Thursday, May 17, 2007

Kate Moss for Topshop in Singapore

Singapore has often prided itself on exceptionalism. What it lacks for in natural resources---no the world's highest waterfall here---is made up for by its army of super efficient bureaucrats---they came up with the world's highest man-made waterfall. Its citizens have much to be proud of, as the country aims to be the first in this and the first in that, an ernest attempt indeed, with some successes (first in maths and science test scores among students), some failures (to get a first in some Olympic event) and some bizarre results(Longest Scuba Submergence in a controlled environment) in between.

Perhaps to its growing list of accolades, it could add "the first country in which Kate Moss for Topshop did not sell out within a few hours". As i ventured into the largest Topshop store here at 7pm, long after the 10am opening, there were plenty of stocks left over. Black hotpants were all still neatly hung, as was the red shimmery halter neck dress.

To be fair, there were some popular pieces, namely the denim hotpants, and the blue cropped denim, but others were still mostly on the shelves, neatly hung, looking untouched. And it wasn't for a lack of customers. There were many people there, some walking over to the Kate Moss section have a look, but relatively few picking up pieces from the collection to try. Case in point: as i stood in the long queue outside the dressing rooms, no one in front of me, and no one behind me held anything from the Kate Moss collection. Topshop's in-style design team must be proud. Their own pieces held their own in this tiny little island.

Apparently cultural context might have something to do with the peculiar slow sales of a collection that sold out within a few hours (was it just 2 hours?) in Topshop London, and was almost just as quickly sold out (Time Magazine said it took 4 hours) in Barneys New York. When queried, a salesgirl whispered conspirationally that the red dress looked like what the local waitresses wore. Furthermore, in this part of the world, well, it happens that prostitutes and Karaoke Lounge hostesses dress in shiny red halter neck mini dresses. No surprises then that the mainly conservative Singapore society quickly shunned it.

Still, crowds were aplenty at Orchard Road, Singapore's prime shopping district. They were all queuing up at CK Tangs and Isetan Scotts, two department stores stocking up in the early bird sales. With the Great Singapore Sale---a 2 month long shopping feast where most of the shops offer discounts---beginning in a week's time, and the Kate Moss for Topshop collection moving rather slowly (especially when compared to the rapid fire sell out speed in London and New York), could Singapore, like Kate herself, be a trendsetter in this aspect: Singapore as the FIRST place where Kate Moss for Topshop was on the discount rack?

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