After a season-long break H&M has signaled that it is not quite ready to give up on its famous designer collaborations by anouncing a line with popular Parisian designer Isabel Marant for this Fall (pictured at right). The Swedish fast-fashion giant took a break on the program after an elaborately expanded collection with Maison Martin Margiela failed to catch fire with customers last season. The misstep may have taught the chain to keep the collaboration events more exclusive. The Marant collection will bow on November 14th in only 250 stores worldwide as well as through H&M's website where online shopping is available (meaning not here yet).
Like other H&M collaborators, Marant is using the opportunity to broaden her scope, offering, for the first time ever, about 25 clothing and accessory designs for men and around 30 for children aged 10-18. The retailer is taking few chances by choosing Marant, following in a tradition of mixing iconic names like Versace, Lagerfeld and Lanvin with up-and-comers or more esoteric brands like Marni and Stella McCartney, who at the time of her collaboration had just restarted her signature label. This time they have chosen a designer known for casual, trendy women's sportswear that is more wearable and accessible than what Haute Couture houses or more avant-garde designers like Margiela are known for. As the designer herself says,
“I am flattered by this collaboration. H&M works with the best designers, and this invitation is an exciting honor. I aim at creating something real – something women want to wear in their everyday lives – with a certain carefree style. I think this is very Parisian: You dress up, but don’t pay too much attention to it, and you still look sexy. The collection is infused with this kind of easiness and attitude. Everything can be combined following one’s own instincts, and my take on fashion is all about personality,”
The line should position Marant for a publicity explosion, particularly in the U.S. where her popularity is growing rapidly and she has two recently opened stores in New York and Los Angeles. If successful, which seems likely, should put H&M back in the designer collaboration game that it helped create and that fueled its early growth in the U.S. Look for information about the collection to be strategically leaked throughout the Summer. Stay tuned.