Bastyan. Pure feminine fluid covetability.

by Katie on August 11, 2010

I know there’s currently a fashion infatuation with Jane Sheperdson’s revamp of Whistles and everything that is sold therein but I’m going to out myself here in a big way….I preferred the old Whistles. You know, the one created by Lucille Lewin that then was sold on but still managed to capture the Boho professional working woman’s wardrobe without going all Sienna Miller on it’s ass. I miss it. I shopped there monthly. Forgive me if I say that I’m very far from the stripey/cowl neck t-shirt and Shoreditch type pant wearing that Whistles currently embodies. As we say amongst friends, ‘It’s not for me’.


I say this as I recently delved into the back rail of the many (I know, I’m brave) and discovered a fabulously Ossie Clark type, slit crepe skirt with embroidery. It can be dressed down and up, it’s feminine, it’s me and the label read ‘Press & Bastyan’. I can’t wait to wear it again. Which leads me to Tonia Bastyan.


Tonia Bastyan was originally half of ’90s fashion retail success story, Press & Bastyan, but in recent years she has been working independently on her own designs and has recently launched her label, Bastyan, which currently sells at House of Fraser. I loved this collection for A/W 10. Seriously. It managed to combine fluid draping, modern elements such as asymmetrics, texture clashes and soft to touch fabrics with vintage elements such as beading, ruching and just the right amount of embellishment and embroidery on selected key pieces. Tonia’s vision is to allow a woman to extend her wardrobe from season to season and this is right on the money. She goes at design with a woman’s sensibility, understanding the demands of a wardrobe but also the need for beauty and key note feminine highlights which add character as surely as the wearer. The A/W 10 collection felt more feminine and modern than many a catwalk show and I’m only sorry that we don’t have someone as talented as Tonia Bastyan showing at London Fashion Week where she surely deserves her place.

Says Tonia, “There’s a real gap in the market for clothes for working women – those like me who are thirty plus and looking for something a bit different.”

The Bastyan collection is a cornucopia of chic separates, all equally covetable with a colour palette that is largely a muted range of hues throughout but predominantly geared around black, navy and varying shades of grey…a nod to fashion’s mood of austerity. Flashes of bottle green and claret have been added to some key statement pieces but it’s the clash of texture, the juxtaposition of delicate fabrics with razor sharp tailoring, the fluidity of the knitwear, the ability to easily understand it’s reasoning and place and the ability to layer the pieces that makes this collection a joy.


Coats play a huge role in the Bastyan range this season with sharply defined cuts adding a dash of dark winter drama in their chic severity. Balanced against these pieces are a collection of divine dresses perfect for the season of going out — beautiful draped gowns in liquid satins that flow and ebb around the body, accentuated by deep jewel colours.

These are pieces destined to be worn for seasons to come, pieces that define the brand essence of providing a cool, clean, understated vision of urbane luxury to its customer. Someone please give this woman her own range of stores.

The Bastyan collection ranges in price from £60 to £350 and is available from House of Fraser.


Please feel free to leave a comment telling me what you think of Bastyan or Whistles in the comment box below or in the ‘shout mix’ box opposite. Thanks.
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

That's Not My Age August 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Oh I agree with you on the Whistles scenario, I used to love it when Lucille Lewin was in charge, it was fantastic, and I still have a pair of trousers probably from the late eighties (?) that I will not throw away. A friend of mine works in retail and we had this conversation not so long ago. Our conclusion: Whistles is better than it was pre-Jane Sheperdson but not a patch on the Lucille Lewin days. The clothes feel too young.

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Katie Chutzpah August 11, 2010 at 1:54 pm

How many times have I heard friends say this to me? There’s a huge gap that I think Bastyan fills (in terms of design, cut, fabric specification) with not a lot of contenders out there.

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natasha jane August 16, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Its so great to hear comments on the new Bastyan range – I am the brand manager for House of Fraser in Birmingham and hear really positive comments from everyone who sees the collection.
What a great write up Katie, thank you for bringing this exciting new brand to everyones attention!!

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Bastyan Dresses March 31, 2011 at 7:01 am

Great post on Bastyan. Pure feminine fluid covetability. Thanks for sharing.

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