February 17, 2013 London
Those singers had the right idea. Why indulge inklings of techno-dystopianism when the clothes on the runway were so much more fun? The clothes themselves weren't particularly cheerful, but their evocation of Britpop-era clobber was deeply felt, and the update on the look was relevant and interesting. And it's doubtful there's a young woman in any of the markets Topshop serves who doesn't want to look like Cara Delevingne in her show-opening all-black ensemble. Fuzzy black crop top + flared patent leather miniskirt + oversize coat thrown rakishly atop = youthful chic, circa now. (It goes without saying that actually looking like or being Cara Delevingne also helps matters.) That first look established the strategy here, which was to keep the outfits visually simple and let mixed textures and off-kilter proportions do most of the work. The exceptions to that rule were the collection's prints and intarsia knits, which proved a weaker element overall, and the disco sparkle on lots of the clothes. The sparkling pieces were a highlight, particularly those styled casually as daywear; all together they vibed nicely with the collection's mirrorlike patent leathers to brighten the tone of the show. Elsewhere, the standouts were the coats, especially one vastly large motorcycle jacket in navy shearling and a black topcoat with geometric red lapels. On the whole, though, the nicest thing about this show was that it had heart: For all the overtly "tough" looks on offer, a surprising amount of romance and tenderness came through. Humanity carried the day, and about a million Google+ cameras have the victory on the record.