Tutankhamun via Topshop. Sounds like a contradiction in terms. But that was the conceit of the latest Unique show, an ode to Elizabeth Taylor's career-defining turn as Cleopatra in the 1963 epic. It's safe to say we weren't looking at anything low-key or subtle - and, just like that Hollywood blockbuster, the budget behind this cast-of-a-thousand-extras show was truly monolithic.
Topshop, Tutankhamun, Taylor... you can add Mr T. to that Sesame Street-style alphabet roll-call, as Topshop reimagined Anicent Egypt as something closer to the East End, all glitter-graffiti prints across sweat-shirting sportswear shapes, sucking-in cycling shorts dan leather visors. Ankle-length 'mummy' t-shirt dresses were embellished with all-seeing eye brunets (two where placed you-know-where across a cropped flesh-coloured top) while trussed-up elastic harnesses were worn over the top of dresses, necks and wrists slung with hefty gold jewellery. Tacky, trashy fun, but from Topshop's high-fashion range, it all rang a touch too down-market. After all, why would people pay over the odds for a t-shirt dress flecked with a gold-foil print unless said frock was up to designer standards? For all the design innovation behind the line, Unique can't compete with established labels on that. It should be cheap and cheerful, but maybe not quite so brashly.
The Unique highlights? The chunky gold accessories were fun and kitsch, a series of sweatshirts splashed with Elizabeth Taylor photographic prints were eye-catching, and the shoes were knock-outs - chunky wedges and platform high-heels inset with faux tortoise-shell and flashes of gilt on the instep. Whatever the price-point, they'll have trouble keeping those on the shop floor.