Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bad fashion makes me sad

At University, I was known as the Topshop Queen. I was forever hunting down obscure pieces from back of the rail collections and little entered my wardrobe that was not from the Arcadia company's biggest cash cow. So, like many others I was doubly excited last year when Kate Moss began creating her own collections for the high street chain.

Today sees the launch of the new Spring Summer range for Topshop, as boldly advertised on their website. Whereas last year's debut collection saw hordes of teenage (and not so teenage) fans fighting for space outside the store and queues into the concession, this year's has come around without the much hyped bang, just a wimpering leaflets-at-the-tills and Grazia spread for the campaign. Last year's initial lot flew off the shelves as eager young 'uns fought to have a piece of the collection in their wardrobe, hoping that a little bit of Ms Moss' starriness might rub off on them too. The autumn winter collection targetting the office party crowd in need of a dress also made somewhat of an impact although it was hard to ignore rail upon rail of the dresses in the January sales, in particular the Swarovski dress that Moss wore to Fashion Rocks and had copied for her Topshop collection at the supposedly bargain price of £250.

Unfortunately for Moss and Philip Green, this collection doesn't seem to have the same appeal as the first and rightly so. It all smacks a bit of been-there-done-that. Most of the pieces remind me very much of my teenage wardrobe in the 90s - lace front jeans and shorts, lurex striped dresses and - oh dear lord - pinstripe jeans; not a look to be repeated happily in fashion history. The only pieces I would consider (and that's about as far as it'll go in all honesty) are the fringed suede (supposedly machine washable) waistcoat, £50 (below), and the scarf print dress, £75 (left). And at the prices that Topshop are charging, consider is all I will do. I'm sorry but £28 for a double layer vest? £35 for a boho print scarf? I wasn't born yesterday or the day before that. I could just as easily pop to H&M or any other high street store and buy a similar scarf or top for under a tenner.

Recently, my counterparts and I have begun to lament the good old days when, in need of a dress for a Friday night party we could pop into Toppers and pick up something lovely for about £35 or £40 to rock out in. Those days are long gone, with most dresses starting at about £60 which makes me think either kids these days are getting far more pocket money than we ever did or they've simply moved on to Primark, the new don of disposable weekend party fashion.

Of course no doubt soon there will be packs of teenagers roaming oxford circus or a high street near you dressed head to toe in mode a la Moss and Phillip Green will be lying on a big pile of cash, smoking a cigar and patting himself on the back with this genius idea. It's just a shame that Topshop appears to be trying very hard to move away from its core customers of 14-30s looking for a relatively cheap fashion fix and driving them straight into the arms of other chains such as Primark and H&M, which go from strength to strength when it comes to fashion bargains.



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