Over the last couple of years, Swedish fast fashion powerhouse H & M has begun to dabble in the world of high fashion. The retailer has done so by enlisting influencial fashion houses to lend their designs and create affordable luxury.
This collaboration with Marni brought the companies signature panelling and prints to H & M.
Lanvin brought their classic and refined look to the Swedish retailer in 2010.
Last November following a successful collaboration with Lanvin the year before, H & M went into business with legendary fashion house Versace. The partnership created a highly publicized and successful collection that brought Versace’s signature prints to ‘a mall near you’ at significantly lower price points.
This Versace x H &M jacket was a popular fixture in street fashion last year.
In lieu of the success that these collaborations continue to amount, H & M has announced Maison Martin Margiela as its next partner in crime. In an effort to speak to their audience as well as H & M’s, the high fashion brand has taken some of their successful ready to wear looks from decades past and reproduced them. The line includes a multitude of asymmetrical blazers, jackets and button downs as well as whitewashed boots and loafers, sneakers and other leather good.
The collection’s release has been hotly anticipated and was finally unveiled last week in a spectacular showcase. It features 41 pieces of menswear and was presented as an art installation in an historical warehouse in New York City’s Meatpacking District. The event was host to much celebrity fanfare including my favorite Kanye West (who has donned most of the companies high fashion collaborations) wearing a camel colored trench from the line.
It is interesting to see high fashion brands known for their exclusivity and luxury in terms of fabric and design making an effort to reach the everyday consumer. It’s a tricky balance, on one hand the company’s still need and want to appeal to their original cliental, who seek luxury as a status marker, but also want a piece of the fast fashion pie. By producing clothes for the everyday person the brands may be diluting their overall cache. If Joe Smoe can wear Maison Martin Margiela, then what makes it so special? Having said that I do think H & M and their collaborators have done a good job walking this line so far (in terms of making the clothes look expensive/true to both brands).
Here are my 6 favorite items from the MMM x H &M collection: