Let’s be honest, Ivy Park is not worth the space it takes up in Topshop
Beyoncé’s Topshop collaboration, Ivy Park, hit stores in Spring last year and excited fans hastily snatched up pieces from the first collection. This was amazing! We could now try to be more like Queen B with a few simple athleisure pieces that would not bankrupt us.
Except we couldn’t.
Nobody looks as good as Beyoncé in Ivy Park. That might seem like pointing out the blindingly obvious, but the collection lacks any semblance of classic Bey glamour. It doesn’t even fit in with Topshop’s stylish aesthetic either. It’s a collaboration that should never have even happened.
And the glaring evidence to support that? It’s still, still hanging around in Topshop months later. High street collaborations are supposed to be hyped to death and sell out in hours, they’re supposed to be impossible to get, to resell on eBay for 10 times more than they were originally worth. Think H&M Kenzo last year. It might not be fair, and it might not be fun, but it’s the way things work. So you can’t help but look at the rails of forgotten, grey, unwanted Ivy Park in Topshop and think “sorry Bey, but you’ve fucked it”.
It all started so well, with Ivy Park being the most socially engaged brand on Instagram before it even hit shops. This isn’t surprising given the breadth of Bey’s fan base. Now, all you have to do is walk into any Topshop in the country to see that sales have dwindled.
The first collection had people queuing up outside London stores to get dibs on it before anyone else. Now, this excitement has waned, sales have dropped and Ivy Park is still taking up space in every Topshop store. It is not just city centre stores stocking the range, as has been the case with previous collaborations, but every Topshop in every small town across the country now stocks Beyoncé’s sportswear.
Along with Rihanna for Puma and Pixie Lott for Lipsy, Beyoncé is just another celebrity in the growing list that have decided to try their hand at fashion design. It’s exciting for fans when the collections are first launched, but when they decide to keep reproducing them for the foreseeable future, you can’t help but think how the same space could be taken up by a talented young designer who would kill to design for a brand like Topshop. For celebrities like Beyoncé it is merely another string to add to her perfect bow.
The hype around collaborations is their exclusivity. They offer the same allure as designer labels for a fraction of the price. Websites shutting down and queues spiralling around the block are not uncommon when the hippest brand has decided to create just a handful of pieces for a high street chain. Ivy Park has lingered too long and it has lost its standing among great celeb collabs.
Beyoncé is not the first celeb to have a long tenure at Topshop. Kate Moss launched her first collection in 2007 and designed more than 10 collections over the next seven years. Moss has fashion roots in her favour and the pieces she designed fitted in with the overall Topshop aesthetic so never felt out of place in store. Ivy Park feels much more abrasive. It’s great that Beyoncé’s trying to encourage young women to take up sport, but Topshop has never dedicated so much of its shop floor to sportswear until now. The collection is also stocked by JD Sports where it feels more in place, but it rarely takes up as much space in there as it does in Topshop stores.
Topshop and Arcadia Group CEO Philip Green emphasised: “This is not a collaboration. This is about building a brand and building a business – a separate, proper business, with separate overheads and a separate office.” That explains why such a large chunk of every store is dedicated to Ivy Park. It is time for Ivy Park to move into its own space. It feels out of place being in Topshop for this long.
The clothes themselves are not particularly eye-catching. Riding on the back of the athleisure trend, leggings, hoodies and crop tops with Ivy Park emblazoned across them are the collections key pieces. They balance between only really looking good if you are exercising in them and being a tad too pretentious for the gym. What’s most disappointing is that Ivy Park lacks that idiosyncratic Beyoncé glamour that we all crave and love. It’s not Met Gala worthy, but the supposed sportswear is more likely to be worn for lazy days when you are not feeling your most Beyoncé.
Beyoncé endorsed leggings are still just leggings. They could have been designed by anyone. Sorry Bey.
The second collection sings in much the same tune as the first. More monochrome sport and leisurewear set to loiter on the floors of Topshop all season. The colour scheme hardly draws attention away from Topshop’s trendy, patterned pieces.
Nothing about Beyoncé herself is mediocre, so why is she letting her collection go that way? Ivy Park has burnt itself out like a TV show that drags on for too long, much to its audience’s chagrin. It may have been popular and successful at its launch, but it’s time to move on.