The Easter high street calendar has certainly been a busy one. Topshop, after suffering multiple delays finally arrived in New York opening its doors at the beginning of April, H&M celebrated its recent Regent Street refurbishment with a wild party and even wilder clothes: it was so exclusive ticket holders actually had to step through a white shroud-like curtain to get inside (yes, really). And designer-high street collaborations have been launched left right and centre. The enthusiasm for style in this economic downturn has clearly not been defeated just yet. In fact now more than ever we’re lapping up affordable, durable fashion in droves.
But what to make of it? It is the high-street after all, surely its production goal is more disposable glamour less luxury market? Can these designer collections really deliver catwalk quality at student-friendly prices? If the hysteria they have mustered over the past few weeks is anything to go by I think I would be persuaded far more toward the latter. Lets take a look.
Barbara Hulanicki at Topshop
Topshop saw the exciting revival of ultra-cool swinging London with the launch of fashion illustrator-come designer Barbara Hulanicki’s first capsule collection for the retail giant. Hulanicki famous for bringing decadence to the masses in 1964 with cheap yet exotic fashions through legendary fashion store Biba (ask your mum) has come up trumps with a bold and worthy collection tapping into hot modern trends with the same effortless execution that made her designs so popular in the 60s. The combination of the two forces is a was what many might describe as a sartorial match made in heaven and it definitely delivered. Stand out pieces include her off the shoulder graphic print bodycon dress which oozes bad girl cool and the slightly pricier suede jacket complete with Balmain-esque shoulder pads.
Matthew Williamson at H&M
Matthew Williamson is another designer who hasn’t been afraid to shy away from the heady appeal of the high street: his slightly more ostentatious first collection for H&M went down an absolute storm at its launch selling out almost straight away. His signature bold prints and colours wont be for everyone but it is certainly refreshing to see such an individual and vibrant collection as this one make it so successfully on the high street. His pairing with H&M is a manifestation of Williamson’s desire to make his creations more accessible to those craving high-end but with more of a sensible price tag and for that he doesn’t disappoint. Admiringly a lot of the pieces take care of themselves so sit back and let the clothes do the talking. Otherwise dress up his colourful tunics with a wide belt and platforms for instant global traveller style. Interestingly his collections are being introduced in stages so don’t miss his swimwear and first ever menswear lines which are set to launch in stores next week.
Giles Deacon Gold at New Look
Giles Deacon brings edgy LA style to New Look with his seventh collection for the store mapping an extremely successful collaboration between designer and label. This is a world away from his curious Pac-Man themed SS09 catwalk collection and with prices starting at £25 and sizes available from 8-18 it’s most definitely worth checking out. High octane colours, patterns and embellishments are the main features running through this inviting and grown up collection. Dresses are spattered with sequins and jewels for evening sophistication with a youthful twist and for casual attire with a little edge exposed zips and oversized tunics lead the way. All good fun and all good prices. Check it out in-store or online now.