Many accuse designer diffusions for high street stores as watered down versions of their mainline collection which from the point of view of the designer would seem justified given the price difference. However, from the perspective of a greedy shopper who tries to bag one too many bargains, she wants a little more. I realise that you can't expect too much in terms of quality given the cost restrictions and choices of materials but I do feel if a designer is going to embark onto that path, half hearted, shoddy designs just don't cut it. Giles for New Look's latest collection is something that has really baffled me. I wasn't thinking his AW07-8 collection would pop up on the cheap for New Look but lurid floral prints and tacky diagonal stripes? Not for me thanks.
So then comes the dilemma. Arcadia Avoidance? Not even a month has passed and I'm feeling myself waver. The conclusion of that post seems to be and I have concluded for myself is that it is a wider problem that cannot be pinpointed at Topshop alone. Very well then...because when you hit me with Preen's new collection for Topshop that will be in stores from the 10th September, the mind does become very weak indeed. The infusions from their mainline collection is at the optimum level of 'Ah, this is REALLY designed by Preen' whilst balancing with the fact that it is still Topshop. The patent accents. The volume created at the hips. The heavy fabric. With the focus being on outerwear and heavy dresses and in a limited palette, there does seem to be a certain amount of design 'weight' in the collection that you would feel proud to buy on the basis of its design rather than for the sake of it being Preen.
The show was full of vividly coloured cocoons. Even the dresses looked like they want to protect you from something. I think that 'protective' quality has been toned down a bit for this Topshop collection but something about it all still makes you want to be encased in it. The one bit of colour they have injected into the aubergine dress happens to be my favourite piece as it has a funnel neck that can be worn as a cocoon hood. Having just procured a pair of ankle boots in that exact shade of aubergine/deep plum, there is nothing to it but stalk into Topshop on the 10th, nab that dress and get some 80 deniers from Tabio in the same shade and walk out in this block of aubergine. I failed miserably but a good designer diffusion collection is hard to come by and too hard to pass up.
Whilst I'm there, Ann Sofie Back's line of jersey t-shirts with in-built busts and belts, similar to the t-shirt oddities that Ann Sofie Back has produced in the past will also be hitting Topshop. Is this the equivalent of harping on about quitting smoking, making a loud noise about quitting, but then nipping outside for a quite ciggie? Oh dear...