There Will (Probably) Be Blood…and Tote Bags!
For all you folks in the Big Apple: unless you’re a dude with no girlfriend or have been mercifully able to avoid leaving Brooklyn and entering Manhattan in the past several weeks, you know that North America’s very first Topshop is set to open this Thursday in Soho. The ads are everywhere, there are flyers all over the damn street and every fucking thing you eat, drink buy or touch has an “EVERYBODY LOVES TOPSHOP” logo scrawled across it in fake girly-graffiti.
The doors are set to swing open at 11 am but if history is any teacher, chick’s will be camped outside before sunrise waiting to get their hands on the (semi) affordable gear and attempting to imitate the inimitable style of Miss Moss, whose own collection debuts at Topshop’s worldwide the same day.
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Fashion-starved young women in New York have hungrily awaited the promised chain since last summer, gnashing their teeth and renting their soon-to-be-used-as-a-dust-rag H&M garments. It has been a long and burdensome road, bringing Topshop to the US but finally light streams forth at the end of the tunnel, and to celebrate, the store has planned a bacchanalic weekend of celebration with makeovers, complementary beauty treatments, “sweet treats” (?), special guest DJ’s (why?) and the introduction of the masses to Topshop’s new collections; the likes of which New York’s retail community has never seen!
I myself, had an oddly unbidden brush with the ‘Shop just this afternoon. I was exiting the Apple Store in the Meatpacking District near my office and making my way over to the Chelsea Market for some salad, when I noticed a small ice cream-style truck parked by the side of the road, with some hip, hip ladies standing in front handing out tote bags. No sooner had I exited the store than a disembodied voice cried out “It’s the Topshop van!” and out of nowhere, girls as far as the eye could see raced forth, clamoring for Free Stuff. The two young women in front of the van, eyes wide with terror dispensed free tote bags as fast as their arms could move. What catnip was there in this poorly sickly-screened low quality cotton sack that was causing this commotion?
I got my answer when I opened the bag. Yawn:
A bottle of “TOPSHOP” water, which I am sipping as I speak (tastes like fashion!)
A postcard that if I bring to the store before April 19th may or may not result in yours truly being whisked off for a weekend in England.
A post card promising a 10% student discount (Good thing I still have my Sarah Lawrence ID from 6 years ago)
An oversized Topshop catalog containing saucy images from the current spring collection and the Kate Moss collection which despite my previously blase attitude did cause a small amount of palm sweating and heart palpitating.
So I took the bag and went on my way to the Chelsea Market, enjoyed a salad and headed back to the office, passing the space where the Topshop ice cream truck had been that was now occupied by a cement mixer. I hadn’t gone a block when an old lady well into her sixties with thick Coke-bottle glasses and a cane grabbed my arm
“Where is the van,” she hissed, gesturing at my tote bag. “Where is the Topshop van?”
I stammered that they had left and I didn’t know where they were and mid sentence, she leaned over and reached into my bag.
“May I?” she asked, up to her meaty elbow in my tote. ” I just want to see what you got.”
I stood there, flummoxed, arm outstretched, as she rifled through my bag and not a moment later, two girls who looked about seventeen came up and stood beside me, politely asking whether I knew where the van had gone.
My plan, initially, was to go down there on Thursday , brave the crowds and write about my experience for you dear people. However, I have been having some minor moments of terror. These are due to flashbacks of scenes I witnessed at the launch of Stella McCartney’s collection for H&M.
Picture it: 2005, Midtown, nightfall: The collection had sold out instantly and the flagship store was bringing in its last shipment. Standing outside, cowering in the shadows from the hordes of fashion-crazed young women, I watched two girls in identical heels, with puffy jackets and the same Chloe bag, rush a store clerk bringing a box off a truck, wrest it from his hands and knock him to the ground before ripping through the cardboard and crowing with delight in what I believe was Korean. The poor guy just lay there, wishing for death. Inside I caught an elbow in the eye and was almost pushed down a flight of stairs, before finally giving up and fleeing into the night, McCartney-less.
Will I be able to fight the fear on T-Day, April 2nd? Or will terror win, overtaking me, and rendering me incapacitated like that guy in Apocalypse Now?
Topshop opens at 11am on April 2nd on Broadway and Broome Street in Manhattan