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Off the Record

Rumours, gossip, parties

A VERY BRITISH CLOTH

To mark its 200th anniversary, Savile Row tailor Henry Poole has revived the Winston Churchill chalkstripe, a cloth that it used to sell to the great man. Managing director Angus Cundey (right) showed the cloth to Conservative peer Lord Feldman (1), and said: "Churchill's first order was on our 100th anniversary, so it seemed appropriate to reproduce it now." Meanwhile, Gieves & Hawkes boss Mark Henderson arrived with a BBC film crew to shoot a documentary about Savile Row (2).

BEASTLY GOINGS ON AT THE OFFICE

Although there's been many a bleary-eyed beast sighted since Christmas, this is without doubt the cutest monster to grace the Drapers office this week. The button-eyed and legless slug-type creature, which arrived courtesy of young fashion brand Fly 53, is just weird enough to enter the ranks of designer toys that we love. The camo-print cutie's wide-armed hug-me pose is particularly endearing.

SKECHERS GIVES YOUNGSTER HIS SEA LEGS

Fourteen-year-old Mike Perham became the youngest person to sail solo across the Atlantic last week, reaching the Caribbean island of Antigua after a six-week, 3,500-mile voyage. He was sponsored by Skechers, whose UK country manager Peter Youell said: "When we heard about the challenge he was seeking with such eagerness, we wanted to help." Drapers reckons having the brand name written big on the boat was also an incentive.

PORTAS IS QUEEN OF ALL SHE SURVEYS

Struggling retailers could be given a new lease of life thanks to former Harvey Nichols creative director Mary Portas (below), who will host a BBC2 series Mary, Queen of Shops. Each week, she will help ailing indies to "reconnect with the vision and drive" that first got them into the fashion business. After a heart to heart with the owners, Portas will set tasks for the retailers and give expert advice. If you think your store could benefit from a visit by Portas, production company Optomen Television is asking for interested independents to call 020 7967 1234.

ONE THOUSAND AND COUNTING

Staff and customers at menswear independent The House Designer Wear in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, celebrated selling a record 1,000 suits last year with a Stereo and Sushi party at the town's Ministry of Sound venue Miniclub. Pictured are manager Mark Lane (left) and owner Steven Bell (right) with star customer Anton Kingsley.

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