The very English ritual surrounding the Topshop Unique show feels rather like the first day back at school. There are the weary seniors just arrived from the New York collections; over there are the fresh-faced enthusiastic juniors who've barely been to a show before; and there's Sir Philip Green and his family, Topshop's owners, observing who's present and correct. Then everyone knocks back cocktails and Champagne for an hour, and it's finally —oops, yes!—on with the show.

One notable absentee was Kate Moss, because this collection, designed by the in-house team led by Nick Passmore, has nothing to do with the model's forthcoming Topshop launch in April. Neither, in fact, has Unique much to do with the highly popular fast-moving merchandise that is Topshop's core appeal—it's more of a separate stab at a higher-priced collection available in limited quantities.

This season, the team settled on its own translation of a Biba-esque Art Deco theme. It was full of fit-and-flare dresses and coats with perked-up shoulders and belled sleeves, austerity-era geometric prints on satin, and long hand-knitted cardigans and vests. The best part of the show was the one item that leapt clear of all that—a pair of high-waisted black flared denims with deep, shoe-covering cuffs. Judging by the reaction—as all girls know, it's no mean achievement to come up with a newly flattering jean—Sir P. ought to be ordering them up in bulk overnight.