H&M: The collaborative years

H&M has become king of the collaboration.
There have been 11 guest-designer collaborations so far and Marni will be the 12th,
launching on March 8th next year in 260 H&M stores.
Despite the fact most of H&M's customers won't know who, or what Marni is,
(and may need redirecting to Armani)
 the tie-up will see H&M arousing yet another night-camping fashion troope, with their crazy little hearts set on being first to Ebay with their finds.
Italian label Marni is best known for it's clashing acid-trip prints, colour blocking and quirky, retro silhouettes. Personally I'm not a fan, but plenty are, with the label selling in sixteen countries and notching up sales of about $100m a year. There is no doubt the Marni collaboration will be as frenzy inducing as the others, and here's a look back at them all.

Karl Lagerfeld for H&M 2004


If one man is king of the collaboration it's Karl Lagerfeld. The designer has put his name on everything from Coke bottles to teddy bears - infact his most recently collaboration - a tie up with US department store Macy's was announced recently. Karl was the first designer to tie-up with H&M, a pioneer of the brave new collaborative world where high street meets high fashion.
Stella McCartney for H&M 2005


Stella was up next, and the collection went into 400 stores (more than Marni is destined for) and sold out worldwide. The designer put together 40 pieces for her first collaborative range and the partnership did her no harm, Stella said herself:
  "[it's] a fantastic way of reaching a wider female audience."

Viktor & Rolf for H&M 2006.


Viktor & Rolf decided to do something for the boys and the girls and launched a range for each category. The women's puffskirt trench coat was the most coveted piece in the collection. The avent garde pair saw the collaboration as a libertarian pursuit:
”If Haute couture is the most sublime form of fashion, H&M is fashion at its most democratic." They said at the time.
Roberto Cavalli for H&M 2007


Roberto just loves it doesn't he.
Of course the collection was drenched in leopard print, sequins and gold  - high octane glamour at it's best and one of the most commercial collaborations to date.


 Comme des Garcons 2008


Following the commercial success of the Cavalli collection, H&M looked to Japanese cult label Comme des Garcon to keep the concept fresh. The collection was true to the designer brands roots, with intelligent pattern cutting and playful proportions.


Matthew Williamson for H&M 2009


The Matthew Williamson collection was one of the most successful, and the blue tonic suit and peacock print dress were coveted items in this collection. I wondered at the time how Matthew managed to secure the H&M high street deal when he was a 'Designer at Debenhams' and had been since 2002. It was beautifully executed and truely offered customers an insight into his mainline design aesthetic.


 Jimmy Choo for H&M 2009


Shoes are very expensive to make (mainly due to the last) which is why only a few labels and retailers do them well. For that reason this guest designer collaboration was a disappointment with the shoes not representing the high-end nature of the Jimmy Choo mainline. But thousands still queued, and stampeeds were reported at H&M stores across Europe so what do I know.



Sonia Rykiel for H&M 2009


This was a cute collection of knitwear which was sold in 1,500 H&M stores worldwide and in Sonia Rykiel boutiques - a first for any H&M collaboration.


Lanvin for H&M 2010


Was it Alber Elbaz' collection, the pr campaign, or the price of the product? Whatever it was, shoppers went wild for the Lanvin for H&M collection. Ebay was flooded with pieces and the collection - at 60 pieces - felt bigger than usual. It managed to appeal to the younger H&M fan, and to the high-fashion fan, who bought into a little piece of the French fashion house's 145 year old heritage.


Versace for H&M 2012


It's the latest and one of the greatest. Just as fabulously garish vintage Versace was making a comeback, H&M unveild it's collaboration with the label. Not for the faint-hearted, The Very Best of Versace fuses old school Gianni-esque creations with the contemporary handwriting of Versus and Donatella. The collection sold out on the day of launch and here's a video interview giving insight into the creation of the collaboration:




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