December 20 2009
One of the drawbacks of working as a fashion stylist is that I constantly get dragged around the shops by friends who assume that what I do for a living from day to day is as much fun for me on my precious weekend off as it is for them. One of my latest challenges was to find an evening dress for a friend who gave up a high-flying city job to work as an interior designer, thus decimating her salary, and who had recently had her first child, which added to her increasing sense of guilt at spending the kind of money on clothes that would never previously have caused her heart to skip a beat. As a former label junkie she hates the high street, and lives in absolute dread of turning up somewhere dressed in the same outfit as someone else. On top of which, as style editor of How to Spend It, magazine, I have to say that eveningwear on a tight budget is not exactly my forte.
But even I have to say that I excelled myself in my quest. “Butter by Nadia”, which I came across at Question Air in Westbourne Grove, west London, is a range of beautiful draped evening dresses made from lengths of fluid jersey fabric in expensive shades of olive, ballet pink and antique gold. They come in either floor-length or mid-calf-length. The upper part is formed from two open-ended lengths of the same jersey that you drape or wrap around your body in a myriad different ways.
It sounds confusing but it’s actually not at all. And the dress comes with a label which shows the best ways to wear it. The result is an effortlessly elegant draped sheath of a dress with enough flowing fabric to make it look reassuringly expensive, though prices start at £199. There are several catwalk designers who charge several times the price for something similar. And even if you were to turn up an event where someone was wearing the same, you could always nip to the ladies and re-tie it in a different way.