Last season, River Island’s preview snaps had me drooling and gawping weeks before the weather was suitable for autumnal purchases. I was raring to go after seeing their red velvet leggings and cream lace blouses teamed with satchels and leather and fur. Well, it appears that this season is no different – yes, I’m a Topshop loyalist and they have produced the coolest, most languid, most rock’n’roll spring collection I’ve ever seen (it’s this one, in case you haven’t heard). Yes, Snake Valley is making me jittery with a desperate need for fringing and ponchos. But River Island’s collection is incredible: in its range, its freshness and its remarkably prêt-a-porter designs. They have managed to produce, from the looks of the images, a capsule collection for each spring trend that perfectly sums up its style and personality. And unusually for them, and in a way that Topshop simply cannot master; nearly all the items in the preview shoot are ones that I would happily wear around town. None of this fringed hot-pants nonsense.
For the record, THIS is how we combine Snake Valley and Ladylike, the season’s two biggest looks:
(Finally! I can play at being a cowboy festival girl and still uphold my vintage style persona!)
And THIS is how we pattern clash to perfection:
(That lilac polka dot blouse is MINE! I have the perfect cream floral skirt to clash it with…)
You see? They are masters. So yes, RI officially beats Topshop.
And Dorothy Perkins still lose, for basing their second SS11 collection (the one that loosely claims to be feminine and 70’s inspired) on sickly, washed-out camel shades. The catwalks said delicate, pale and neutral, Dotty – not ‘please make me look ill and fat’. I doubt I’ll make the effort to walk to the opposite end of the shopping centre AT ALL this spring – not when Toppers and River Island are so conveniently across the mall from each other at this end! You know where to find me…