Is it just ME…Or do you love a mail order fashion catalogue, too?
- Liz Jones laments the end of mail order fashion catalogues from major retailers
- READ MORE: Boden boss says he’s ‘complete nitwit’ for trying to make struggling fashion firm too trendy – as he tells customers he’s ‘effed up’ after profits slump
It’s the end of an era. Last week, Freemans said it would no longer publish its catalogue.
It means the hefty mail order catalogues, which became hugely popular after World War II, are no longer printed by any big retailer.
My much-missed favourite? The Next Directory. When it landed with a woomph! on the doorstep, it was like Christmas, only twice a year.
I couldn’t wait to open its possibilities of a classier, more tasteful, wholly accessible lifestyle. You could shop for bikinis while reading it in the bath.
In its heyday, Next Directory was revolutionary with its hiring of future supermodels Yasmin Le Bon, Linda Evangelista and Naomi Campbell.
Last week, the UK brand Freemans said it would no longer publish its catalogue
I still have the second Next catalogue ever published, from autumn 1988: hardback and a hefty 350 pages.
I treasure it because, at the height of the pandemic in 2020, Next ceased production of its Directory.
I can still remember my first Laura Ashley catalogue in the late 1970s. The polka dots, the pie-crust collars, the bucolic fields.
Oooh. Kays. Grattan. I still have my mum’s knitting and sewing catalogues from the 1960s, with Twiggy on the cover.
The patterns were grounding, tangible in a way the world of online shopping is not.
But, fellow brochure addicts, there is hope. Johnnie Boden has just admitted his decision to limit distribution of his catalogue was a mistake as it ‘still creates an emotional connection . . . People love a detox from a screen’.
At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Next ceased production of its own Directory
So, please, if any Next supremos are reading, bring back the Directory!
Like the return of vinyl over streaming, nothing can replace the anticipation, the unwrapping, the tactile, tangible feeling (oh, and that smell) that life is about to begin.
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