I can actually remember the first Next store that opened in my home town. It was the early 1980s, and a Next to Nothing opened in Kings Square, West Bromwich. As a child it always had an air of cool about it, full of what the best dressed would be wearing tomorrow, as well as today. Step forward 30 years, and Next is still a byword for affordable style on the High Street.
It seems totally appropriate for a brand that has become a British Icon to hold its 30th anniversary press day in the home of British Fashion Week. Last week, Somerset House became the setting for one of the most glamorous (and definitely the hottest) press day of the season. The Portico rooms were transformed into style studios filled with the Autumn/winter 2012 ranges.
And in this birthday year, Next has decided to focus on iconic pieces of British Style. The collection is entitled 30 years – 30 pieces, and is full of garments that signify their English heritage, from country tweeds to grey wools. There are boxy wool jackets that give a nod to new royal favourite Rebecca Taylor (in royal blue of course), and wool fleck style coats that scream Stella Tennant and English Country piles.
But it is not all wool and tweed. The new season is also the one which contains the party season, and this was well represented in an array of stunning beaded dresses that take inspiration both from Ancient Greece (we’re not lettting London 2012 disappear any time soon), and also in The Great Gatsby, due to be released at Christmas and already much anticipated. Along with those flapper style beaded dresses, there are cloche hats and suede Mary Janes which all had me thinking about the Jazz Age.
And what of those 30 pieces? These are the icons of British style that every wardrobe should own. There’s leather, and florals, pencil skirts that have glamorous glitter thread running through them, ready to be teamed with Chanel style jackets and cardigans. There is an essential, go with anything clutch bag, and a fur trimmed cape that evokes the lush images of Dr Zhivago.
This was an inspired collection, looking forward as well as looking back, and with so many key pieces that will easily fit into your wardrobe, mixing and matching with items you already have.
Here are a few more things that I loved.