TopShop Unique Show Report

The high-fashion off-shoot of Topshop’s empire always draws a good crowd. Today there was Alexa Chung, Poppy Delevingne, Anna Wintour and Olivia Palermo, to name a few, on the front row of Topshop’s Thames-side venue. After feasting on mini fish pies, gourmet scotch eggs and delicious brownies it was time for the show to start.

We’re used to Unique playing on gimmicks – last season it was Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra, the season before that it was 101 Dalmatians – but this season was different. Unique has taken on a rather more sophisticated feel for autumn/winter 2012-13, and, as a result, showed one of their most appealing collections yet. Gone were the animal ears, risqué cut-outs and crazy hair, and in marched military-inspired outerwear, fierce boots, rich autumnal hues and the much-loved combination of leather and wool.

A floor-length khaki wool overcoat paired with iridescent petrol-toned, sky high laced boots opened the collection – which is the first produced under the watchful eye of former-Vogue fashion editor Kate Phelan, who took on the role of creative director for the high street giant late last year. Following suit, the collection was heavy on outerwear – all of which was just the right amount of oversized – and cleverly interspersed with leather panelling and detailed with zips to add a utilitarian feel.

Dungarees also made an appearance, freshly reincarnated in black leather and velvet in both trouser and skirt form. Black velvet appeared once again in the form of an oh-so-simple, but oh-so-chic all-in-one, complete with a chiffon pocket and back panelling. A modern take on the shift dress came in the shape of khaki wool and black leather, and trousers were slouchy and paired with chunky knits.

A subtle cross motif was sprinkled amongst the collection, adding interest but never overpowering, unlike some of last season’s scribbled hieroglyphic prints. Meanwhile, skirts sat low on hips, heavy-pleated and provocatively split almost to the waistband, and paired with cropped bustier tops – yet, still, there was an undeniable tone of elegance to the pieces. A handful of party-perfect mini dresses closed the show, low-backed and detailed with petals of fabric.

“My heart belongs to Topshop,” tweeted Poppy Delevingne just after the finale, and it would be very hard not to agree – fashion’s high street favourite has suddenly got a lot more grown-up – and a lot more covetable.

Report by BIBBY SOWRAY

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