In the early eighties, there was a short-lived British girl trio called Bananarama who were chiefly notable for their terrible spiky hairdos tied up in big old rags and for dancing around in high-waisted jeans, singing such ditties as "Really Saying Something." Well, they were back on the runway, in spirit at least, at Topshop Unique's Spring showwhat with the giant bow-tied headwraps, the stonewashed denim, and all the kitschy fifties influences that fueled that particular point in the pop history of London music and fashion.
No one of an age to consider wearing Topshop has any business knowing much about that reference, of coursesince it was exactly what their mothers were getting up to, well before they were conceived. (But Peaches Geldof, daughter of Sir Bob and the late music TV presenter Paula Yates, might've clocked ithad she ever gotten off her BlackBerry. Her mom must've interviewed the Bananaramas endlessly. And Yates, too, was a great proponent of the bow-tied hair scarf at the time.)
Not that it matters too much that the Topshop team, now headed by Karen Bonser, might've turned to eighties videos and vintage copies of The Face to get them started. All that counts is the commercial outcomewhich this time was kind of jolly and nonserious, in the way young Brit fast fashion ought to be. There was nothing profound about the love-heart prints, jumpsuits, parachute-silk batwing tops, and reruns of teddy boy and new wave tailoring, and it was a relief. Trying too hard isn't a good look for either Topshop's customers or a high-street brand, however on-it the brand might be. Result: For the first time since it debuted in 2005, this collection stopped pretending to be what it isn't, and came over as genuinely young.