I packed a lot into my Edinburgh trip this month and a highlight was the Jane Davidson fashion show. Recommended frequently as one of Vogue’s best boutiques outside London, Jane Davidson is located on Thistle Street, off Hanover and George, right opposite Pam Jenkins (luxury footwear – think Louboutin and Choo). Jane Davidson is named after the very stylish founder, but is now run by Jane’s daughter, the gorgeous Sarah Murray, who regularly holds fashion shows for press and her most loyal customers. I’ve been trying to get to one of the Jane Davidson shows for months (possibly years!) and finally, the timing was right – the morning show (she holds an evening show too) fell on a date that I was in Edinburgh.
Sadly, I arrived at Jane Davidson in a bit of a sweaty mess thanks to the 25 degree heat (before 11 am, hello? It’s Scotland!) amplified by my ghastly polyester lining. Sarah would have been so disappointed in me if she’d known what lay beneath my jersey dress. Ugh, polyester is just the worst. (Note to the high street: STOP USING POLYESTER). Anyway, I was offered champagne but opted for water to aid my cool-down situation, while the other guests enjoyed a glass of bubbles. We took our seats upstairs (the boutique is housed over two storeys decorated with chic white walls and plush cream carpets). I opened my programme and was delighted to see that Anna Freemantle was modelling (I heard on the grapevine that she keeps trying to retire from the runway… but no-one will let her! Quite right, she’s far too striking not to model). The other models included Natasha, a very leggy girl with good shoulders and a beautiful smile, and Bethany, a relative new-comer to modelling but who, at just 16, most certainly has a bright future ahead of her. Sarah’s casting was spot on and showed that her collections are ageless, and are for all types of women regardless of skin tone or proportion.
We got started, the music ranging from Lily Allen to Iggy Azalea. First up was casual wear, with Anna rocking a pair of grey skinny jeans by SET with shades of oatmeal and a cool fur by Fabiana Filippi. With her Dutch features, blonde hair and sparkling eyes, she had me dreaming of wearing this outfit in a log cabin at Christmas time surrounded by friends and family, toasting marshmallows on an open fire after a roast dinner. We’d be drinking a rich, red wine and listening to Nat King Cole, taking photos, making memories. (I know I’m a self-confessed daydreamer, but doesn’t everyone feel inspired by fashion?)
Anyway, the show continued with Natasha wearing the Diane von Furstenberg Mel top in back, white and pearl – so chic for evening with simple black trousers and an up-do – while Bethany wore the Julianne dress, a classic LBD. A couple of looks later and Bethany’s outfit caught my eye; a boucle knitted jacket with leather shoulder detail teamed with a soft leather skirt, both black, both by SET, both classic and on-trend all at once. The next classic-meets-trendy look that I loved was worn by Bethany again, this time a knitted top by Theory Harmona. The top was short in length but, worn with a knitted skirt that sat high on the waist, remained elegant; the entire look was ladylike but totally rocked the current trend for crop tops, without an ounce of flesh on display. The knitted, no skin affair meant that the outfit works now with bare legs, but will also work in autumn when temperatures drop and Ibiza is but a distant memory. Wear with super tight drainpipe, over-the-knee leather boots. Very chic under a longer length skirt.
Bethany wears SET boucle knitted jacket (£249), SET leather skirt (£225)
Look seven brought some more jeans (this time Kate Moss’ denim of choice, J Brand) on all three models, with a timeless white shirt (menswear), knits and cashmere sweaters by Pringle. Come looks ten, eleven and twelve we delved into evening wear, with Roland Mouret, Preen and Temperley dresses (the go-to designers for a great dress), some Matthew Williamson in the form of the most serenely divine navy blazer with satin collar, navy silk shirt and matching trouser, as well as an embroidered floral jumpsuit and a satin pleat dress and racoon scarf, matching in the most fabulous shade of raspberry. Throw on some oversize shades and heels from Pam Jenkins and my goodness, you’re F-ROW ready for New York Fashion Week. Or just for Sunday lunch on the Forth Floor.
Anna wears Pringle of Scotland white menswear shirt (£150), Pringle of Scotland grey merino menswear sweater (£135), J Brand photoready rail jean in Nightbird (£219)
Bethany wears Matthew Williamson satin pleat dress in raspberry (£755), Matthew Williamson racoon scarf in raspberry (£795)
The special thing about Jane Davidson is that Sarah obviously knows her customer base very well indeed. She knows what women need (practical clothes for every day – hence the quality jeans, neutral knits and furs, and great jackets) and what women want (beautifully made dresses for every occasion) and she buys accordingly.
Natasha wears Roksanda Ilincic Harleton dress (£939)
Anna wears Roksanda Ilincic Ellery dress (£969)
When it comes to styling, Sarah keeps her customer in mind but brings fashion to the mix with the simple addition of a statement necklace, cool sunglasses by Spektre or this season’s must-haves (this summer, the slider). Sarah’s choice of shorts, skirts and light tops for summer, teamed with heavier fabrics such as wool and fur, means that she’s nailed pre-fall at Jane Davidson – and each piece works with multiple others. I wish I had the budget to shop there regularly because, in addition to the quality brands and the current season’s top designers and trends, you receive Sarah’s expertise and knowledge – and that’s priceless.
NB: Please forgive the particularly poor quality photos that don’t do the clothes justice. I was very conscious of distracting the other guests, so took quick snaps with my iPhone for the least disruption.