Five takeaways from Topshop Unique A/W 2013

Five takeaways from Topshop Unique A/W 2013

The source of a trend can be as complex as the tributaries that feed the Amazon, but once Topshop Unique put a certain style in their show, you can be almost guaranteed it will hit the mainstream. Sometimes, this is a wonderful thing (sporty all-white looks, Spring-Summer 2012; Charleston dancing dalmatians, Autumn-Winter 2011/12) and sometimes it’s an unfortunately misinterpretable affront (quadruple denim, Spring-Summer 2009). While Topshop Unique’s styling is always interesting, if not accessible, when left in the hands of the general public, some trends can go terribly awry.

It’s worth looking very, very closely at Topshop Unique, who just showed at London Fashion Week, because you can guarantee in six months time, their collection - or the other high street brands that look to Topshop as an example - will be what style bloggers and teenagers and teenage style bloggers nation-wide will be wearing. And then, as is often the way with these things, the rest of us might just follow.

Nineties Lines

The nineties, as a concept, is now in its early twenties, and if Reality Bites taught us anything, it’s that your early twenties is the coolest age to be. Right now at The New Museum in New York, there’s an exhibition of artworks exclusively from 1993, and every house party from Fitzroy to Söder has been nineties themed since 2010. That being said, Topshop’s was not the nineties of Brooklyn or Blossom, but instead the fashion conscious Brit Pop set. This meant outsized overwear in that very British sense – parkers, anoraks, pea coats and cloaks – given soft or shiny details in the form of faux sheep skin, fur or leatherette.

Unwearable Fabrics

Topshop used a wet-look pleather on full skating skirts that hit just above the knee, and on longer skirts that recalled the shape and mid-length of mid WWII. At both the thigh and the calf, they looked very cool, especially contrasted with cosy knitted and shearling textures, however this fabric comes with a buyer beware: it is always unbreathable, often undependable, and occasionally accompanied by an unbearable squeaky-squeaky sound. As for the drop-crotched, ankle skimming trousers of the same material, worn with smart, stringless brogues: unless you are a model in an editorial, best to avoid.

Palatable Palette  

Fans of the multi-season purchase can rejoice, for rather than going hard on one key trend colour, Topshop Unique showcased a great deal of neutral (Storm grey! Black! Tan! Cream!) and a couple of highlight hues that are more lovely than timely. Reds were sanguine, blues were wedgewood and pinks were pyjama-pale and slightly dusty. Even the key print, an antique, tapestry floral was in Jack White approved black, white and red.

Sensible Shoes

The footwear inspiration this season was sharp rock and roll boys and their ballerina girlfriends. Those angular toes that are cowboy boot pointy with none of the camp, and have served Alexander Wang so well for so many seasons were offered in multiple heel heights and finishes, as brogues and boots that hit mid calf. If you’re not a leggy girl, the later style can make you look stumpy, but if you have the gams, then go for it. The style was also gussied up with thick, criss-crossing straps across the foot and up the ankle, an unexpected, but not unpleasant twist.


High street sequins have gone from a seep to a very heavy flow. They’re one of those mistakes that might moulder in your closet, but whenever you’re feeling disco – rather than frantically flicking through everything you own on a quest for something sensible – you’ll be glad you succumbed. 

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