Topman is a trend translator. It takes what big brands like Saint Laurent, Gucci, Prada and more, and dilute and make sense of that for the modern man that shops on the high street. Topman Design is a more expensive extension to the brand; it’s presented biannually at London Collections: Men. This season something odd happened at the show—instead of overly borrowing the trends as issued by other brands, the design team led by Gordon Richardson worked on their own volition, with a uniquely unforgettable inspiration: traditional British seaside culture.
Of course, the design team offered your meat and potatoes, but the inspiration was acknowledgeable, clearly visible. A 99 cone with a flake printed on a satin shirt, two eyes printed on the collar: fun! A netted tee, brave, but perfect by the sun and unabashed personal exposition. Although you thought “Ibiza”, the theme came back into perspective. The British seaside. Torquay, Margate were printed on two sweaters, perfect for, as one sweater read, a “Dirty Weekend”. Topman’s muse is interested in sex, drugs, alcohol and a hedonistic existence. Short shorts, beach print shirts, bomber jackets and slightly flashy, holiday-influenced garb took to the runway. There were inexpensive loafers and trainers. Whole outfits were synonymous with lad culture, that prevails in British seaside towns during the summer months—groups come in their troves for revelry. This often deterring, blatant Topman collection personified laddishness. There’s a blatancy to lad culture; it’s felt, ineffably, in any seaside town you visit. The brilliant makeup artists and hairstylists created a memorable look. Sweaty, curly hair and makeup to evoke sunglasses-induced tan lines. Careless disregard for suncream, sounds all too familiar?
Theatre is a huge part of fashion, nowadays. It was certainly present here. With the palm tree backdrop, the obvious makeup choice and thematic expression. There was a humour to this. In a time when the world seems void of humour, you have to appreciate the effort to make you smile.
I like it when fashion can appeal to the everyman, the one that doesn’t follow London Collections: Men, Milan and Paris Fashion Week. Realistically they don’t know what’s happening until they see a watered down version in stores six months later. Should the stereotypical, fashion apathetic ‘lad’ stumble upon imagery of this Topman collection, it might garner a chuckle, or sheer appreciation.
Photo Credit: showstudio.com