Kate Moss is to 21st century fashion what Audrey Hepburn was to the 20th century. If Kate Moss wears it, then “it” is automatically stylish. For fashionistas, her word on a designer or store is pretty much final.
So when the famous supermodel started both donning and designing clothes for the uber-cool — and uber-cheap — London hotspot Topshop, the rest of the world stood captivated and waited for the chain to expand.
It seemed to have everything: cute and chic styles made for the fashion-obsessed maven. By buying various items and mixing and matching all of them, truly fashionable girls could rise to the creative top. After a fiercely long wait, the Brits finally brought it to SoHo in Manhattan, and the three-story superstore was an instant hit. Something clearly got lost in translation, however, when distributors decided to open up a store in Los Angeles.
The billboards taunted fashionistas for close to a year: TOPSHOP SPRING 2013. There couldn’t be a better location, The Grove. There couldn’t be a better time. But, unfortunately, when it opened on Feb. 14, it could not have been more of a disappointment to those with high hopes.
Shopping can be either relaxing or stressful, and Los Angeles’ Topshop falls into the latter category. Though business is busy since the store just opened, there is no excuse for the frenzied atmosphere that a better layout of the store could have mitigated. Clothes are situated awkwardly on the first floor, with no organization according to style, item of clothing or color. It seems as if Topshop is taking the idea of Throw-on-Chic to heart.
If one is tired of the mid-sized ground floor, all they have to do is venture upstairs to an even smaller second floor. Hopefully, the escalator won’t break down — again.
Understandably, employees must be busy with the new store and copious customers, but when there are employees standing outside giving out Lookbook Magazines instead of keeping things neat and organized inside, a store runs into a problem.
Simple things such as layout and customer service could be overlooked if the items in the store can live up to a positive image. Too bad that even the clothes disappoint. What happened to the hip Kate Moss style that devotees have come to love? In place of actually fashionable things are an assortment of muscle tanks in seemingly every color, bandage skirts and bustier dresses. A small section of “fancy” dresses looked promising before it became apparent that the cost is far too high for the quality of fabric.
A store’s continued success relies on its ability to turn out clothes that continue to excite and entice customers. Or, if you’re Topshop, after too many seasons of trying to live up to hype, you only become a shadow of your former self.
It almost seems like a cliche: The cool festival girl who has tousled hair and is able to pull off high-waisted jean shorts can take her pick out of the insane number of booty-bearing shorts left for display. And the model who dates a rocker (or a poser who tries) can throw on her faux-fur short coat over a sparkly party dress and look “so put-together without trying.”
The clothes are predictable and uninspiring. Not to mention the fact that the largest size is a size 12, a fact that limits its audience heavily. Don’t curvier girls get to play Kate Moss too?
Hopefully Topshop will return to the styles that made it so popular in the first place. By staying true to its so-hip-we-don’t-care roots, maybe more will become receptive to the new store. For now, however, it’s not worth it to jet on over to The Grove for a first-hand look — they have some work to do.