Last week I popped into Topshop at Oxford Circus to buy a gift card as a birthday present for my teenage niece and I spotted some clothing with a delightfully retro label. You can imagine my joy when a closer look revealed that this was a cute mini collection inspired by items from their archive! As a fashion historian and a massive fan of Topshop since my teenage years, this was a fantastic discovery and I can’t believe I hadn’t found out about it sooner.
The Topshop Archive Collection takes its inspiration from past pieces but hasn’t directly copied the designs and so it feels more modern than a rummage in Beyond Retro which, to be honest, you have to be rather bold to carry off – some of the 80s and 90s fashions weren’t quite as stylish as I remember. Topshop’s reworked collection contains some utterly delightful pieces, including the pink 80s taffeta prom dress which stirred up a few memories for me (pretty sure I had something similar as a child), and the 70s inspired red high-waisted cord flares which make me wish I was taller so I could carry them off as they are absolutely amazing!
After rummaging through the rails, I did manage find something in my style that I was drawn to and was pleased to discover that the only one left was actually in my size, so I hurried off to the changing rooms hoping it would fit. The ruffle pinafore meadow dress is utterly adorable and fitted me well, so I snapped it up and then looked for it online to see if there was any clue as to what archive item it was inspired by. Sadly, all I discovered was that it is sold out so I’m really glad I grabbed it when I did. I am, however, still pondering the cute polkadot blouse and/or shorts, plus the space-dye flower blouse. The website gives a bit more information on how this collection came about:
Following in the pioneering spirit of our much-loved designer collaborations, we delved into our own vast history to rediscover the pieces and campaigns that first-established Topshop as a key player in British fashion. Sourced from vintage stores worldwide, friends of the brand and our own in-house archive, our creative director Kate Phelan worked closely with the design team to modernise and reimagine these classics for a new generation of Topshop girl.
Topshop is now asking its customers to share their favourite piece of the brand’s clothing from past seasons using the #BringThatBack hashtag, to help influence the next Archive collection. I have had many wonderful Topshop garments over the years – from the late 80s when I first spent my pocket money in the tiny local store, the early 90s when I would spend entire Saturdays in the Oxford Circus store with friends, or the late 90s when Manchester’s Topshop was one of my favourite haunts – but sadly I can’t remember most of them. I think I’ll have to rummage through some old photos to see what I can find.
However, back in 2011, I blogged about a wonderful full-skirted mac from Topshop. For the last four years it has been one of my favourite things about spring and autumn, and it always gets compliments. I still wear it now even though the fabric has faded, the lining is ripped and it has seen better days. This is me wearing it about three years ago (back when my nephew was still a work in progress!) and I’ve posted the pic on Instagram in the hope that Topshop will#BringThatBack in a future collection. Have you got any items of clothing that you’d love to own again?