Debenhams has a spring in its step

It was Debenhams post-press show party last night, held as usual in a gorgeous old building in Wigmore Street which apparently used to be a department store. The event traditionally has a tendency to go on long into the night but sadly I was only able to pay a passing visit, although I got to catch up with deputy chief exec Michael Sharp, ops chief and Omar Sharif lookalike Nigel Palmer and my joint favourite (with M&S’s Tanith Dodge) retail HR director Nikki Zamblera.

It was a very nice do with the usual quota of random celebs like athlete Colin Jackson, and the designers like John Rocha and Jasper Conran. Apparently Tess Daly was going too, but she hadn’t turned up by the time I left. All the disabled models from its recent campaign were there too, which was a nice touch and they looked fantastic, although there was a bit of a traffic jam of wheelchairs at the top of the stairs early on in the evening, which I guess is a hazard when you use an old building for an event.

Regular readers will know I don’t know a lot about fashion, although apparently military looks and lots of greys are in for this winter apparently.You’ll be able to read a much fuller account in Drapers. However my eye was caught by a range of Strictly Come Dancing dresses which were being displayed at the top of the stairs. They didn’t leave much to the imagination, and I’m not sure what occasions the average woman would wear them on - you’d certainly make an impression at the dance hall in Penge wearing one - but they were certainly of the moment given how popular the programme is.

Actually the range reflects what Debs is all about these days - understanding the mass-market shopper and giving her something special and distinctive, primarily through its Designers range. It struggled to shake off the image of a company which was stripped to the bone under private equity, but it has one of the very best management teams in the business and has won over the City as well as shoppers with good product and good looking stores. Right now it feels like it has a real spring in its step.