May 08 2010
I was rather disappointed when Samantha Cameron came out as a fan of Comptoir des Cotonniers, blowing the cover of those of us who see this well-priced, well-made, not easily identifiable French range as an unsung essential for less formal times. Admittedly it’s been a yummy-mummy standby for some while, but such is the interest in political WAG wardrobes that now all those interesting, not-quite colours, easy informally-modern shapes, softly lived-in fabrics and quirky details are going to be everywhere.
Thinking that I’d need to transfer my weekend-wear allegiance to a rival brand such as Zadig & Voltaire (the French have a monopoly on laid-back, mid-level chic), I was having one last browse in Comptoir’s Marylebone High Street store and discovered that they have a good new take on individuality. The trench coat is a perennial star of their repertoire, less structured and weatherproof than the big brand versions but a lot cheaper too, and a great, relaxed summer coat.
I was fingering the new season’s versions in three shades of nudes and neutrals, wishing they’d included the khaki I was searching for, when a helpful assistant sidled up and gave me a brochure about the eight other colours for special order. She then whipped out washed linen fabric samples of each and an impromptu fitting session began – I tried on the stock versions for size (they go from 6-16) and then held up the swatches to see which worked.
This being Comptoir, there were several subtle variations on khaki – I pounced on olive (greyish) but found that the greener eucalyptus suited my colouring much better. There were also three different blues and a surprisingly bright pink. The cost is £215 as against £188 from stock, but in a week or so it will be delivered to my home and I have exactly the trench I want – and not one that you could easily put a designer finger on, however high-profile the brand now becomes.