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River Island AW09

30 July 2009

River Island is fighting fit representing the excellent British high street. They garnered attention this Spring with these tribal lace up heels and they're only getting better - I remember their hideous ranges in the late-90s to early-00s: khaki combats, lemon sorbet yellow tshirts, obsessively plastering every item with zips, buckles and tassels, gimmicky slogans and - horror of horrors - pairing baby pink with pale grey. Some kind of horrible fusion between Gap's plainer little sister and Miss Selfridge's chavvier cousin.

I haven't been in River Island probably since the mid-90s back when, I thought, they nailed "sexy" with black sequinned minidresses (I must have at least 10 of these in my wardrobe now, but anyway) perfect for school discos. Anyway, this past few seasons I've been silently admiring their collections from afar - and their new AW09 collection, out today, has some gorgeous pieces.

They've channeled Balmain through structured shoulders and panelling with this acid wash patterned dress and this purple tulip vision is perfect for easing into the Christmas party season. Still some hits and misses, but that's to be expected of a retailer moving away from their casual comfort zone and venturing into glamorous. I'm feeling brave: I'm gonna gonna hit the store...

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