In the 40 years that Susan Graff has been designing dresses for the high-end girlswear brand David Charles, she has seen fashions come, go and come back again. But it's the girls themselves who have changed the most in four decades.
They are "more assertive, more demanding and achingly fashionable", but that should not mean parents should give in to their daughters' desire to look like mini versions of Paris Hilton or Lady Gaga, insists Graff.
There is a new fashion mood this autumn and it doesn't shout - it whispers. It offers a new minimalism, but with distinctly luxe touches like fur and leather, and it marks a return to a low-key, polished elegance. It is about clothes that are grown-up but often with a twist - either literally, as in clever knots of fabric at Yves St Laurent, Burberry Prorsum and Elie Tahari; or metaphorically, like ribbed tights with brogues or 40s-style platforms to sharpen something that might, otherwise, slip into soporific dullness.
An ex-kibbutznik is an unlikely candidate as the creator of a cosmetics collection beloved by a slew of celebs including Cheryl Cole, Kimberley Walsh, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Myleene Klass.
But Israeli-born David Oren (right), who spent his early years on Kibbutz Ben Shemen before moving to the USA, is the creative mind behind Bellapierre, the pure mineral make-up collection on sale across the USA, Europe and the Middle East, and in 17 stores across the UK and Ireland including House of Fraser, where it launched just two months ago.
It's called Don't Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me, and if you obeyed the title you would finish up with a strained shoulder (it weighs in at a hefty two-and-a-half pounds). But Paula Begoun's heavyweight paperback is certainly the book to consult before you go shopping for anything that you might put on your face, from blusher to bronzer, exfoliator to eye-serum.
Our fashion desk - in common with most of the fashion media - has been in denial about the sales. There are sound reasons for this: once we cross the threshold into a "sales" period, we are tacitly acknowledging that the current season is over. So, if we write about sales in June, we are compelled - just at the point when most of us wish to stock up on bikinis, filmy frocks and summery sandals - to stop writing about them and start showcasing autumn trends instead.
Debenhams’ coterie of designers just keeps getting stronger. The latest to join a stable which already includes Jasper Conran, John Rocha, Betty Jackson, Matthew Williamson and Ben de Lisi, is Ted Baker.
The brand, which was founded in Glasgow by the (Jewish) Ray Kelvin, has created a lingerie and sleepwear collection called B by Ted Baker, exclusively for Debenhams stores nationwide.
Ahem, jumpsuits. You will have been reading about them intermittently since April in the glossies and the fashion pages — including this one — but have you yet seen a woman over the age of 17 (celebs in Grazia and Hello apart) actually wearing one?
No, nor me — which is a pity, because the jumpsuit is a stylish, quite grown-up option if you find the right one.
The perennial desirability of white for high summer — both in practical terms for reflecting light, thus making it cooler than dark shades, and aesthetics (nothing looks quite as fabulous on a hot day as icy white) — means that designers return to this particular monochrome every few summers. They cater for a clientele who are unperturbed by weather and possibly less bothered by the extra laundering that is necessary to keep white looking good.
Most fashion pages - these included - proceed from the premise that the majority of its readers are "average" size. In our (ok, my) fluffy, fashion-obsessed head, that translates as size eight to 14, height 5ft 3in to 5ft 7in. In fact, the reality is somewhat different.
The "average" clothing size of British women these days is 16 (up from 14 in 2000, and 12 in 1988), and the average height for UK women is 5 ft 4in.
When I lived in the so-called Golden Triangle south of Manchester in the 70s, it was a lot easier to shop for frocks. There was plenty of enviable merchandise then as now, but it was a lot more obvious where to find than it is for shoppers today.