Describing the process of the Topman Design team, creative director Gordon Richardson said it was all about the 180: going in the opposite direction of last time. So, if there were skate-y shorts and surf-y prints for Spring 2013, there'd be none of that this time around: no shorts, no prints, no hybrid tailoring. For 2014, Topman decided to focus on the shirt, using embroidery for decoration. And, there being no embroidered shirt more iconic than a cowboy's, a story naturally evolved. But given Topman's natural inclination toward the poppier end of the fashion spectrum, this cowboy was of the urban variety, more glam rockabilly than noble frontiersman. Though Richardson mentioned Robert Altman's Nashville in passing, it was Robert Mapplethorpe and his photos of Levi and the Rockats that rang truer as a reference.

Accents of gold and silver, and intricate, delicate embroideries on black silk jackets suggested gilded youth—less home on the range, more night in a club—an impression that was heightened by the masterful styling. But on close inspection, those embroideries seemed to be coming apart. "Beautiful decay," Richardson called it. The show offered a few dozen iterations of that single notion. There's always a risk when you place all your eggs in one basket, but Richardson and his team artfully hedged their bet with a veneer of dark, decadent glamour, the appeal of which will linger long after the last cowboy heads to the last roundup.