Bearing in mind that it is the high-fashion offshoot of the Topshop behemoth, Unique is about nailing a trend, and nailing it good. Autumn/Winter 2010 was about roughing it, roughly speaking. A heather-'n'-bracken strewn Famous Five catwalk and models sporting fibreglass animal heads hammered home the point - we were off to the country, with tweed, mohair, rustic knits and shearling galore. It's a mood others have been feeling, and indeed that's why it made this show quite so great: if there's one thing the Unique design team have learned during its decade-or-so in existence, it's that this label shouldn't be too experimental. Since super-stylist Katie Grand has been on board, Unique has consistently made just the right overtures to its target audience of informed highstreet consumers (and the odd fashionista) - mainly because Grand is the perfect person to magically divine the mood of the times. This season, it hit on just about every key piece we've been coveting: fuzzy-wuzzy knitwear, cape-back trenches in cream or navy gabardine (best with a Black Watch tartan back), chunky shearling sliced into hefty satchels and strap-wrapped hold-alls, and even a couple of knock-out tailored mannish jackets in sombre shades. The girl scout-badge festooned khaki dungarees (shades of Troop Beverley Hills, anyone?) and toadstool-print chiffon evening frocks were about the design team exercising a few frustrated demons of creativity, likewise the fuzzy fur monobrows and antlers in updos. Strip it all away, and everyone will want something from this show. Quite a few will want everything.
If there's one thing the Unique design team have learned during its decade-or-so in existence, it's that this label shouldn't be too experimental.