Saint Laurent vs Topshop

topshop, saint laurent, rip off, hedi slimane, designer clothing

Saint Laurent’s green jersey skater dress (3590 euros, left) costs 56 times more than Topshop’s green jersey skater dress (64 euros, right.)

Most of you know that I am not a fan of what Hedi Slimane has been doing for Saint Laurent and I’m not sure I believe that the product is doing so well at retail level (although the media is reporting otherwise.) My suspicions were even stronger after I checked out the collection when I was in London a few weeks ago. I thought, given the steep prices for clothing that looks like Topshop, that Saint Laurent would at least be incredible quality and made from beautiful fabrics. I wasn’t impressed. While the fabrics and quality were certainly better than most fast fashion retailers, I wasn’t wow-ed by the construction, and that made me even more confused about how the brand could be doing so well. The clothes look like Forever 21, the quality isn’t even that great, and they are really expensive.

topshop, saint laurent, rip off, hedi slimane, designer clothing

Saint Laurent’s leopard print skirt (990 euros, left) is 16 times more expensive than Topshop’s leopard print skirt (60 euros, right.)

After writing about overpriced denim last week, I decided it was time to do another visual price comparison of two brands. Last time I looked at Rodarte, and the results were shocking. Today, I am comparing Saint Laurent and Topshop. Now, I know that the quality and fabrics of Topshop are not as good as Saint Laurent, and neither are their cuts. I also know they aren’t made under such good working conditions. Keeping in mind that Saint Laurent has much better photography – have a look at the cost comparisons. And if you scroll down to the bottom, you’ll see that my diagrams show just how shocking the price differences are.


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Ask Alexandra: April 2014 Inbox

Ask Alexandra is my advice column. Have a question you want to ask me? Fill out the form here.

Usually I tackle one “big” question in this column but today I’m answering a few short letters I received recently about fashion portfolios, fabric tradeshows, and studying in France.

valerie servais

All illustrations by Valerie Servais.

Dear Alexandra,

What fabric show season corresponds to what collection season? In other words, if you go to a fabric show much earlier than the season you need it for, it may be bought up by the time you’re ready to purchase. So when should you go to the fabric trade shows?


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Love: Animal Trophy Heads

animal trophy heads, home decor, love, wall, design, interiors

We are moving into a new place in a few weeks and I’ve been obsessing about décor. We haven’t brought much with us from Canada and I am trying to keep things fairly minimal, but I want a few statement pieces for the house. I used to have an incredible set of moose antlers but we decided not to ship it back to Sweden because it was too heavy. I’ve also been a bit paranoid of mounting something of that weight in our house while there are small children running around. Which brings me to my next point – I’d never put an animal head on the wall above my bed because if there’s an earthquake then you wouldn’t want it falling onto you (that’s the Vancouverite in me talking – we are on a major faultline.) However, these would look great in a hallway, den, or dining room.


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Fashion Moments: Jamie Reid’s Dover Street Market Windows

Dover Street Market, Jamie Reid, London, visual merchandising, fashion stores, shopping, shop windows, window displays

Work in progress: the making of the Jamie Reid Dover Street Market window display.

I was reminded of Dover Street Market‘s incredible visual merchandising when I popped in there two weeks ago when I was in London, and so I decided I should share one of my most memorable fashion retail moments: Jamie Reid’s window installation in 2008.

Dover Street Market, Jamie Reid, London, visual merchandising, fashion stores, shopping, shop windows, window displays

Let’s start with some quick background on Jamie Reid, he is was the graphic designer and artist who is best known for his work that resembles ransom notes. He cut out letters of newspaper headlines and turned them into graphics, and was best known for designing the Sex Pistols’ album cover for Never Mind the Bollocks (above.) I know it hardly looks groundbreaking now, but at the time, this was quite innovative design.


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Loathe: Rip Off Jeans

I was looking around on Net A Porter the other day and I was pretty disgusted when I realized that the massively overpriced denim market is still going strong. I hoped this had died out when Balmain lost its hype, but apparently not.

denim, jeans, overpriced, rip off, Pucci, Junya Watanabe

Left to right: ugly ripped jeans from Emilio Pucci for $990, jeans that looks like they’ve been patched by a home sewer from Junya Watanabe for $800, and gross, dirty denim from R13 for $595.

I understand that people think you need to spend a bit of money on jeans to get good ones. The fit and fabric are important. And while I personally won’t (Cheap Monday is my brand of choice), I don’t despair when I see denim priced at $200 a pair. But when we are seeing price tags upwards of $500 for jeans that are hideously tacky or simply quite plain, I get confused.

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