AW 08-09 trend report: Arcadia press day

Susie Bubble has already critiqued last week’s Arcadia press day but as I have a mental block when it comes to downloading photos it’s taken me til now to do mine. Press days are always a mixed affair. Some are lavish evening events with free flowing bubbly and posh nibbles served on a platter, others are ‘why bother’ occasions in the PR’s office with supermarket orange juice and biscuits. Sometimes if you’ve got a gazillion appointments to squeeze in you just want to get in and out (and get the goody bag) in the least possible time. Other days you actually have the time and will to do things slowly and take everything in. But they can be a political affair too. I wasn’t best pleased when I reached TopShop to be shunted off my spot perusing a rail of Alice In Wonderland-esque satin tulip skirts and velvet shorts by the PR who was talking some Very Important Journos through the collection. Without so much as a hello or an excuse me I was passive-aggressively inched out of the way by the sheer force of his voice until I took my cue and chose a less popular rail to attend to. It struck me how ridiculous it all is as I could still overhear the PR blathering from my corner, “plaid is really key for us this season”…. I could see his audience nodding sagely as a tartan skirt was held up to demonstrate. Much as I was miffed at being so rudely ignored, I was actually glad not to be on the receiving end of this show-and-tell. It’s quite tiring nodding and saying “Oh I love that” at every second item, I much prefer to keep my head down and take my snaps minus the small-talk. Having said that, it’s a PR’s job to greet you and be a host and, of-course give you a goody bag and not hide them away to be brought out to the select few (ie, their friends).

Anyway, enough of the griping, my highlights (apart from seeing Cilla Black wafting past me] were all-over sequins (on skirts, dresses and bow-ties), lip-print dresses and skirts, an abundance of PPQ-meets-Luella strapless cocktail frocks and printed denim – especially coloured leopard-print, not that original but still bound to be a monster sell-out. The eighties retro rehash continues apace with all manner of cropped suede biker jackets and leather dresses, while for those who did the eighties look in the eighties, there were romantic lace confections and chiffon blouses to wear with mannish trousers and wide-leg jeans.

Dorothy Perkins is always a bit wide of the mark for me but there were a couple of gems in their collection, namely a very Marc by Marc Jacobs-influenced grey military cape and a fuchsia silk frock.

Miss Selfridge loves a seventies revival so we had faded denim, vintage-style snake-print bags and Studio 54-era clutches a gogo. Bib-front tops, puff sleeves and tie-neck bows have also become Miss Selfridge signatures but I’m not complaining because I love those.