If you're a teenager now, and fall into what is theoretically Topshop's prime demographic, then the eighties and early nineties were either before you were born, or you were too young to remember anything about them. Well, here's the news: That era was the last time anyone in fashion design seems to recall as being about really good, do-it-yourself creative fun, and this season, the Topshop Unique team, like everyone else, is determined to feed it all back to a new generation to cheer things up.
Jacqui Markham, who designs the range with Karen Bonser at Topshop's HQ off Oxford Street, says that when it came time to compile mood boards, "we were coming up with images of grunge and sci-fi and New Age travelers, which is why we ended up with this mix of spaceship prints and patterns taken from crop circles. A lot of it, like the hair with ribboned braid, the sweat suits, and the glow sticks, came from rave culture, too. Though we didn't want to be literal about it."
The show hit on all the trends that have emerged in the "senior" designer collections so far this season: a bit of intergalactic futurism in the shape of metallic leather tunics and bodysuits, mixed up with oversize eighties coat shapes with giant lapels, and some great sequined sweatpants and cowl-hooded sweatshirts. The really smart thing is how each look is so layered in tempting spending opportunities, from the giant knitted comfort-blanket scarves to the squiggle-printed leggings to the glow-in-the-dark Perspex necklaces and handbag hardware right down to the glitter socks. It will all arrive in Topshop's new New York flagship in September, in time to happy things up for young consumers. Who's to say, though, that they won't have started their own movement by then? Creativity always comes out in adversity—which is exactly why the fashion behind the current nostalgia wave happened in the first place. It isn't all doom and gloom, then, after all: Sooner or later, the kids will have their own say.