More an exercise in how to style, than providing a memo for the now and next, this collection lacked real vision and direction. We know Topshop is the high street style Mecca, which knows how to team a boxy boyfriend blazer with a forties draped dress. We also know they are aware the accessories all girls want: a film star fur stole and a pair of Marabou stilettos. It's the queen of consumption. It sadly seems to have consumed Topshop Unique too. This can't be just about shopping - it must be about positioning the brand as a thought leader. Show notes spoke of the option of layering a cricket jumper over the top of this season's pieces. a) we've heard it all before b) it spoke to us as if we had just walked off Oxford Street.
The most delicious of offerings were gorgeous lace peach dresses with summer holly, embroidered and beaded. The terracotta polka dot shift was super desirable also. But in all honesty, these two pieces appealed because they would easily land in one's online basket. This was supposed to be a fashion show, not a shopping trip. The idea of one as critic or stylist had long gone – there wasn’t much to critique.
In this increasingly democratised world of fashion, design houses are treading into dangerous territory when they absolve of the responsibility to innovate. Last season, when Alexander Wang said: 'my customers wanted black, so I gave them black', it spelt trouble – just look at the collection. It was a misstep for Wang because it didn't look like his heart was in it, and he frankly didn't have a fresh take on black. Design houses aren't here to give people what they know they want – they are here to give people what they don't know they want yet.
Stylists and writers need a label that guides them towards new relevance. Everyone wants Topshop Unique to do this. As a brand, Topshop has done so much for the industry; people are waiting with their arms wide open. Now it’s up to the label to lean in for the hug.