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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Joe Bromley

Dame Joan Collins’ 10 shopping commandments: from Saint-Tropez markets to Zara

Buy a status symbol handbag at your peril 

‘You know what — I have grown to really hate handbags and mascara. I just can’t be bothered. I just try to have a little clutch. I understand it’s difficult to have a little clutch when you go out shopping during the day, but I’m not really interested in the status symbol of handbags. I must have quite a few Chanel ones, but they’re terribly heavy. Anna Wintour never carries a handbag, so I’ve heard.’

Thou shalt not fear the supermarket (or Harrods) 

‘I’ve shopped at Marks & Spencer since I was a little girl with my mother. I’ve always liked it. I particularly like the food — the coronation chicken and the spaghetti bolognese. And I have always shopped there for underwear; bras, tights, stockings, nightgowns and dressing gowns. They’re also very good for T-shirts and jeans. In fact, I was there just yesterday, and I saw some of what they call joggers. They’re like jeans and joggers in this distressed denim. Now, I don’t like wearing jeans, but I think I’m probably going to get them. Jeans, particularly if they’re soft and easy to pull on, are easy to wear. I also like Fortnums, Waitrose and Harrods, I guess. It’s very expensive at Harrods, though.’


Stay woke 

‘The first item I ever saved up for was pretty non-woke, if you know what I mean. It was many years ago in California, and I wanted a particular kind of a fur coat. I saved up my housekeeping money because I wasn’t acting then — I was a little housewife married to Anthony Newley with two children — and I bought the coat. I’m not going to tell you [the variety of fur] because I’d get hate mail. I don’t get hate mail, and I will keep it like that. One of the most exciting things I’ve ever bought was in the Saint-Tropez market about eight years ago; a black gilet trimmed with fake fur that I absolutely adore and have practically lived in ever since.’

Buy yourself an iPhone 

‘Obviously everybody has to have an iPhone. But we also have a landline. It’s essential to have a landline as well in case everything goes wrong, which it can do. I mean, look at what happened when all the airline systems went out. There’s just no question. I have flashlights and torches and candles in the house, too, in case all the electricity goes. Be prepared — that’s my motto.’

Embrace the urge to splurge and abide by Roger Moore’s advice 

‘My most extravagant purchase ever was a Rolls-Royce, during the height of Dynasty. I was driving a nice BMW and Roger Moore said, “Oh, you can’t drive a BMW.” He had a Bentley and I said I don’t like Bentleys, I prefer a Rolls. So I have this Rolls and called her Beryl, because I really love her. I still have her, she lives in LA.’

Never allow oneself to get distracted among the rails 

‘Sometimes people ask me for pictures, but I usually say — look, I’m not doing pictures, I’m sorry. When one is shopping, you want to concentrate. If you do a picture with one person, normally a couple of others will come up and ask, so I try to be as inconspicuous as possible. How? With a baseball cap and sunglasses.’ 


Do not buy an outfit last-minute 

‘I’m much too old for last-minute outfits. If there’s anything important happening I’m usually planned a month — or at the very least a few days — in advance. I meet with my dresser Chrissie for my outfits. Lastminute crisis, though? I don’t know. I usually manage to solve it one way or another.'

Stay local — Belgravia is best 

‘I just bought some soap yesterday from the Walden pharmacy on Elizabeth Street. Also Sensodyne toothpaste, which is very good. There’s another shop right around the corner which sells light bulbs and hammers and all of those kinds of things, which I get my husband to do. We have the wonderful Mayhew Newsagents, which I’ve been going to for 20 years. They deliver the newspapers and the magazines to me, and I get the magazines sent to me if I’m in America. They also have every single possible greetings card you could want, and all kinds of sweets and chocolates. There’s also a fabulous shop on Walton Street called Percy Bass — Percy, like my husband’s first name. They sell every gift: embroidered cushions, waste baskets, Kleenex boxes, pictures, everything.'

Buy your broderie anglaise in Zara 

‘I love Zara. The last items I bought there were from the Zara next door to Harrods, where we had just been buying some cheese. I purchased several really nice, white broderie anglaise shirts for the South of France. I usually go to the Zara on the Duke of York Square though, because it’s much closer.’ 

Never throw away a great purchase 

‘I collect clothes. If I buy something that has some value to it, like a Versace jacket or a Valentino skirt, I’ll keep it and have it for years. Years! I wore a black Yves Saint Laurent leather jacket in a picture that I posted on Instagram, and it practically went viral. Just a simple picture, but it was a great jacket.’

Shop like a Dame: Joan Collins' Wishlist


Rolls-Royce Spectre, from £275,000,


Versace blazer, £2,310,


Valentino skirt, £9,600,


Dior, Lady Dior iPhone cover, £370,


Zara top, £25.99,


Sensodyne toothpaste, £4, Walden chymist, SW1

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