The inspiration behind Topshop Unique SS12 came about when Karen Bonser, our Head of Design, found herself watching Elizabeth Taylor in the iconic 1963 adaptation of Cleopatra. Captivated by the glamour and opulence of ancient Egypt, along with her design team, she began to explore what a modern Egyptian Queen would wear in urban London.
While there may have been opulent, goddess-like pieces shown on the catwalk earlier today – from a shimmering pink gold bias cut gown to a turquoise column dress covered in a gold foil print of sacred beetles – being Topshop, the whole thing was given a 90s, urban-hip hop spin. Hieroglyphic prints and rich embellishments may have evoked the land of the pharoahs, but there was nothing ancient about the sporty silhouettes on show.
Oversized hoodies covered in gold leaf or coiled cobras, cropped jogging bottoms in sacred Egyptian animal prints, running shorts in gold rose leather, and all-in-ones with hoods may have had a glamorous spin, but were certainly inspired by the street. Even when the iconic shot of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra appeared, it was shown blown-up on a slouchy sweater and tee!
Skin-tight jersey tube dresses, crop tops, floor-sleeping column skirts and pale distressed denim added to the 90s hip-hop feel. It was the leather caps and visors by graduate Alexandra Gold, as well as the metallic leather backpacks which had the photographers backstage, and all the coolest Topshop girls, in a snapping frenzy.
Perfectly fitting with the ghetto-fabulous vibe was chunky gold jewellery inspired by snakes, old-piped gladiator sandals with electro-plated heels, and hair combs decorated with the asp that led to the death of Cleopatra herself!
We can't wait to become urban goddesses in gold, gold, and more gold next spring. Let us know what looks you're loving and if you missed the show, be sure to watch it here.