There was a definite nostalgia to Topman Design's S/S 14 collection. It seemed to be rejecting all the complexities and diversities that have entered the menswear market in recent seasons, and was instead harking back to a day when getting dressed up simply meant putting on your best black trousers and a fancy party shirt.
Dubbed 'This. Is. Techno. Cowboy', the collection heroed the silk Western shirt, complete with hand-embroidered flowers. Up close these had a dark vibe thanks to sinister spider embroidery inspired by B movies from the fifties, but from afar these 'statement' tops could have been plucked from the back of any number of small town lotharios, the kind of guys who rely on a dab of aftershave and lucky shirts to 'pull'.
There was a certain charm to this pure, simple vision of masculine dressing, but some variation wouldn't have gone a miss. After we'd seen the same slinky cowboy shirt paired with the same black pleat-front trews appear again and again, the collection began to look more Isabel Marant for man than directional or modern. Editing is always welcome in a collection - there's nothing better than a punchy, clear creative statement - but Topman is a highsreet brand whose strength is appealing to the masses, something that's difficult to achieve when your vision is streamlined to the point of being narrow. What's brilliant about British menswear at the moment is its diversity - there's something for everyone - so it was a shame not to see more choice on the runway.