BURBERRY & WANG SITTING IN A TREE...
Topshop Unique AW12
The allure of the Topshop show is bizarre. Surely, there should be the least amount of excitement around it. It is, after all, a collection that will be sold on your very own high street. So the pieces that come floating down the runway need to be wearable and relatively inexpensive to produce. The margin for error is huge. Throw enough money at a collection and it's bound to be incredible but will anyone be able to afford it? When you have to make clothes that you can produce on mass scale... well, that's where it gets interesting.
There is always a huge amount of buzz around the Topshop show. First of all, the venue is 'off campus' (if we're referring to Somerset House as campus, that is) so it's more difficult to access. If you don't have a ticket there's no point in showing up. The security is intense and the organization runs like clock work. Have a seated ticket? You're quids in. You'll be enjoying the most delicious nibbles and sipping on juice while watching the hottest of celebrities walk in - through a separate entrance no less (a genius move as it eliminates a paparazzi frenzy outside). Lucky enough to nab a standing ticket? It's still worth showing up, just make sure you get there early. If you're at the front of the line then you're likely to get in. This is a show that starts on time and treats its guests well.
PHOTOS: Poppy Delveigne being photographed inside pre-show. Carrie Harwood outside the venue with a cute bunny ring and Oliva Palermo getting struck by the paparazzi.
Let's be honest though. While organization and the way a PR team treats its show-goers is undeniably important - the true success of any collection is judged on what we're all really interested in... the clothes.
As soon as the show ended I let out a giant sigh and said to the person sitting next to me, 'It's like Burberry and Alexander Wang had a baby!' A few minutes later when I regrouped with Shini and Susie by the door Sandra came walking over... 'Oooo, something felt very Burberry about it' one girl said. 'Yeah, but Burberry mixed with Wang!' cooed Sandra. Huh? Major déjà vu moment... clearly we were all on the same page.
It did feel reminiscent of Burberry (the colour palette) and Wang (the cool - 'I want to be her' - models off duty vibe) but in an amazing way. It felt grown up and sophisticated like the Topshop girl had just entered her late twenties. Maybe that's why it spoke to me so much - I felt like the collection was designed for me. Every winter I struggle with outerwear... I don't want to wear another cocoon shaped coat or a plain parka. With this collection Topshop has single handedly made the ankle grazing coat wearable again.
Not only that. The prints were delectable and understated - the little two-tone patterns with x's were my favorite. The knits were big and chunky but flattering - the sort of items you could throw on with a pair of skinny jeans (or slouchy jeans, or pencil skirt, or anything) and look effortlessly put together. There was a navy one that looked exactly like what I've been missing from my wardrobe plus an army green one that resembled animal skin (how did they even do that?). A velvet jumpsuit, leather dungarees, crossed back fastenings (I am all about back details right now) and oversized bags that resembled Phillips Lim's pashli (which I've been dreaming about for about 2 years) worn just tucked under the arm as an oversized clutch.
If I had to pick a single favorite item it would have to be the red and black checked dress with black harness layered over top.
Sure, there were a few pieces that weren't quite to my taste. I can't imagine, for example, wearing a pair of knee length wide shorts or a dress with the side cut out. Who's to say I won't change my mind by next autumn? It's always good to have your boundaries pushed. To those who say it doesn't quite fit with the 'Topshop clientele' - well, the show closed with a slew of little barely-there dresses. You know, the type you'd be likely to spot at clubs across the country on 16-24 year old girls. At first I thought they weren't for me, but actually... layer a long sleeved t-shirt underneath and pair with those to-the-knee boots (ohhhh, those boots... Topshop if you don't make those on mass scale I will actually die of sadness) and it's far more fashion focused. This collection will be successful and not least because there's something in it for everyone, from your gran right down to 12 your old niece.
Massive thank you to Liz and Susie at Topshop for inviting me along. I had a blast. xx
p.s. all my photos from the show are now on Facebook. Complete with psycho musings on each look. Enjoy.