Effortless style

A NORTH East department store has launched a personal shopping service to satisfy ever fashion whim.

Liz Lamb wearing (from left): Dress from Sportmax shoes LK Bennett; Paul Smith dress and shoes from French Connection; Dress by Paul Smith

IT'S a busy Saturday afternoon and you need an outfit for the evening but the changing rooms are full and the queues for the tills are out the door.

The pressure’s on but the shops are packed, there is nothing in your size and you can’t find a handbag or shoes to match. Sound familiar?

We’ve all been there but a new service offered by Fenwick, in Northumberland Street, Newcastle, aims to take the stress out of shopping.

The department store has launched a dedicated personal shopping service which includes a plush new suite where you can relax and unwind in luxurious surroundings while a fashion stylist does all the hard work for you.

The suite, situated above the fashion floor, is a relaxing space with chocolate wallpaper, stylish lime green chairs, large mirrored changing rooms and even a hotel-style shower.

Joanne Pybus, a former assistant buyer at Fenwick, is the new fashion stylist at the personal shopping suite. It’s her job to roam the floors to find the best outfits to suit your shape and lifestyle while you relax with a coffee or glass of champagne.

She says: “I always like customers to pop in for a quick consultation so I can find out what they need, whether it’s for a particular occasion or event, what size they are and what they want to achieve. Then when they come back for their appointment I will have everything ready for them from clothes, to shoes, handbags and other accessories.

“We know what stock is in store, where to find it, what the key styles are for the season, what’s influenced by the catwalk, so we can bring that knowledge and also do all the leg work for the customer.”

Liz Lamb wears Ralph Lauren dress and Boots from Nine West

The personal shopping service is complimentary and is open to all customers, but by appointment only.

Clare Davis, manager of the suite, says: “The consensus from people is that it’s not intimidating.

“Many people think to use a service like this you have to look a certain way or have a lot of money but we want to get across that it is for everyone.”

Joanne says there has been a very positive response to the service.

“We have had a lot of women who have just had a baby and want to revamp their wardrobe, ladies wanting new workwear, yummy mummies and a lot of mothers of the brides and mothers of the grooms,” she said. I decided to give the service a try and was surprised that all the outfits that Joanne selected for me not only fitted perfectly but looked great on too, even the ones I would not normally have chosen myself.

The clothes, from the new autumn/winter collections, included a beautiful purple jumper dress by Ralph Lauren (£470), a figure-hugging frock by Sportmax (£280), a pink sequin dress by Paul Smith Black Label (£399) and a black rock-chick number with necklace detailing by the same label (£380).

I was able to try them on at my own pace while receiving helpful advice on what shoes and handbags would go best.

All this while relaxing with a glass of Champagne.

Who needs crowds and queues when you can shop in style?

The personal shopping service is by appointment only.

To book call the fashion stylist on (0191) 232-5100.

Thanks to Martin Aitken, regional make-up artist at Dior, for doing the make-up for the shoot. www.dior.com


David Whetstone
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