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Today is like Christmas and the Barneys warehouse sale and a bizarro version of the Fourth of July in which the British won the Revolutionary War but brought us adorable liberty prints at fairly reasonably prices—all rolled into one. That's right: Topshop, after endless delays, is finally opening on Broadway in Soho, and we'll be documenting the scene all day long. First up: The line to actually enter the store.
8:30am: No one is here yet. The line is pretty short. I expected it to be intense already, but there's only 27 people in line in front of me, and they're all ladies in their late teens or early twenties. Everybody already has their free totes because the truck is parked nearby.
They have a big setup with media in the mouth of the store, and there's tons of security. There's a big shade they can pull down with a Union Jack on it, and there's a box in front of it—probably Kate Moss's podium, although the ribbon-cutting isn't until 11, so we assume Kate is still sleeping. The scene is not very exciting yet, but there is a woman wearing a bowler hat, gray skinny jeans, and tasseled loafers (how English!) handing out giftcards, bottled water and cheese biscuits.
8:40am: Ladies and gentlemen, we have a man in line! He is wearing zip-up ankle boots, harem pants, and futuristic sunglasses and is carrying a large leather manbag, all in black.
8:52am: Since I got here about six people have showed up behind me. It's still quiet. Everybody who's gotten giftcards has wound up with $25—haven't seen anyone get $500, but the day is young. Madewell has a big sign out welcoming their new neighbors and is open right now, pre-9am, just in case any of the Topshop fans want to stop by. All the women working here are dressed like Pete Doherty in skinny jeans and bowler hats. And there are crews going up and down the line filming people, but nobody wants to be interviewed because they don't want their bosses to find out they're here.
8:59am: I was counting on the Madewell coffee. Where is it?
9:00am: They just made the campers at the front yell "We love Topshop!" for the cameras.
9:08am: There's at least one more man in line now, out of a line of about 100 people. And the Madewell coffee cart just arrived.
9:18am: Glitch! The Madewell cart is here, but they are still waiting on actual coffee. It's getting dire. Meanwhile, up front, girls are filling out Style.com releases. They must be filming.
9:20am: Other bloggers have arrived, along with a guy dressed as Waldo.
9:36am: Kate has arrived, apparently. Didn't hear any screaming, so she must have come in through the back.
9:39am: The TopMan contingent has arrived. They are all wearing pegged jeans, straw hats, and those Union Jack shirts, and they all have on loafers with no socks. Also, every single one has a British accent.
9:51am: They're herding shoppers, including me, into a barricaded area. Excitement!
10:09am: Sir Phillip Green is standing across the street watching it all with a bunch of suits. He's wearing a black suit and has gray, shellacked, wavy hair and an unbuttoned shirt with an enormous collar.
10:14am: A woman just got on the microphone. She's screaming in a British accent about Topshop, trying to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Those girls at the front of the line who were doing their makeup, by the way, are from England. They flew here to be first in line at the opening of a store they already have in their own country.
10:20am: The woman gave up. Apparently this crowd is just not as enthusiastic as it's supposed to be.
10:35am: The Topshop vespa team has arrived! They're all wearing little jackets. (Woman next to me: "The British are so weird.") Waldo update: He keeps changing places in line. Everyone wants to interview him, but he's just standing around basking in the attention and looking quirky.
10:40am: A crowd of rubberneckers has gathered across the street. They look intrigued and disgusted.
10:45am: The Topman cards only have $5 on them. Sorry, boys. In other news, the first girl in line is 19 and has been here for almost five hours, or approximately two-fifths of her lifetime.
10:50am: Microphone lady just made fun of American accents. Watch it, woman.
10:54am: Now they are screaming for Kate, "they" being Topshop employees.
10:59am: More screaming. "New York, are you ready to shop at Topshop?" Sixty seconds to go...
11:00am: WE HAVE TOPSHOP! They just cut the ribbon and tossed confetti into the air. The crowd is shouting like it's midnight on New Year's Eve in Times Square. Lots of "Kate! Kate! Kate!"
11:02am: They're letting people in while an abrasive British woman yells, "Shop! Shop! Shop!"
The British invasion continues here.