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Hit or miss: River Island - 20/30

The Rihanna range’s limelight hogging banished some more deserving pieces to the shadows.

  • Lower Regent Crescent

Product: 7

Much of the shopfloor is given over to the Rihanna for River Island collection, which comprises body-con dresses, oversized jeans and black and neon yellow separates, none of which feel particularly spring-like. Elsewhere, party dresses look strong, as do printed trousers and T-shirts, and there is plenty of variety when it comes to trends - River Island covers as many, if not more, than its competitors. There’s also a notable amount of orange, which gives proceedings a directional edge considering it’s the standout catwalk colour for autumn 13.

Value: 7

The Rihanna collection is pricey compared with the rest of the store, with jeans starting at £60 and a trench coat for £140. With young shoppers’ wallets feeling the pinch, it’s little wonder so much of it is left on the rails. Elsewhere, casual dresses are priced at about £35, going up to a justifiable £60 for heavily embellished party dresses with full skirts. Beachwear looks particularly strong, with printed swimsuits for £25. A faux-leather orange biker jacket is £50, which matches competitors on price but beats them on fashion-forward design.

Experience: 6

The centre of the store is dominated by the Rihanna display, as is the window. It may draw in some customers, if only to look, but it leaves arguably more exciting styles in the shade. The store is tidy, although let down by the changing rooms, which looked dirty. Sales assistants were helpful when asked to locate specific items, but hard to track down on the shop floor; at one point three of them were standing around in the nearly empty changing rooms.


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