Ladies and Gentlemen, J.W. Anderson is back in the building! The cult designer is bringing his kooky-cool and cultish aesthetic back to Topshop for a second triumphant season, and we can’t wait! This next collection is set to be more pared-back and edited than the last, with key pieces such as the knitted sweater and the loafer making a revamped return. Be prepared for lots of silver, lots of plaid and um.. lots of dodos.
We grabbed the frenetically busy designer for a few words before the collection launches.
How did you find the reaction from the first collection?
It was really unexpected and really exciting. It was a full commitment and an entire concept, which was amazing. It was sort of like a breaking point for us and it appealed to everyone which was good.
How did it make you feel knowing you had a second one to produce?
It was daunting to think that I had to outdo it. But this one is more stripped back; it’s more about reducing. The idea is about two sisters – two terrible sisters. There’s a lot more of a kink in it. It’s all about perversion and it’s a bit perverse in terms of feel. You know, playing with ugliness and taste levels and the British kink.
Where do the Dodos coming from?
For me they’re strong symbols – the idea of extinction is a powerful one. It’s like a full stop because this is our last collection with Topshop. But it’s also just a playful little doodle – like the kind of thing you come up with when you’re on the phone and doodling at the same time. It’s the same as how the bat came about – it’s subconscious.
How does your design process work from beginning to end?
For me, it’s an evolution process from beginning to end, right up to when we take the pictures. It’s like a collage; you gather all the different elements then you piece them together. We assemble all the different information, process it, sketch it, then hang it on the body, then go in search of new fabrics and new ideas to try and get a different take on things.
How was it working with Kate Phelan?
Kate’s amazing; she’s the sharpest person I know. I love her.
How is it balancing so many projects at once?
You have to take every day as it comes. It’s a lot of pressure but bit by bit, step by step you get there. I’m a workaholic – and it’s starting to show. I don’t really have any time off at the moment until April!
What girls would you like to see wearing this collection?
I think anyone really! A bit of a boyish girl. We have certain people who wear it like Alexa, but I love to see it on anyone at all. You don’t have to be famous, as long as you love it and you believe it, that’s it.
The shoot – what was the vibe behind it?
It was an idea of two characters in a family. Something that felt a little off-kilter and macabre, but young ultimately. It was inspired by a kind of subversive youth culture – the nose chains, the glares, that long never-ending hair cascading down.
Is there a favourite piece?
The argyle. Yes, they look really chic and they’re modern but also fun.
Any tips for young designers?
Never compromise and listen to yourself. And create a good team. Never be concerned about opinion at the time – and don’t be a slave to the internet! There’s a lot more things out there other than the internet!
As the star of our debut Christmas film, Winter Wonderland, we knew that the dress Kate Bosworth wore would truly have to dazzle! Here at Topshop HQ, we’re long-time admirers of the actresses’ faultless style so when we started brainstorming her look, we couldn’t think of a better way to create something magical and truly bespoke than by having Kate collaborate with our in-house design team on a custom-made gown. If you love the final result as much as we do, make sure you don’t miss out and register your interest in Kate’s dress.
With Kate in and out of Topshop HQ throughout the entire design process – from perfecting the toile to adding on beads in the final fitting – we were lucky enough to spend some time with her up in our pattern room. It was amazing to watch the initial sketch come to life and to give you a real insight into the process, we caught up with Kate.
What was the starting point for designing your custom-made dress?
I was emailing back and forth with the lovely designer on dresses about my initial thoughts on what I was feeling in terms of the movie and the character and we simply translated that feeling into this dress. I wanted a deeper red , a fire red, very close to Michelle Pfeiffer’s in The Fabulous Baker Boys but a little richer. I also knew I wanted it to be long sleeved and have stones on the inside, at the cuff and around the chest. It was all very quick, she sent me one sketch I said great, she sent me a fabric sample and the different crystal colours and from there it all came together.
What was it like when you started working on the dress with the design team at Topshop HQ?
When we got to London to try the toile on, it was really neat. I loved seeing our sketch translate into what can only be described as a potato sack! – and then working with the team on shaping it and finalizing all the details. Geraldine, the Head of Design Development at Topshop, who I worked with really closely throughout the whole process, really did such a beautiful job of making the dress the way I had envisioned it. It was challenging – what with the time constraints – but in a sense it made us make decisions by instinct and that can really bring a magical result. I’d go to a meeting and come out and the team would still be working on it. You know it was amazing, everyone putting in the effort to make something special!
What is it about Michelle Pfeiffer in this film that inspired you?
She’s amazing, one of the most engaging performers I’ve ever seen. In The Fabulous Baker Boys you can’t take your eyes off her. What I love about her performance is how bold she is but also how imperfect she is. I love that she was confident in those imperfections and I had to get my head around that idea too when I was recording the song. Her performance really allowed me to embrace the flaws and the beauties and it’s that which gives the vulnerability in her performance and hopefully mine too.
Was your make-up look inspired by Michelle’s in the film too?
The first thing I said to the make-up artist and the hair stylist was that this shouldn’t be a high fashion look. The make-up and hair isn’t overly styled in the film because essentially, the girl I’m playing is a lounge singer that’s going from city to city. She’s done this a million times and there’s a sort of vulnerability and sadness about her but she can really turn it on when she has to. We wanted to convey that she’s a little undone, a little raw and that was why the look was quite paired down.
We also managed to grab some time with our dress designer on the inspirations behind the dress and on working with Kate…
How did the design process start and what was your initial inspiration?
It began by discussing The Fabulous Baker Boys and Michelle Pfeiffer’s iconic red dress. We were keen to create a modern dress that captured the old starlet Hollywood glamour, whilst keeping it true to Kate’s own personal style.
How did Kate and yourself work together on the dress?
Kate and I began by discussing the silhouette. The dress had to be modern so we kept the length short and Kate came up with the idea of doing the curved front hem. Kate has a great eye for detail and was involved every step of the way. We were fortunate the design process happened so easily and we were both thinking along them same lines.
What were the highlights of the design?
For the dress we used a silk lame in a very striking claret noir colour. We wanted the dress to have a certain sex appeal and the intense dark red helped to achieve this. Applied to the dress were hundreds of Swarovski crystals in three different colours that created that beautiful shimmer you can see in the film. They fade in and out of the dress to add a touch of glamour in a modern way without being too overwhelming. Finally we had a cut out back, which again added an element of seductiveness and interest as we knew that Kate was going to be being filmed from all angles.
Watch Kate’s custom-made dress shimmer and shine in our Christmas film, Winter Wonderland, and don’t forget that you can register your interest in her dress and shop her make-up look over on Topshop.com.
If you love Kate’s Christmas track, be sure to download it on iTunes.
Make-up is a tricky thing. A layer of mascara too many, you’re in drag; A layer of foundation too little, you’re ghostly. Thank the beauty gods for make-up artist du jour Hannah Murray, who’s here to save your face for the season that’s all about looking good.
Murray has been spreading her magic across the industry for years, creating swoon-worthy campaigns for the likes of Alexander Wang and Jil Sander as well as striking editorials and front covers for major tastemakers i-D and British Vogue to our niche loves like Acne Paper and The Gentlewoman. Murray has stolen beauty journalists hearts both with her high-impact advertorials but also with her do-it-at-home nature. As for us at Topshop, we couldn’t pick a better consultant for our make-up collection. She’s even turned the whole office into make-up artists with her step by step make-up tutorials.
So, there’s no wonder ELLE magazine asked her expertise for an editorial dedicated to a week in make up to celebrate them giving away some delicious Topshop make-up goodies with every subscription this month. Murray jumped on board to create seven, (yes, seven!) day to night looks that you too can make work whatever the weather. Below, we’ve given a glimpse of three of our favourite looks but head over to ElleUK to find the rest!
60′s Coquettish Cool
Use Gel Liner in Ink £8 along your upper lash line, extending out and upwards to create feline eye. Apply the liner to the outer corner of your eye and smudge with Smoky Eyes Brush £7.
Hannah’s make up done by Hannah Philips with the Louise Gray collection
It was just a few weeks ago when we spent a fun day out of the office at London’s Kew gardens with Hannah Lambert, the rising star of street style and expert creator of outfits to wow in. Assistant to internationally respected fashion writer and contributing editor of American Vogue, Sarah Mower, Hannah is well-educated in the high paced fashion world. Allowing us to riffle through her designer-strewn wardrobe we threw together gems such as a Dolce & Gabbana choker with Meadham Kirchhoff pompom platforms and a Chewbacca purse that she found in a toy shop! If there’s one thing you ought to know about Hannah, it’s that she likes anything furry. We can also reveal that her Whatsapp profile picture is a furry cartoonish animal! Yes, we Whatsapped, that’s how cool we are.
Josie Gealer our photographer in action and our stylist Coline Bach trying on Hannah’s Louise Gray fur jacket
In a nutshell this girl is too cool. More than a girl crush, rather a discovery and a refreshing example to guide us out of the boring roads of fashion and inspire us to mix up our own wardrobes. The first time we interviewed Hannah she told us she hated having her picture taken. “What a waste!” we thought, thinking about all these great outfits that may never be immortalized. “It’s sort of bizarre, I’m massively awkward so I usually say no if I’m asked to get my picture taken,” she confessed. But here at Topshop HQ we won’t take no for an answer, especially from our style crush of the year. Never one to shy away, we asked Hannah very nicely if she wanted to play dress up with us in our Psychedelic Dandy collection and, by some great miracle, she said yes!
The beautiful autumn leaves colours in Kew garden and our glamorous make up spot with make up artist Hannah Philips working her magic
We met Hannah, on an early Tuesday morning at Kew Gardens tube station: us, with a suitcase full of our kaleidoscopic Psychedelic Dandy collection and her, with a garbage bag —literally it was a garbage bag— full of designer pieces. In keeping with the glamorous surroundings the local coffee shop became the changing rooms and make up area for the shoot and off Hannah went to work her magic.
The morning visitors all looked very amused when the colourful Hannah started posing on a staircase in front of the flourishing canopy of plants donned in a mixture of Prada and Topshop. Throughout the day our photographer Josie Gealer tried to get Hannah to smile but having braces —that she hates— she refused and kept very closed lipped.
Hannah’s wonderful Meadham Kirchhoff platforms
After a few fearful moments – a broken Balenciaga earring and a hunt through the autumn leaves for the remaining part— we headed back to our starting point: the local coffee shop for a warm and comforting cuppa and lunch before leaving Hannah running back to University, her couture garbage bag swinging on her shoulder. Browse Hannah’s feature and interview here.
When it comes to celebrity Halloween parties there’s no fancy dress party quite like a Heidi Klum fancy dress party. The German model and TV presenter is notorious for her boundary pushing costumes, fanciful spreads and A-list guests who are equally as enthusiastic in their transformation stakes. As the season of skulls, pumpkins and #TrickorTweet approaches we thought what better way to inspire some serious costumes than with a post dedicated to the excessive looks created by the stars who love Halloween almost as much as we do!
If even Ska girl Gwen Stefani goes to the ball as Cinderella, then it must be true, every girl wants to be a Disney Princess! Goodbye to Stefani’s check trousers and yolk yellow hair and hello to the most realistic princess dress we’ve ever seen. Stefani has clearly had Cinderella on repeat to get this sort of attention to detail. Cue: elegant tiara, blown out fringe and white gloves. Perfect! That’s not to take anything away from our Queen Bee – Beyonce! – who couldn’t have picked a more apt costume. The diva was pregnant with Ivy Blue Carter when she donned her furry, spherical bee costume which not only nicely hid her baby bump but showed off her fabulous as always pins. There’s got to be a way of recreating this with chicken wire and faux-fur, yes?!
If there’s a prize for cuteness, it’s got to go to Buffy star Alyson Hannigan. Us Topshop girls have yet to stop cooing over her all-in-one kangaroo costume complete with a pouch for her very own marsupial dressed baby. (We highly recommend googling Alyson Hannigan for more oh-so-adorable Halloween costumes). As for Gossip Girl and fellow Buffy star Michelle Trachtenberg decided to go for a more artsy approach and took to one of director Tim Burton’s sketches ‘Blue Girl with Wine’ for inspiration to her costume. With all that smurf paint and serious eyelashes, this is what we call a dedicated effort!
With all these brilliant ideas we’re overwhelmed with what we should go as! Any tips or tricks? Send your Twitpic, Instagram or Tweets to @Topshop using the hashtag #TrickorTweet with a chance to win £100/$150 shopping spree!