updated 28 Apr 2012, 13:56
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Thu, Mar 01, 2012
The Star/ANN
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Topshop mixes grunge and luxe for Spring/Summer
by S.S Yoga

IT'S A GOOD thing that Jacqui Markham, Topshop's head of design, loves clothes and she gets a buzz particularly out of vintage clothes. She puts her love for vintage to good use as she fashions clothes for the modern woman by reinventing them.

Speaking in London late last year at an Arcadia (the group that owns the British label) Press Day, she mentioned that vintage was just one of the many avenues which her design team looks at.

"We look at festivals, what's out there internationally, blogs and even street reports. It's quite hard to crystallise all the ideas and information. Basically, everyone has the same influences and inspirations, and everyone has access to the same sources. Our job is to try and break it down into stories, and hone in on the 'festival girl', the 'vintage girl' and so on," said Markham.

She added that they try out every idea and need all the input they can get, because Topshop introduces at least 300 new lines every month.

"When we look back, it's interesting how everything comes together. For trends, it seems to happen almost organically, for instance, people ask why we settle for yellow, but somehow, it just seems right and it's our job to predict that."

Markham noted that previously one could see that the fashion differed from city to city. "Now the difference is less obvious as everyone has access to the same sources." Even the China market, she said, seemed similar as Topshop tends to give the same treatment everywhere.

What people usually get when they walk into a Topshop store are the signature items which the brand is known for, such as jeans and T-shirts. "But our job is to push the newness in all those items and also to sprinkle some magic."

As for her own personal taste, Markham laughed, and said that anything that sparkled and was grungier would be found in her closet. And while she's not pressured to wear Topshop, she claims to have a "ridiculous amount" of the brand's clothing in her closet.

A must-have for her is a great leather and/or suede jacket and jeans.

Take a peek at Topshop's Spring/Summer 2012 collections for your options. Look at the Surf Luxe collection which is all about sportswear-inspired clothes, a season trend using opulent fabrics and shapes from the 90s with contrasting colours and top-to-toe tonal dressing mixed with acid brights and pastel shades.

Go grunge with high-waisted tube skirts worn mid-calf length and racer back vests in soft marl. The classic biker jacket is given a twist featuring bold prints. For those rainy days, go with the jersey hooded sweats and ponchos in fine nylon.

Jogging pants in soft silks and leggings are broken up with mesh panels and neat tailoring. The dress is short and body-con in shape worked in neoprene and dazzling engineered organza with embellishment in the form of zips. Large spotted graphics create interesting juxtapositions.

Cut-outs along the neck line and on the back provide a figure-hugging finish.

Print it is for South Pacific with a mix of contrasting kaleidoscopic baroque borders, animal prints and high octane hibiscus florals, all bright as can be. Body-con cropped shapes contrast with relaxed T-shirt and shift shapes are layered to provide a sporty profile.

Pastel coloured denim is mixed with prints worn in a skinny capri to dress down the look. Jackets are oversized and bomber in shape, reminiscent of rave gear. The bandeau and high-waisted hotpants are key shapes.

Spring Equinox is all about folk and fairy tales with its focus on craft detailing. Lace inserts are patched on denim, fluorescent broderie anglaise detailing can be found on lace-panelled mid-length dresses and paint prints decorate stiff chiffon.

Blanket inspired knitwear is made with spaced dyed wool, and comes as a chunky crew neck jumper and a thin-knit vest dress. Jersey Ts are appliqued and woven to add dimension and cropped in shape. Celebrate the summer in heavily sequinned embellished denim in pinks and peaches which incorporate metallic shimmers.

Tribal patterns are another trend for the season. Exaggerated Aztec and Native-American prints abound. Relaxed oversized soft dresses and wider cut shorts are worked with contrasting neon piping and patch work.

A loose fitting shirt offers a casual vibe to colour blocking, while an oversized boyfriend denim jacket provides Western cowboy styling with fringe and Aztec bead embellishment.

Lightweight khaki parkas provide the ideal cover up for an evening by the campfire. Inspired by indigenous Mexican brocade, multicoloured rags are woven into knits to create texture and dimension to dresses and blouses.

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