Autumn/Winter 2015-16 H&M

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London Fashion Week has Topshop Unique and Paris Fashion Week has H&M Studio: this was the third year the Scandinavian super giant took to the schedule to show off its wares. And don’t underestimate it – it has plans to beam you up next season.

This show we were transported to planet H&M for its own interpretation of the lunar landings – the Grand Palais transformed into a space-age, sci-fi hub – with tinfoil-like pods sitting along the catwalk (out from which later, men appeared and the cocktail party began) and many Barbarella moments to be had.

“We wanted to turn it up a bit this time,” said H&M’s head of design Ann-Sofie Johansson after the show, which saw Caroline de Maigret start proceedings in a silver all-in-one, making her way down the catwalk. Which had us wondering what the clothes that followed would be like.

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“Hard metallics, space shapes, interiors, quilting,” reeled off Johansson of her references, the space-ageness aspect turned down and translated into a functional-meets-sporty collection. Step forward a host of huge quilted bags and jackets; caps with every look; a moonboot-sneaker hybrid; lots of spangly sequins and silhouettes that riffed on the Sixties to Seventies.

“It’s been 50 years since the moon landing, the film Interstellar,” Johansson continued. “It’s about something glamorous and cool, effortless, quite practical – we’re from Sweden!”

She had a great model line-up to assist her fashion orbit: Kendall and Gigi and Edie, while Audrey Tautou and Mark Ronson looked on.

And why still Paris? “It’s still the ultimate fashion city,” she said. “It’s a great challenge and we love a challenge.”

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Topshop Unique

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If fashion is about projecting a vision of a woman and the clothes she’d wear in her fantasy life, then bagsy being the Topshop girl.

She’s a little bit of all of us – a charming, mixed-up style dichotomy who quite fancies herself frolicking in the playful wilds of the English countryside in narrow, side-split shift dresses, printed with spriggy dandelion flowers.

Equally, once the country jaunt is over, she can’t wait to get back to London, primed for mischief and ready to shimmy her bare shoulders in a strapless cocktail dress while sipping champagne.

This Topshop Unique girl had an Eighties sensibility (let’s imagine she’s doing all of that dancing at Annabel’s). There was certainly a brashness to her – the ornately embroidered, black velvet mini dresses and wide, glossy green vinyl flares worn with a gold Lurex jacket saw to that.

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But as much as this girl likes to party, she craves a homely sense of luxury from her everyday pieces (like all of us she sees the practical appeal of a capsule wardrobe).

She chooses pinafore dresses worn with chubby, navy roll-neck knits and cute, block heel pumps – the red velvet with their jolly, sixties verve were a favourite – as were the two piece cornflower blue corduroy suit and Taupe vinyl macs.

So what will be next season’s hit winter coat on the high street? Expect it to be shearling, with weighty fluffy cuffs, and it’s worth noting that the hemlines here were abbreviated, aimed squarely at Topshop’s coquettish customer.

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Spring/Summer 2015 Topshop Unique

  Topshop unveiled it’s new show space, an urban warehouse complete with a Beauty Pit Stop, inviting show goers to ‘park up and perk up’ for complimentary mini make overs, all under a grimy corrugated roof on WC1’s Grays Inn Road – a long way away from the British seaside, the scene that Topshop Unique took it’s cue from for spring.

If that’s starting to sound deckchair-stripe corny, it wasn’t. Cara Delevingne opened the show (just moments after her mother, Pandora took her seat; she whooped and punched the air as her daughter glided by). This was a young, spirited collection that pulsated with bold sporty brights. Retro cycling jerseys in red, bordeaux and sky blue popped against stark white A-line skirts, or frilly mini hot pants in navy blue. Abbreviated hooded anoraks were tossed over it all, further communicating the sportif vibe.

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 What joy to hear Fun Boy Three’s “Our Lips Are Sealed” on the soundtrack of a show that, season after season, manages to pin down a particular English knack for the now. Yes, the song is a golden oldie, but how right it sounded in the context of the golden girls of modelling—Cara and Jourdan, the leaders of the pack—parading up and down in a youth cult collection whose latest manifestation was, according to the show notes, “the faded glamour of the British seaside.” Sheer ghastliness if you’ve ever been on one of the beaches, but a hell of a night out if you got to one of the discos. And that, thankfully, was what this new Unique collection was celebrating: irrepressible, primary-colored, boy-nip energy.

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No beach scene is complete without a dancehall on the pier. Come night, a Topshop girl will dazzle in knife pleated silver lame skirts and ruffled, slip-of-nothing dresses decorated in a smattering of Swarovski crystals.

A change in direction was noted here this afternoon, in past seasons the high street giant seemed intent on spearheading a more grown up approach, this collection felt considerably younger.

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