Topshop Unique goes for angles and monochrome.
[All images taken from the live streaming on Topshop.com].
S/S 2012 was defined for this label by that Cleopatra print, but the forthcoming collection from Topshop Unique suggests that there's now a more grown-up directive heading our way for next summer. There was still playfulness in the Matisse-like mesh dress seen here in black (and later in white), but it was about stripping back colour and experimenting with texture and print in a more reserved style than the counterparts of the previous year.
The live-stream was accompanied by a social sharing experiment
I enjoyed the use of intersecting lines, cut-outs and oversize shapes to form the bulk of the collection, and the odd flash of colour such as that yellow jacket and also a yellow and black abstract print which added interest to an off-white silk dress. It all felt fairly ageless and just as likely to suit a fifty-something woman as it would her daughter.
Throughout the show you could take static photos of the live stream thanks to Topshop's collaboration with Facebook, allowing the subsequent shots to be shared on your newsfeed, however I decided not to bombard my old school friends with news from the catwalk, based on their predilection for Lolcats and Farmville rather than Fashion Week (sorry, Facebook).
I can't be the only one who felt that this would have worked better if it was a partnership with Twitter or Twitpic, which is naturally suited to brief updates about what people and brands are up to and can cope with something more aspirational (personally, my Twitter feed is about 80% fashion and nobody has an ultrasound scan as a profile picture or announces that their relationship status is 'complicated'). However, gripes aside, it was nice to see the brand reaching out to its huge social following and seeking to promote the show in new ways.
That great cut-and-paste feel comes to the catwalk.
That Matisse dress came back in white (I can't decide which version I prefer) and was joined by an excellent puff-sleeve batwing jumper with chopped sections - almost like a mullet at the back - and an elegant chiffon evening shirt dress with a fairly hypnotic pattern in what appears to be velvet. I also enjoyed the odd sprinkle of silver, especially the silver trousers which I never thought I'd find myself coveting but can't get out of my head.
I doubt I'll be able to stretch my budget to any of these pieces but they're definitely worth considering if you can afford a bit of luxury. When pared down and brought back to design basics, the team have created a desirable collection that will have twenty to sixty-somethings dancing in the aisles.