Protege of Topshop takes her inspiration from street trash

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The Independent Online

While Kate Moss was confirmed as a new designer for Top Shop yesterday, another less well-known talent also allied to the stores was showing her spring collection.

Topshop's support for designers such as the Swedish-born Ann-Sofie Back, who showed her spring collection yesterday at London Fashion Week, is to its credit.

Although Back's rigorously simple shift dresses - cut from unlikely fabrics such as one that resembled dishcloth material or a fine metal mesh - has micro rather than mass appeal, she is one of the capital's most original designers. "I started off by looking at 'rubbish art' - artists who use trash off the street to make art - although it's something that I find scary. Scary is what I find inspiring," said Back after her show, pointing to a white cage dress constructed from fine wire that resembled cable insulation.

Nonetheless, the celebrity collaboration with Moss is bound to be a guaranteed blockbuster for the fashion chain.

Philip Green, head of the Arcadia Group that owns the stores, said yesterday the first "Kate Moss for Topshop" collection will hit 308 stores nationwide next spring. Mr Green said he "looked forward to helping develop Kate Moss for Topshop into a global brand." In the same statement, the supermodel-turned-designer, who is rumoured to be netting £3m in the deal, added "It's going to be great fun."

Elsewhere on the catwalks, the pressure of expectation weighed most heavily on the shoulders of 24-year-old designer Christopher Kane, from Motherwell, Scotland, who made his official debut yesterday. Since his graduate show in March, Kane's micro-short, heavily embellished style has attracted admirers including Donatella Versace and US Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Since graduating from Central Saint Martins, Kane has worked as a consultant to Versace in Milan, and this collection was, in part, a tribute to the heyday of Gianni Versace: Kane's tiny, figure-hugging dresses with frills of lace that curved around the body with anatomical precision recalled the so-called "streetwalker" designs of the late 1980s that had the Italian designer both pilloried and celebrated.

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