As Cara Delevingne and her famous eyebrows opened the Topshop Unique show, the model’s mother, Pandora, cheered her on with a “go-girl!” fist — and the mood was set for the brand that best interprets a twenty-first century Swinging London.
The cheap and cheerful clothes from the ever-expanding global empire of Philip Green, are, as the programme notes said, for “a British youth culture that lives for the weekend”.
The sporty bomber jackets and T-shirts, branded as if they belonged to some low-rent sports club, were surely intended for a wobbly walk home at sunrise after a night of partying. Roomy bags seemed destined to carry flats and clothes for work.
Although the theme was Brighton Beach, a seaside resort, the focus of this line was almost entirely on little-nothing party dresses; or on girly shorts with frills riding high at the rear under more generous tops. ‘Frill’ was the key word for many of the airy chiffon dresses.
Splatter prints seemed like a nod to the digital patterns already in shop windows. But other dresses were sophisticated, and with the right accessories could have passed for high fashion on the party circuit.
Topshop does not take itself too seriously. But it does do a good job of creating fun fashion for a discerning mass market. More importantly, it has danced its way into celebrity closets. Sophie Turner from Game of Thrones led a front row alongside actress Hailee Steinfeld, singer Ellie Goulding and everybody’s favourite It-girl, Alexa Chung.
Nowhere but London can you find this kind of high fashion at low prices, with such status that the famous boast about wearing Topshop — and how much they paid for their outfits.
This collection was right on the money, as the English expression goes.