A few untidy moments take the edge off a trend-led overall offer.
- 25-27 Newgate Row, The Grosvenor Centre
Coverage of the season’s trends is impressive at River Island. Studs adorn an abundance of styles and there is a strong offer of winter boots for women. Wedge trainers make an appearance, while directional flatforms also impress. Dressy super-high wedges and heels and metal toe-cap slingbacks are all ticked off. The Chester store has a wider women’s offer than some rivals like Topshop, but the level of quality and fewer points of difference let it down a little. Men’s is good, with a nice offer of brogues, Chelsea boots, tasselled loafers and even a lovely monk-strap shoe. Desert boots look fetching in suede and updated in leather, while River’s heritage fabric plimsolls are a triumph.
Wedge-heel trainers are a must-buy at £40, undercutting Topshop’s version by £5. Black heeled Chelsea boots are £70 while a nifty suede Western-style boot with fetching metal heel detail is a tempting £40. Men’s Vans-style plimsolls are a well-priced £22, matching Topman, as do the more expensive heritage updates with contrast fabrics. Brogues are good value at around the £45 mark.
Excellent window displays make the most of the trend-led styles for both men and women, illustrating the range of casual and dressy styles on offer. Staff were particularly helpful and approached me in both the men’s and women’s areas. River Island loses points for the random placement of odd shoes beneath hanging rails of clothes, which looks untidy and accidental rather than deliberate.