Topshop Unique Womenswear A/W12

Sex and utility at Topshop's catwalk collection

Fashion Show
Image

With tote bags given away at the show emblazoned with the words 'who are you?', the answer seemed to be clearly 'an army of me' for Topshop Unique's military-inspired offering. The first season for their new head of design, Emma Farrow, was a resounding success with fierceness and wearability, styled by Clare Richardson.

We were looking at trying to reinvent the uniform, keeping a sense of masculinity but offsetting it with a lightness and feminine feel

A '90s minimal feel, evocative of Helmut Lang, was evident through painted sections in tonal colours and utilitarian influences, something seen across a number of New York shows and a great look for the label. While the Topshop girl for this season might be “off-duty,” as Farrow describes, there is also something undeniable sexy about her. Sky-high stiletto heels and slits in both trousers and full-length trenches definitely had appeal.

We wanted our girls to feel off-duty and really inject that sexiness into the key utility silhouettes

Dazed Digital: This is the first season for you as the head of the design team. How does it feel?
Emma Farrow: It's the first season for me leading the team yes, but I have actually been at Topshop for nearly eleven years now. I've been involved through all of the changes at the label so it wasn't really a big change for me. The design process is still the same. Maybe a little bit more stress for me, but apart from that! Topshop is really about a colective team anyway and everyone who works on the collections have their own ideas to bring to the table so it really is a collaborative effort.

DD: What were your ideas for the season?
Emma Farrow:
We were looking at trying to reinvent the uniform, keeping a sense of masculinity but offsetting it with a lightness and feminine feel. We wanted our girls to feel off-duty and really inject that sexiness into the key utility silhouettes.

DD: Can you tell us about the silhouettes?
Emma Farrow: The boiler suit, military trenches, the kilt, the army shirt. We gave them deep necklines though, or slashed the skirts and trousers to the thigh to really add that sex appeal. The boiler suit almost turned into an evening piece in velvet.

DD: There was something quite minimal in there as well...
Emma Farrow: I think the trend generally at the moment is quite pared back and modern anyway, so that has filtered through. Ultimately we wanted the collection to be really laid back, the boyfriend silhouette, slightly oversized, was important for us. But that combined with the military aesthetic did toughen things up.

More Fashion Week