Saturday, September 4, 2010

You can forget Fifth Avenue... Oxford Street leads the world

Revitalised Oxford Street now boasts the world's greatest range of “affordable” fashion stores, according to a global poll.
Kate Moss Oxford Street
Top of the shops: Oxford Street teems with customers, drawn by flagship stores such as Topshop and designers including Kate Moss

Europe's busiest high street easily beat off competition from New York's Fifth Avenue, the Champs-Elysées in Paris,Milan's Via Torino and Tokyo's Omotesando.
Oxford Street won on attributes such as number of brands, affordability, “translating catwalk to shop floor”, and designer collaborations.
An extraordinary 89 per cent of the 50,000 fashion professionals polled by industry magazine Drapers said Oxford Street was best overall. The accolade comes beforeLondon's second high-street fashion week, which runs from next Monday to Friday.
A decade-long campaign to overhaul what was once seen as a tatty shopping boulevard has attracted dozens of international stores and transformed Oxford Street's tired image.
It now has 67 flagship outlets for brands such as Nike, Gap and Uniqlo, with 2.6 million shoppers a week and £6 billion a year spent. The renaissance was symbolised by the opening of the pedestrian “X-crossing” at Oxford Circus last November.
Jace Tyrrell of the New West End company, which represents traders on the strip, said: “Over the next few years Oxford Street is set to see an additional 250,000 square feet of space, making this the largest influx of retail over the past 50 years.”
Stores and fashion experts said the West End's unique mix of edginess and luxury gave Oxford Street an advantage over rivalson the Continent and North America. Jessica Price Brown, editor of Drapers, said: “For a fashion company to be taken seriously on the global stage it really must have a presence in London. Some 50 million international tourists shop Oxford Street, so it truly is a shop window to the world.”
Harriet Quick, fashion features editor of Vogue, said: “It continues to be the Babylon of fashion, with revolving megastores and brands popping up its length and breadth.”
Topshop is arguably the street's best-known flagship — and has had the best-known celebrity designer in Kate Moss, who quit this week after collaborating with the brand for three years. Her final range is launched in October.
Mayor Boris Johnson said: “It's no surprise to me that Oxford Street is top of the pile. Where else can you find impossibly elegant designer wear from across the globe mixing with vibrant high street fashion?”
Britain's favourite clothes stores will be honoured at the Glammys during High Street Fashion Week. Hosted by T4 presenter Jameela Jamil at the Mayfair Hotel on Monday, it will feature awards including excellence in ethical and green fashion, best dressing rooms and most creative window displays.

Extreme poodle makeover....

Who gave me panda eyes? The poodle given a makeover

Last updated at 6:32 PM on 4th September 2010
Clearly this poodle's owner wanted the best of both worlds.
The fluffy canine was given a makeover when its owner decided to dye its hair so it resembled a giant panda for a pet fair in Shanghai, China.
What exactly the pooch thought of the startling result is unclear - but it certainly turned heads as its owner proudly paraded their handiwork at the show.
Head-turning: This poodle was turned into a panda by one 'creative' owner
Head-turning: This poodle was turned into a panda by one 'creative' owner
And where dogs are a man's best friend, the feeling might not be so strongly returned by this spruced-up pooch.
This frankly alarmed-looking animal looks a lot more manageable to care for than a real panda, with one of the endangered creatures typically weighing around 330 lbs.
One thing is for sure - we bet it caused panda-monium when it saw what it looked like.
The craze for transforming poodles has swept the U.S. too, where the breed are trimmed, dyed and adorned with fancy dress outfits in canine 'creative grooming' shows.

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Cliff Richard at 70 !!!

Muscletone and wine

Cliff is still a young one at 70

PAN-TASTIC: Sir Cliff looks chest fine for a 70-year-old calendar boy PHOTO: © Vox Rock Ltd/Danilo 2010
PAN-TASTIC: Sir Cliff looks chest fine for a 70-year-old calendar boy PHOTO: © Vox Rock Ltd/Danilo 2010

ONCE in every lifetime, comes a look like this ... but only if your name's Cliff Richard.

Now approaching 70, the Peter Pan of Pop reveals the body of a 45-year-old for this October pose in his 2011 calendar.
And it's Congratulations to bachelor boy Sir Cliff on the near-six-pack, put down to a healthy lifestyle punctuated by the odd glass of wine and regular tennis and swimming.
The singer's calendar is revealed as he prepares to release his latest album - Bold As Brass on October 11 - more than half a century after his first one.
An insider said: "We can't believe Cliff will be 70 in October. "Take a look at the guy - he looks no more than 45. Most guys of 30 would be proud to have a physique like that. But he's reaping the rewards of leading a good, moderate lifestyle.
COVER BOY: At nearly 70 © Vox Rock Ltd/Danilo 2010
COVER BOY: At nearly 70 © Vox Rock Ltd/Danilo 2010
"People in the rock industry used to mock his clean living. Most of them are either bald and fat now. Or dead."
Sir Cliff has little to worry himself grey about. Worth £50 million, he spends most of the year at his mansion in Barbados.
He owns a vineyard in the Algarve and will launch a new sparkling wine to mark his birthday.
And if vintage Cliff continues to look this tasty in the next decade, then we've got something to say:
Son, you'll be a calendar boy and that's the way you'll stay-ay-ay-ay.
The DVD of Cliff's show is out on November 22 and the Official 2011 Cliff Richard Calendar is on sale in all good stationery stores or online at now.


IT'S just about the hairiest boot yeti - but a new furry footwear design is set to be the season's best seller.

The creation, from Coleen Rooney's favourite boot brand Mukluk, appears to have been inspired by Chewbacca, the hairy alien Wookiee from Star Wars.
It's just one among a flurry of furry, feathered or fringed footwear styles which are proving hot stuff on the catwalks this autumn and are kicking established brands such as Uggs and Crocs into the kerb. And celebrities such as Lily Allen, Kelly Brook, Terri Seymour and Katie Price are already hot on the trend for hirsute boots.
Fur enough ... £380, Mukluk
Fur enough ... £380, Mukluk

How to dress like an Italian.

Milan shopping: how to dress like an Italian

How do you achieve that effortless elegance? Go to Milan to learn the rules, says Evie Dow.

1 of 2 Images
Milan shopping: how to dress like an Italian
'The surrounding streets have to be the best trying-on territory in the world: Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Armani, Prada, Gucci, the DMagazine outlet at via Montenapoleone 26...'
Why do the British, their wardrobes crammed with clothes, so often look a mess while the Italians, with generally fewer clothes, invariably look so elegant?
Italian image consultant Margherita Perico believes the reason we buy so many clothes is that we don't know what suits us. Consequently, we are continually going shopping, caught up in an eternal hunt for the magic something that will transform us. But because we don't really know what we should be looking for, we keep buying the wrong thing, or at least the not-good-enough thing. Well-dressed Italians, on the other hand, have a uniform and abide by certain sartorial rules, with the happy outcome we have all seen around us on our travels.
"You British are so… individual," sighs the small, pretty, deceptively unassuming Ms Perico, stirring her espresso at Pasticceria Cova on via Montenapoleone, in the heart of Italy's fashion capital. "But in London, everywhere I look I see the jacket too long, the trouser too short, the earring too small, the bag too big… It is a shame."
Once we know the rules and what we should be looking for, she says, we will buy less – but better. We might spend more than we did before as our taste becomes more refined, but it will be on clothes we actually wear rather than leave on a hanger until condemning them to eBay or a charity shop.
"People are scared to consult an image consultant," Perico explains, smiling. "They think it will be expensive or embarrassing. Yes, you need money – and beautiful clothes do cost more – but expensive fabric performs very differently from cheap fabric, and the outlay brings savings in the long run. Improving your look is an incredible help in life – and everyone can do it, whatever their budget." By this time, with my coffee growing cold, I am almost begging her. Tell me the rules, Margherita! How can we all look like Italians?
"So. The secret of Italian style is simple yet complex: fit, colour and fabric," she begins. "Every client, the first thing I tell them is 'Please, keep it easy, keep it clear, keep it simple'. The first rule is to know your body. Dressing well means time in front of
a full-length mirror. Stand, turn, sit and lie like a Velasquez painting in front of a mirror. Analyse and accept yourself, good points and the bad. Otherwise, you will be dressing something you don't know. It will be like having a round table and buying a square cloth. It could be nice, but it also could not."
The second rule is to restrict the colours you wear. "Italians wear just two at a time," Perico advises. "They buy only four: black, blue, brown and white. In winter, black is king; in summer, white is black."
The third and most important rule is to pay close attention to fit. "Clothes should skim the body," Perico says. "Too tight, and it is as if you are exploding. Too big, especially if you are curvy, and people worry what is underneath."
So there you are. As we stand up – in front of a full-length mirror in the café – she gently grasps the back of my jacket. "You see?" she says. As I look at my new, waisted silhouette, I feel as if my eyes have only just opened. It's my favourite jacket, but how could I have been so blind? It doesn't fit!
Take me shopping, Margherita, I implore. The surrounding streets have to be the best trying-on territory in the world: Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Armani, Prada, Gucci, the DMagazine outlet at via Montenapoleone 26… She laughs. "Women go too crazy for the shopping. Start with accessories; be the diva with those. Study more before buying more. Women should be like men, and know that the most beautiful thing can be to go not to a shop but to a very good tailor. Then you must wait, but you get perfection." On behalf of the nation: thank you, Margherita.


Avoid Sunday/Monday: shops in Milan close from 7.30pm on Saturday to 3.30pm on Monday.


Margherita Perico (00 39 348 493 8665, charges from £580 for an image consultation, including photographs.


For costume jewellery at brilliant prices (£60 for a necklace Versace would sell for £300), try the tiny treasure trove Anna Tarabelloni & Co (00 39 02 760 21 169) at via Gesù 15. And for the ultimate sartorial treat, visit master tailorGianni Campagna (00 39 02 77 88 11, at via Palestro 24, where Karl Lagerfeld and Valentino go for their own hand-made suits.


In the centre, close to the four most famous fashion streets (della Spiga, Montenapoleone, Sant'Andrea and Manzoni), hotel options include The Townhouse, Four Seasons, The Gray, Park Hyatt and Bulgari. Ten minutes away, the grandest of all is the Principe di Savoia (00 39 02 62301,, where heads of state and fashion editors stay, with marble bathrooms, one of Italy's great bars, and a complimentary limo shuttle to the centre. Rack rates start at £630, so book through a tour operator. Abercrombie & Kent (0845 618 2213, is offering two nights from £530 per person, b&b, with Alitalia flights and private transfers.


Busy Pasticceria Cova at via Montenapoleone 8 and chic Caffè Baglioni at via della Spiga 6 are good for a pre-shop cappuccino. At lunch, fashionistas still pack Nobu (00 39 02 6231 2645, at Armani's store on via Manzoni. In the evening, try the coolly dramatic, two-Michelin-starredTrussardi alla Scala (00 39 02 806 88201,, by La Scala opera house, or Antica Trattoria della Pesa (00 39 02 655 5741) at viale Pasubio
10, full of atmosphere and flavour.


The tiny Luxe Guide to Milan (, £4.99) is fun.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Police force unveils its latest weapon against crime.... a tractor?

The long farm of the law: Police force unveils its latest weapon against crime - a....TRACTOR?

Last updated at 9:56 AM on 3rd September 2010
DCI Gene Hunt would have a few choice words to say if he had to fire up this instead of his Quattro.
With a top speed of 25mph, it would hardly be the wheels of choice for a Life on Mars detective and would be hard-pressed to catch anything – let alone a getaway car.
Even so, Lincolnshire Police hope this five-ton tractor could help bring criminals to justice.
Crops and robbers: The 25mph tractor has been fitted with a flashing blue light in case of high speed chases
Crops and robbers: The 25mph tractor has been fitted with a flashing blue light in case of high speed chases
The John Deere 6630, complete with distinctive blue and yellow livery, is being used for Operation Fusion, the force’s initiative against rural crime.
It will appear at agricultural shows to encourage farmers to ‘tag’ their own tractorswith Smartwater, a liquid produced in unique batches that can be seen under UV light to identify the owner.
With a whopping price tag of £50,000, not including the custom paint job, the force can count itself lucky that it is being loaned the tractor by the manufacturer.
The tractor has been kitted out with a flashing blue light, police stripes and badges. The force will have to pay its running costs. 
Although serving a rather passive role on a day-to-day basis, senior officers think it might come in handy in the event of severe flooding or an environmental disaster.
CSI Ambridge: The main purpose of the rustic Z-car will be to spearhead the launch of Operation Fusion - an initiative against agricultural crime
CSI Ambridge: The main purpose of the rustic Z-car will be to spearhead the launch of Operation Fusion - an initiative against agricultural crime
Chief Inspector Phil Vickers, who came up with the idea, said: ‘I have taken the tractor out for a spin and it does require some skill to control, so all credit to the guys who do this for a living.
‘The tractor looks like a bit of fun but there is a serious message behind it – that we take rural crime seriously and want to work closely with our local communities. At this time of year agricultural crime can have a big impact on farmers because if a tractor is stolen people can lose their jobs or livelihood.
‘That’s why we are trying to make people aware of all the deterrents that are available and encouraging farmers to avoid becoming victims by tagging their vehicles.’
The cost of altering the vehicle’s standard green livery was paid for by the National Farmers Union following a year in which the value of tractor thefts soared as many were stolen to order for delivery to Eastern Europe and Russia.
More than 2,000 tractors worth £42million were stolen last year, up by a third on 2008. 
An NFU spokesman said: ‘Tractors and farm implements seem to be at the top of thieves’ shopping lists at the moment, so NFU is delighted to support Lincolnshire Police in its drive to make farmers aware of how they can better protect their farms.’

Moscow drivers see 'zebras' crossing.

Moscow drivers see 'zebras’ crossing

Moscow drivers were greeted on Friday by 'zebras’ walking back and forth some of their busiest intersections.

It was part of a police campaign to call attention to the importance of zebra crossing, which are routinely ignored in the Russian capital, contributing to the large number of pedestrians who are hit by cars.
Those who slowed down may have noticed the zebras were in fact light grey horses painted with black stripes. They carried yellow signs on their back reading “Careful, children are on their way to school”.
In the first six months of this year, 378 people were killed and more than 6,600 injured on pedestrian crossings in Russia, according to police. In Moscow alone, 43 people were killed, including two children


SmartForFiveOh: Small Florida town employs Smart police cruiser

SmartForFiveOh: Small Florida town employs Smart police cruiser

Belle Isle Police Chief John Tegg with his new Smart ForTwo Police Cruiser

When your Police Chief is six-feet tall and weighs 280 pounds, you might consider it cruel and unusual punishment to issue him a Smart fortwo as his police cruiser. But that is exactly what the folks in Belle Isle, Florida have done. Heck, if it's good enough for Batman, it's good enough for Belle Isle, right? According to the Orlando Sentinel, Chief John Tegg insists that he's perfectly comfortable once he gets situated inside – at least physically. "One fella told me he's not sure he'd pull over for this little thing," Tegg said. "I said you'd better if you know what's good for you."

The fledgling police department in this small Orange County town claims that this is the first Smart pressed into constabulary duty in America. While we can't verify that claim, the Belle Isle force plans on using the vehicle for patrols. However, with no backseat, Tegg admits there is room for little more than a ticket book, so the good chief will have to call for backup if someone needs to be hauled off to jail. Showing that they at least have a healthy sense of humor about the situation, the squad has issued the car a unit number of "point-five" – as in half a car. We're calling it Smart ForFiveOh, or Smart ForPoPo. Anything else come to mind? We're sure you can come up with something better.

Police officers suspended after writing off suspect's sports car.

Friday 03 September 2010 | Law and Order feed

Two police officers have been suspended from driving duties after they stopped a suspected drink driver then wrote-off his sports car by crashing through a garden wall.

The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution after the police officers crashed it
The Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution after the police officers crashed it Photo: MEN
The high-powered Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution was driven across a grass verge, then across the garden of one luxury home and through the neighbour’s garden fence before ending up on its side.
Both officers, who are under investigation, were found inside the vehicle.

One suffered minor injuries and the other was left severely shaken.

They had stopped the car for driving erratically around 2.15am today on Hale Road in Hale, Cheshire.
The 23-year-old driver was arrested on suspicion of drink driving and his car impounded.
Police policy is to wait for a recovery vehicle to take away the car.
The collision is now being investigated by officers from Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) professional standards unit.
Both officers have been suspended from driving duties with immediate effect.
Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts from GMP, said: ”I can assure the local community that this incident will be rigorously investigated.
”Thankfully, no members of the public were injured. I would like to apologise to residents if this incident has caused any problems or inconvenience.”
The suspected drink driver remains in custody.