If, like me, the name BHS conjures up an image of cosy old British Home Stores, with its wardrobe especially designed with Nan in mind, large white labels in the back of the clothes and acres and acres of crimplene, then you are going to be seriously amazed by the contents of this post. BHS is back,and this time round it is a very modern emporium full of stylish togs that will have your friends gasping ‘That’s from BHS?’
I got my first look at the Autumn/Winter BHS collection at The Regents Lofts on Wednesday (along with Sir Philip Green, who was just inches from me…oh!the aura!). The look has a distinctly retro feel, think the 1970s by way of Faye Dunaway and Ali McGraw rather than Slade and the Sweet. This is the 1970s giving a sartorial nod to the 1930s goddesses Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich. Wide leg trousers, fur accents on collars and cuffs, glamorous stoles and tippets thrown over stylish day wear. Beautiful sheer and patterned blouses with pussycat bow necklines were another key feature of the look.
There are looks towards other decades as well. 1960s style patterned tunics in a variety of fabrics looked great teamed with floppy fedora style hats and long goldtone necklaces. One particularly strong look teamed a 1960s style two-tone tunic/dress with black trousers for a neat sharp look. Although the tunic was very ‘Twiggy’, you felt that by teaming it with trousers it could be worn by a slightly older fashionista – hence retaining loyalty to its British Home Stores roots.
Where this collection was particularly strong was in its accessories. A great range of boxy, ladylike handbags, floppy hats and lace up heeled shoes complimented the clothing perfectly. The jewellery also had some standout pieces too, in its array of long necklaces that could be layered to great effect.
BhS are not forgetting their basics.They have a stunning range of knitwear in a whole spectrum of colours that will please all customers, and a range of winter coats that will appeal to all tastes. But with this new Sophie Grey range of stylish separates, they have a range that will rival any High Street store for fashion-forward clothing. And that is quite an achievement for a High Street sleeping giant.