REVIEW: Topman Design Spring/Summer 2017
"Miami Vice meets Margate" isn't a sentence I thought I'd write when making notes on a menswear collection (or ever for that matter) and yet, here we are.
This season Topman Design showcased a brazen celebration of Britishness, the British seaside to be precise. Whether your sentiments towards British summers are that of looking out onto perfectly cloudless skies, above a glistening navy sea while you lap up a brilliant white ice cream, or of grey skies, howling winds, rickety death-defying fairground rides and eating shit fish and chips, there was something in this collection for everyone.
Along with it's brazen Britishness, there were clear influences of Americana. Topman Design have been doing "Western" style shirts for a while now and yet always bring new elements to the table. In lieu of guns and roses were ice creams, dolphins and palm trees, heavily embellished and embroidered on the chests and collars of shirts, shorts, and jackets. Marrying the UK with the US was of course the tricolore palette of red white and blue, expectedly striped and graphic, though a healthy mix of vertical, horizontal, diagonal and chevron.
Flowing pastel-pink and powdery grey silk shirts were juxtaposed with stark tailoring while prints and patterns were tastefully matchy-matchy. Playing into the current trend of heavily patterned Hawaiian-inspired shirts that we've seen pretty much everywhere of late, (and if you follow me on Instagram you will see that I'm a long time devotee to a borderline-hideous shirt) TD has a way of elevating the trend by applying different techniques, introducing different fabrics and generally premiumising something we may have already seen.
Models matched their signature "Brit abroad" tans ("Nah mate, you're alright, I don't need no cream, I wanna tan innit." - admit it, we've all done it) with slogan knits dedicated to key British seaside towns. Declaring their love for Blackpool, Margate and Torquay, may alienate the global audience, but can only be applauded as fantastic PR for the towns - particularly Margate which has seen an extensive modernisation and ongoing resurgence over the past couple of years.
To be frank, the term "nautical" usually makes me want to throw up in my mouth. This however is evidence that it can be done well. Above all, this collection was a nostalgic declaration of love and of patriotism. The large scale prints and embellishments had an almost child-like quality to them. Bold and unapologetic, these accoutrements served as a subtle reminder to never grow up too much. Be as playful in your dress and indeed your life as you were when you were a child, wresting with an inflatable to stay afloat in a stormy sea. Afterall isn't trying to stay afloat in a stormy sea figuratively what we do as adults? We might as well have fun doing it.
HIGHLIGHT: Of course I'm in love with all the shirts that graced the catwalk but this outfit (below) in particular is the one I'll be keeping my eye out for when this collection hits stores. I just love that sunburned/rust colour, dreamy stuff.