The front row at the Topshop Unique show was studded with leggy style stars including Ciara, Bella Thorne, Suki Waterhouse, Alexa Chung and Jourdan Dunn, and with good reason. The SS ’16 runway was a compelling and highly wearable mix of classic British motifs and sexy, downtown street cred. The label collaborated with fine china institution Wedgwood to incorporate two of their most successful patterns into new Unique prints paired with leather, fur and attitude. We talked to Topshop Creative Design Consultant Geoffrey J. Finch backstage before the show to find out how it all came about.
What is your role at Topshop?
I design on Topshop Unique and work on special projects and collaborations.
Was there a particular inspiration for the spring collection?
I think it’s our Unique girl and her evolution. Unique is very much about British style, and a reimagining of that. A real starting point for this season was Martin Parr’s British photography in the Thatcher years. That really got us onto the idea of up-ended classics, and new spins on that. We deliver spring/summer in February; it’s the start of a new year, so start it right with the new classics.
Looking around backstage, I see some of the palette and prints here kind of echo pieces from the fall and resort collections. Are there certain design threads that remain in the line season after season?
Yes. It’s become very much about building the aesthetic of Unique, and very much about British style and modern spins on that. It’s nice to continue those threads along throughout the seasons.
Can you describe this collection in one sentence?
I’d say up-ended classicism and rebellious prettiness.
What pieces are the highlights of the collection for you?
Our collaboration with Wedgwood has been really exciting. We’ve worked with them to use some of their most popular patterns, Wild Strawberry and Jasperware, and those prints feature very heavily in the show. With Wedgwood being a British institution, drawing on their almost 300-year history has been really exciting for us.
Was this your first time collaborating with Wedgwood?
Yes, we’re really excited about it, and I think it puts a new spin on that idea of afternoon tea dressing.
How did the collaboration come about?
Looking at the Martin Parr imagery, it really got us thinking about these elements of British culture, and I think Wedgwood’s a very important part of that. We visited the factory on Stoke-on-Trent, and looked through their archives for the collaboration. I think it’s really nice to be able to reinterpret that history, and we’ve played with their patterns to give them a Topshop Unique spin. It’s been really interesting watching people react to these prints, and the sentiment that they bring out in people! I’ll be very interested to see how it goes down on the catwalk!
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