The British Are Coming! 

England’s Top Shop Comes Across the Water

 

My sister once spent a summer abroad in London and returned to the States impossibly chic, schooled in the art of composing mismatched vintage outfits that perfectly combined Mom’s disapproval with her friends’ envy. Granted, she also returned with bleached-blonde hair and a penchant for calling apartments “flats,” but it was inevitable that she was my first phone call after booking a trip to London last year.

I readied my pen and paper, prepared for a litany of tiny vintage gems tucked behind quaint bookstores. Her reply was shockingly terse.

“Topshop. Trust me. It’ll take you all afternoon.”

Perched at the center of teeming Oxford Circus is the behemoth that is Topshop, a clothing giant that rolls out limited-edition lines by popular designers creating for the Topshop label, along with youngster talent given precious shelf space beside the bigwigs. So when rumors started swirling in late summer that the famed megastore was finally moving stateside, I cleared space in my closet. America’s lost its flair and now we all want a little something British. Suddenly, it’s all about Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Franz Ferdinand. So after UK superstar Reiss opened its flagship store on West Broadway, many women crossed their fingers and whispered, “Topshop.”

In true indie fashion, instead of going all H&M and building a towering castle of clothing, Topshop is currently the featured guest on the top level of a treasure-trove boutique called Opening Ceremony, already a familiar host to genius designers like Alexander Herchcovitch.

Passing through front door and up the stairs to the Topshop loft, I was greeted by a quaint stack of old-fashioned travel trunks. I’d barely touched a jacket when the manager of the store bolted up the stairs to tell me not to feature anything too specific because, in his words, they’d unloaded over 100 pieces just last week. In layman’s terms, this stuff ain’t gonna last.

Thus it pains me to inform the public that what I saw in there was breathtaking. My first grabs were skinny black denim jeans and pencil skirts by Unique with ribbed kneepads that screamed Balenciaga (or at least $800) but cost a mere $80. Second on my clothing pile-a-thon was a delicate silk tunic by Jens Laugensen (for Topshop) with delicate buttons and a flirty ruffled hem for $195. Though London’s Topshop prides itself on thrifty steals, Opening Ceremony has snatched some of more fantastic labels, including one “Musketeer jacket” by Unique that looks like a tailored fencing jacket with hardware fastenings and a corset tie at the back ($210). Boys can grab fantastically natty sweaters and a retro olive bomber jacket by TL Design for $110. Even if everything I saw has disappeared, the treasures anyone will find with a Topshop label are not to be missed.

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