Designer collaborations with high-street giants have become pretty commonplace recently, perhaps it’s the impact of the economy – a global recession has a way of throwing the cost of designer goods into stark relief. The chance to buy directional fashion at high-street prices is a pretty good deal, regardless of the circumstances. Sometimes however, the idea of these collaborations is more exciting than the actuality. Some retailers have pursued established design houses to offer poorly constructed and rehashed designs from past collections. The result is essentially nothing but a tawdry imitation of the ‘real thing’.
River Island on the other hand have opted for championing an emerging talent with their Design Forum, which after several successful women’s collections is finally tackling menswear. T. Lipop has a truly inceptive aesthetic and his River Island Design Forum collection is easily the most exciting of these designer/high-street collaborations that I’ve seen in years. Fusing stark, architectural tailoring with sleek, luxe sportswear styling the AW13 collection fills a gap in high street rails that no-one else seemed to realise was even there. Key pieces like the buttonless blazer, offer a kind of ostentatious minimalism, where pared back details make way for out-of-the-ordinary silhouettes and sleek lines. Even the padded jacket is reinvented with leather drawstring detailing and fetishesque cuffs. But the stand out piece is easily the backpack. Sexy nude leather harness from the front, chic sophisticated satchel from the back. If only all high-street/designer collaborations were like this one…
The River Island / T. Lipop Design Forum collection is available in store on online now.
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