In between watching shows at London Fashion Week on Friday, my friend Angela suggested we divert via Harvey Nichols (I know, tough one) to look at Stills, a Dutch brand she is currently working with. Stills has been going a long time but recently Martin Tramper and Korrie Vulkers took over the design vision of the brand and gave it a good modern kick up the design-bottom, resulting in a range of very lovely, considered clothes that are like modern classics.
I do listen to Angela because she is not one to be easily impressed, having spent her entire working life as either a senior buyer or seller of top end fashion and she’s nurtured many of today’s London designers through her involvement with the the CFE . She thought I’d like Stills because it’s well made, not too expensive for the quality of fabric used and the designs are easy to wear. ‘It nods to fashion but isn’t dictated by it’ she said, ‘try some on and see what I mean’.
So I did. Big Mistake. Hard to resist.
There are many good pieces in the collection, starting with the above mono-zig-zag oversized cardi, which is made from strokeably-soft angora/ cotton/polyester, which would brighten up a wardrobe drowning in boring-black (mine) wonderfully. It has pockets, is an easy fit and looks immensely useful. I bought it, dear reader, as I think it’s a modern classic, even at £235.
Then below I fell for the nicely-long pink mohair/merino mix sweater with elegant elbow length sleeves. The sweater has lycra in it so it is a good fit and it has a retro-feel boat neckline that feels quite Audrey-Hepburnish. But here’s the thing about this new-season pink, when you put it on you feel a bit piggy-like in it., particularly when it’s a close fitted I adored the pink, but you might prefer it in the midnight blue.
I also admired the navy jersey-knit pencil skirt, above right, which was super-comfy, despite being a slim-ish fit. There’s a little zipped vent flap for easy walking at the back and I’d urge anyone who needs a navy anchor in their wardrobe this season to consider investing in it. Being knitted jersey, even if you don’t wear ‘smart’ clothes, this might work, as you could throw an oversized sweater over this (in pink perhaps? oversized is less sausage like) and add a pair of brogues/chelsea boots and be off.
Angela states the company’s best sellers are the digital print tunics such as the one above right, often the imagery is of landscapes around Amsterdam where the company is based. The sales girls in the Harvey Nichols Stills shop (on the second floor, where it has been gaining momentum for nearly a year) say the dresses go very fast as customers love the fact they are so easy to wear and come back for more.
Over the tunic dress above is the midnight blue version of the fluffy knit in a very, very covetable teddy-cardigan. I dare you to try it on and not want to take it home.
The clothes aren’t cheap, but I think they are stylish wardrobe essentials that are cut well enough and made from fabric nice enough to last in your wardrobe for many years. And they are positively well priced compared with many designer ranges I have viewed this weekend that are not nearly such good quality. But the win-factor for me is the undemanding style factor, you don’t have to think too hard and they wont make you feel too dressed up, yet you feel instantly more fabulous.
Stills has a shop-in-shop boutique in Harvey Nichols and some of the range is on the website here. Sadly it only goes up to a size 16, but the sweaters and dress shapes are generously cut.