Topshop’s Unique show is a pretty good way to tick off the trends for the forthcoming season. Not just because the show is the high-fashion line of one of the high-street’s biggest names (and the only one to show at an international fashion week, might we add) but also because the line is styled by Katie Grand, a woman whose position in the fashion world needs no introduction or explanation.
For A/W 2011, the Unique design team went twenties - a feeling that has been bubbling under the surface for quite some time, what with tumbling hemlines and slender silhouettes taking centre-stage for the past few seasons. It was deco a go-go, with stylised, jazz-age motifs worked into everything from neat little sweaters to graphic devore evening frocks. It wasn’t about straight-faced couture homage however. This was much more a pop culture vision of the twenties as revived in Bonnie and Clyde - or even Disney’s 101 Dalmations. That may sound kooky, but the show opened with Cruella DeVil’s voice and a selection of cartoonish dalmation-print suits, polka-dot faux-fur stoles twisted around the shoulders and those spots even extended to the chunky-heeled mary-janes. Bonnie came over in silken pyjama suits and neat blouse and mid-calf skirt combos, while a few tufted lurex and ostrich evening looks screamed Ziegfeld Follies.
‘Follies’ indeed they were - whether those will reach the racks is anyone’s guess. This is of course Topshop’s loss-leader, think of it as high street haute couture, a laboratory of ideas that will probably never actually end up on anyone’s back. But that’s not really the point, it’s their power as image and inspiration that’s important to the Topshop brand. Case in point were those dog-fur stoles. It’s doubtful they’ll ever make it out of the catwalk shots, but their playful essence will no doubt inform and inflame Topshop product for seasons to come.