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Whistles makes its mark with original prints, luxury fabrics and an exclusive-feeling store.

Product 8

After a mixed first year under former Topshop brand director Jane Shepherdson, there is some pressure on Whistles to continue upping the fashion ante again this autumn. Structured shifts, abstract prints and velvet dresses are all there, but the party girl sequins, other than a small splash on one dress, have been left off the roster. There is instead lots of luxury silk and cotton fabrics and some original prints such as clouds and dandelion clocks.

Experience 7

This is a comfortable store to shop in, small but with a luxe-feeling interior consisting of  a mixture of dark wood flooring, glass tables, stainless steel rails and jacquard curtains for the changing rooms. The forest-like colour palette used on Whistles’ autumn 09 range is only pepped up with some apple and rose tones, so the store ends up with a slightly moody feel. However, staff are friendly, so all in all it feels like quite an exclusive shopping experience.

Value 7

The high price points have been addressed since Shepherdson first came on board, and are now much more reasonable for what is quite an exclusive offer. A multi-zip leather biker jacket may be £350 but black jeans are just £60, while a silk black biker dress is a snip at £85. A green and black structured shift with a dandelion clock print is £150 and a 100% merino wool short-sleeved knit with an exposed zip at the back is a respectable £70.

score 22

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