Last Week on the High Street

Mid-May Media Madness

Last week saw the Autumn/Winter 11 style previews for a couple of huge names on the British high street circuit, from easily the most stylish example of supermarket linked names, George at Asda to simple-chic Uniqlo, a leading source for affordable basics and tailoring via one of the leading online-only fashion marketplaces, Very.com.

George at Asda recently turned 21 years old, explaining the abundance of mystifying balloons and banners you may have seen in your local Asda (I’m looking at you, Old Kent Road) and have made trend-spotting as easy as it is ever going to be this upcoming season by aligning all their products with one of three decade-spanning collections: “Factory Girl”, a fun 60s-themed line, featuring patterned mini-skirts in heavy durable tweeds contrasting with bright autumnal tops and muted accessories; “70s Harlem”, referencing the chiffon blouses and tan-coloured tailoring, a look already firmly established in widespread shops and set to develop as the colder months approach; and a so-called “transitional collection”, with a “Global Traveller” theme, printed dresses and kaftans suitable for now with bare legs and massive sunglasses, and also for winter with a warmer berry-hued coat and opagues.

Added to this is the fifth collection from Biba legend Barbara Hulanicki, as expected picking up the 70s trend once more but with a more adult structure with tailored dresses and trousers in 70s shades, making it more suitable for the older shopper or a work wardrobe than the rest of the urban-inspired pieces from the main collection, but no less covetable.

Undoubtedly the just-invented-by-me“Most Whimisical Layout for a Press Review” awardwould have to go to Very.com who previewed their Love Label , Holly Wilboroughly, Fearne Cotton and Diana Vickers ranges in a warehouse room designed to look like a little city complete with signposts, circle of “grass” and … over-sized glittery chesspieces.


Eh?
Most of the areas of each collection were no less bombastic and glamorous, with Love Label featuring heavy beaded details on feminine cut dresses, made fresh and unexpected by the neutral, yellow-accented palate.

The four collections are obviously very (pun intended) different, yet rooting in the changeable nature of s feminine style – Fearne Cotton demonstrated a love of Peter Pan collars, while Diana Vickers anchored her choices around delicious edibles shades of colour, and in contrast tight Roland Mouret style dresses were omnipresent through Holly Wilboroughly. This remains no negative thing however since the benefit of a site like Very.com is the choice you can have while browsing.


Very.com supports Fashion Fringe with displays of one-off designs

The key pieces at Uniqlo, as with the last couple of A/W seasons, were all (and it pains me to write this, sitting in my garden in 25°C heat) coats with a twist. The sleeveless, wide-collared item and the open-less dress-coat were the freshest example of tailoring seen so far.


And to end on a charitable note, Uniqlo’s campaign for the Japanese earthquake is also gaining more momentum as a series of t-shirts were previewed by such fashion heavyweights as Karl Lagerfeld, Victoria Beckham and Lady Gaga, all doing their bit to continue donations to a cause close to the heart of Uniqlo, originally itself a Japanese label, and a disaster that, although it may have fallen from British newspaper columns needs funding to help those still affected. Save Japan!


This made me very happy.

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