On my recent visit to London, I checked out the new Kate Moss for Top Shop range and after the frenzy surrounding the launch, I was positively underwhelmed. Grungy looking waistcoats? Jackets with arms so skinny you’d need a cocaine-physique to stand a fighting chance of getting into them? Cocktail dresses in cheap polyester? It might be fashion heresy to say so but three words sprang to mind: Emperor’s. New. Clothes. Kate herself has far too much style to wear much of this cheap tat.
But then I have never really understood the Top Shop phenomenon. With the exception of a denim jacket bought six years ago, I do not own anything from the place. This is partly – like not shopping at Tesco – a matter of principle. Philip Green relies partly on the British workforce for his billions but, because he hides out in Monaco for most of the year, is not obliged to pay into the communal tax kitty.
Secondly, I can’t help thinking that Top Shop - and Primark’s - pile-it-it-high, sell-it-cheap approach to fashion sits uneasily with these ecologically-concerned times. Personally, I would rather buy less, but choose things that I will wear for a long time, than throw away a few pounds on a polyester frock that is on a fast-track to landfill. Despite all the euphoric press coverage, I can never find anything in Top Shop that does not look cheap and ill-fitting. My advice is to leave it to the skinny teenagers. The real insider secret of the moment is Jaeger London. Since its makeover, you cannot move in the Regent Street store for fashion editors buying well-cut, bang-on-trend items - though curiously they choose not to rave on about it to their readers.