Arcadia S/S 11

I’m not a huge fan of press days. I generally arrive bang on opening or closing time so as not to eat into the working day, which means a ratio of 50 press officers to one little Daisy. Queue awkward shuffling, talking in huddles and avoidance of eye contact – that’s them not me. Unless you work for Elle or Vogue it seems you’re not worth talking to. Luckily for some brands, the collections tend to speak for themselves. Yep, it comes as no surprise that the Arcadia group has done it again – a strong and at times unexpected offering for our Spring/Summer wardrobes.

The most delightful award has to go to Miss Selfridge. In my mind the Miss S offering has been young (14 – 22) and a bit clumsy – cheaper fabrics cut into poor imitations of designer goods. Dare I say it… cheap? Not so. Next season you can expect elegant, simple silhouettes in silk, chiffon and cotton, delicate tops with hand-threaded beading, intricately laser cut leather tees and jackets and floaty flared trousers in swirling prints. Half the collection instantly went on my ‘wish list’ and left me imagining languid Ibizan nights wearing knitted tshirts and sweeping dresses in the softest of buttermilk, off cream and daisy yellow – think grown up (and I hate to use this word) boho rather than girly and twee.

Miss Selfridge S/S 11

Miss Selfridge S/S 11

Dorothy Perkin’s brought another triumph for Arcadia. In among the usual fare of low-budget denim dresses and see-through kaftans was a selection of seventies inspired looks. Notably a knee-length billowing, orange silk skirt that would look magnificent now, a buttery soft, dusty grey 100% leather jacket with undulating rippled detailing along it’s flanks and an oversized cape in the most diaphanous of vintage pink finished with tarnished gold and rose, beaded clusters – hello indigo denim jeans, hello instant summer evening elegance.

I liked these Prada-esque dresses from Wallis too, nipped in at the waist with a fuller bell skirt and wide cut straps perfect for holding up your best assets. Neat summer dresses sure to bring out the lady in all of us.

Wallis S/S 11

Saving the most anticipated until last – Topshop. The brand that keeps on giving had a few items that actually received a gasp from me – namely kitten soft shorts in faded duck egg blue and William Morris floral overlay. Not ground breaking I know, but oh so feminine, esquisite print work and the best bit – affordable. Hence the drawing in of breath.

Topshop S/S 11

Parts of the collection were less wearable – Burning Man festival inspired dresses, shorts and waistcoats in desert tones, all chunky beading and tassels. These pieces hold massive shoot potential and will look amazing gracing the pages of the right magazine, but on my back – I’ll look like a lost Rodeo cowgirl.

Finally Evans. It just fills me with frustration. I have no idea how ‘plus-sized’ women manage to dress so stylishly. At Evans fabrics were clunky, and cheap, patterns are outdated and mumsy and I only found one piece in the whole collection worth shouting about – a soft tan shirt dress in the smoothest of silk that looks like it would drape and flatter in all the right places. Why can’t they just make adapted pieces from the other collections for Evans? The range felt like an afterthought, even its positioning at the press day – sneaked into a corner – felt shameful. We can put man on the moon, surely we can make lust-worthy clothes in sizes 14 – 18?

Nice work Arcadia. And thank you for the press gift – a pretty headscarf from my new favourite high street brand, Miss Selfridge. Perhaps you could have a work with your PRs though, journalists don’t bite and if you took the time to chat to them rather than rushing off after an embarrassed hello, you might find out something worthwhile…

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