought Taylor Swift was a little Jean Shrimpton, so I styled her like a cool 60s girl. My references are often very 60s! Amanda Seigfried as a young Bardot; Gwyneth Paltrow as Catherine Deneuve….Then I thoroughly research what shapes work best on their bodies. Even celebrities aren’t always sample size or model thin, so I have to prepare very thoroughly. I would often try all the planned outfits on my assistant on the morning of the shoot (useful for me, not so fun for her!) and literally shoot the looks in the different set-ups. By the time the celebrity arrived, we would have mapped out everything. Very organised! But with celebrities, you have to make it as painless as possible.

How do you see glossy fashion magazines in the future? Will there be a life for print or do you think digital will take over completely?

Magazines have been such a huge part of my life, I am hoping that there will always be a place in peoples’ lives for print. Particularly for glossy magazines where digital can’t replace the luxury of having this beautiful, weighty, glossy thing in your hands. But digital offers endless content and engagement possibilities that I hope magazines are smart enough to explore. All brilliant ways of getting your brand across in a creative and interactive way.

What is it about Instagram that has caught your imagination? You talk about its “positive and inspiring community” – do tell us more about your relationship with your followers.

I had found it hard to get excited about social media until Instagram came along. Then my agent encouraged me to use Instagram to ‘build my brand’ and I was hooked. What’s wonderful is that I can use each picture as a chance to create something beautiful every day. And to share that beautiful little thing with a fantastic group of people who always react positively - and have been as supportive and caring as close friends. It’s also been a great way to keep in touch with the people that I’ve worked with – the photographers, make-up artists, hairdressers – and love, but might not see every day. And a way to connect with like-minded creative people around the world. I’ve got to know and have good IG relationships with gardeners, interior designers and cat lovers from the US to South America and Australia!

You have created enviably chic, calm interiors and the most beautiful garden at your Wiltshire home. How do you feel your professional ‘eye’ has helped you create such an aesthetically pleasing home?

People in my world do seem to have beautiful homes – even if our speciality is not interiors. I was gardening as a small child and was interested in interiors long before I discovered fashion. I just wanted to make everything around me beautiful. I think it was that – and always devouring my mother’s collection of wonderful photographic books from Burt Stern to Eve Arnold – that developed my ‘eye’. I suppose that the balance and beauty that creates a great picture is what also makes a great interior or good garden design.

Do you have any exciting plans lined up?

I’m creating a brand! It’s not what everyone will expect from me – ie gardening or lifestyle – but I’ve seen a gap in the market and I’m going to fill it. It’s also a chance to build a new career and profile now that magazines aren’t so much in my life. I can’t say much more right now, but let’s just say that it will make my daughters very happy. We’re aiming to launch Spring 2018 if everything goes to plan.

You are a fan of Winser London’s collections and I know you have been impressed by our Miracle collections over the seasons. What is it about the Miracle styles that you appreciate?

My working life is so mixed – from art directing shoots to working from my kitchen table – that I need clothes that can cover all bases and, importantly, be comfortable. Days on set can be long and stressful but I need to look chic and ‘in charge’. That’s where the Miracle collection pencil skirts and dresses come in. When you have a 7am start, pulling on a dress that makes you look amazing and feel great is a no brainer. And there is something so sexy and powerful about a woman in a pencil skirt and heels. The Miracle Leggings are my go-to when I’m working from home (tempting tho’ it is, I draw the line about wearing my PJs all day!). It’s not easy to find a legging that does all the right things, but the Miracle styles do great things for my legs, are comfortable (a must when you are at your computer all day) and smart enough to wear to a meeting if I team them with a knit and a boot.

She loves all things digital and has 29,000 followers on Instagram- see @charlotte_Annefidler - where she posts fabulous images of her beautiful garden, watched over by her three leonine Maine Coon cats.

Posted in 0 By chris sandford

Love Knitwear

Friday, 1 September 2017 03:28:42 Europe/London

Love Knitwear - The First Edit

Knitwear is the first step in building a great winter wardrobe. A fabulous knitted coat completes an outfit stylishly, while sumptuous knits with texture or pattern, coupled with reliable classics, give you the perfect piece for every occasion.
Here is our first edit of our Autumn knitwear, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled as there is plenty more to follow.

Love Knitwear - The First Edit

Posted in 0 By chris sandford

Soft Tailoring

Friday, 1 September 2017 03:25:45 Europe/London


Soft Tailoring With Our Signature Crepe Jersey

Soft tailoring is more versatile than its traditional sister. It makes for east wardrobe dressing and is available in a selection of dresses, coats, trousers, jackets and skirts.
Our excellent quality, weighty crepe jersey fabric is ultra flattering, as it skims the figure to leave you feeling confident and stylish.
As a result of the huge success of this edit last season, we bring you new styles and colours for the season to take you into Autumn in style.

Soft Tailoring With Our Signature Crepe Jersey

Posted in 0 By chris sandford

Back to Work

Tuesday, 1 August 2017 15:19:28 Europe/London

Back to Work

I don’t feel any nostalgia for the years when we wore so much black to work, whether it was designer or not, we still tended to choose suiting that veered towards the masculine. How lovely it is now to see business women in a position to choose from a plethora of gorgeous dresses. Working five days a week all-year-round requires a good wardrobe of workwear. How we present ourselves makes a huge difference to how we feel at a senior level in a corporate world. At last we have designers listening to our needs and Kim Winser was ahead of the game when she launched Winser London. This week, The Telegraph has launched a workwear column written by Isabel Spearman, Samantha Cameron’s stylist whilst she was at Number 10. The Miracle Dresses are loved by the those who want to be smart and groomed and need several options to wear without spending a fortune. I love to spot the dresses popping up on television presenters and in the press. We are now allowed to be colourful and a bit sexy, and this season’s Miracle Dresses are in new colours and shapes with some nifty colour-blocking. A cool blue palette, duck egg, Winser blue and midnight navy; warmer colours feature in rich berry, plum and coffee. Of course, there is always black, if you love it and it makes you feel great. Two new shapes, the Miracle Flared Colour Blocked Dress, £135, and the Miracle Sporty Colour-Block Dress, £115 are added to the collection.

Posted in 0 By chris sandford