Debenhams’ fashion-led sub-brand Red Herring covers off most of spring 09’s trends, with boho, structural, high-shine, nautical and florals exemplified by satin-sheen jumpsuits, panelled bandeau dresses, harem pants, pixelated florals, tunics and anchor-motif vests. The Designers At ranges caters for the older customer – Rocha John Rocha offers floral prints dresses, the stain-sheen affect is seen at Star by Julien McDonald, while J by Jasper Conran opts for the structural and floral trends.
About half of the first floor and all of the second floor are devoted to womenswear, with Red Herring on the first floor and J by Jasper Conran on the second floor being awarded the most space. The move is canny, with these two brands carrying the standout pieces in the form of dresses – the category of choice at Red Herring and the rest of the Designers At ranges.
Given that Debenhams is one of Westfield’s anchor stores, there is little to dramatically differentiate it from its other shops in terms of design. But the sparkly floor does add interest. Still, given its size, it’s tidy and well laid-out, with each category, sub-brand and concession easily identifiable. The shop was well-stafedf and plenty of them approached Drapers offering to help. There was a 20%-off everything offer in store, with some half-price knitwear at Red Herring.
Day-time dresses at the Designers At ranges are good value at the £50 mark. A smarter, more tailored silver dress with cap sleeves and pin-tucking at J by Jasper Conran was worth the £80 and there is a matching jacket for £25, while an embroidered, paisley tunic at Rocha John Rocha is only £30. The Red Herring collection was spot on – vests started at just £4 and jeans at £20, with a panelled shift dress at £18. But the £45 jumpsuit and £50 bandeau dress were too much – cheaper and more design-led versions can be found at young fashion specialists.
There are a lot of good pieces at Debenhams but much of it seems to be too young for my age group. It is one of the first places I would look if I had to buy something for a special occasion like a wedding.
Eileen McKee, 59, carer