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Show Report

Show Report: Topshop Unique A/W 15 Womenswear

by Lou Stoppard on 23 February 2015

Lou Stoppard reports on the Topshop Unique A/W 15 womenswear show.

Lou Stoppard reports on the Topshop Unique A/W 15 womenswear show.

Fashion's gone posh for A/W 15. Maybe it's appropriate given the broader cultural landscape; being upper class has never seemed so in vogue - see old Etonian Eddie Redmayne's Oscar win, the ubiquity of the Made in Chelsea cast or the popularity of the practically aristocratic Cara Delevingne (who, incidentally, was sat front row at the Topshop Unique show). And where fashion and culture leads the high street follows, and Topshop is king of the high street so it makes sense that they were pushing British toff style as hard as can be. Think of their A/W girl almost as an updated, modern Sloane Ranger who's discovered Instagram, Harry Styles and blogging. Today's posh chicks are a little bit tougher than the tweed-wearing snobs of yore, so while there was still enough tweed, cable knit and fuzz in this collection to furnish Tilly, Milly, Binky or Flossy on their next country jaunt, the general ethos of the collection was a little bit sexier (see the vinyl, thigh-high slashes and shiny hardware). But then today's Tatler Babes of The Month have multiple piercings and tattoos, so anything too saccharine or Middleton-esque would have felt outdated. That said, the collection did revolve around the cliched, traditional parameters of the typical posh girl schedule - from country house hunting trip to cocktail party in town. It could have been straight out of Town and Country. Yet there was no irony or cheek to those fluffy cocktail frocks and plummy lace dresses. 

The notes talked of creating eveningwear that 'riffs on the heady exuberance of runaway it girls', but really there was little drama or danger on show. It was the 'it girl' style not a sense of 'heady exuberance' that Topshop were really trying to bottle up and sell. Indeed, their show always gets more press for the celebrity attendees than the fashion, so why not make girls-about-town your inspiration? They'd packed their front row with more celebrities than you could shake a stick at - Ellie Goulding, Kendall Jenner, Alexa Chung, Jourdan Dunn, Emily Ratajkowski, Daisy Lowe, Paloma Faith and Pixie Lott all sat front row as ideal inspiration points to the girls who'll look at this show. They're emblems of what you can be if you buy into the Topshop world. Invest in a sweet retro dolly dress and you'll be transformed into Alexa. Buy some skin tight leathers and maybe you'll look like a Kardashian.

As the closing looks appeared on the runway the familiar sounds of the Strokes' Last Night could be heard - if ever there's a song that takes you back to your teenage years it's that. It's the soundtrack of prom panics, ill-advised kisses and teenage nocturnal scrapes and scraps - an homage to the days on party preening and dressing up, something that has, in recent season, fallen from favour as trainers, tailoring and androgynous shapes rule on the street style blogs. Topshop Unique isn't the only show to have raised the flag for the return of flirty dresses and tottering heels this season, but given their price point they'll be the ones that'll have the biggest effect on actually changing women's dressing patterns and getting stylish girls out of the frayed denim and into the feathered minis. There's an appropriate line in Last Night, a display of confidence from singer Julian Casablancas - 'I know this for sure. I'm walking out that door.' What a good way to sum up this collection. Every girl from London to America, where the brand is expanding, will walk out of a shiny Topshop revolving door with this very wearable collection in their shopping bag.

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