Today Is Balmain x H&M Day
Brace Yourselves


In case you haven't heard, there's this Balmain collaboration with H&M that arrives in stores today.
Well, honestly, if you aren't reading this before lunchtime, it has probably mostly departed H&M stores by now.
In a season that has been marked by some pretty impressive collaborations from the likes of Lemaire, Carine Roitfeld and Adam Lippes to name a few, this one is the grand finale.
From what we have been able to gather, the glitzy/sexy designer collaborations like Versace and Roberto Cavalli have been the fastest sellers for H&M, and Balmain is right in that wheelhouse, so the reasonable expectation is pandemonium when the doors open today. Expectations are high all around which is probably why this collection has some of the chain's strictest return rules. Reports from last nights VIP shopping session tell us that the privileged few ransacked the collections, so we can only imagine what the masses who have been waiting outside the stores since yesterday will do. 
This particular collection seems like it has been promoted more heavily than any previous H&M collaborations, so, honestly, we are a little tired of seeing pictures of it by now, but if you are an eager Balmain fan who has been anticipating this for months, we hope you find all the pieces you wanted to get.


Watch Tomorrow's Balmain x H&M Launch Event On Periscope
. . . Of Course

The Balmain x H&M promotional machine will kick into high gear tomorrow night at 23 Wall Street when the chain and designer Olivier Roustieng will throw what is expected to be a glittery, celebrity studded runway show. Of course, it would make sense to live-stream the event on the internet and it will be.
On your phone.
The event will be streaming through Periscope, mainly because it is the new thing that every likes to talk about. Is it better than a regular live-stream on your laptop or tablet? Not really, but the show should be entertaining with all the new supermodels, so it's worth giving it a shot, and perhaps a more polished video will show up online if your tolerance for extended, shaky hand-held video streaming is as low as ours is. If you are unfamiliar with the app, just download it to your phone (it's not available for iPads, unfortunately), follow H&M and wait for the alert sometime tomorrow evening. The line launches on November 5th and, realistically, you should probably start camping out outside the store right about now.


The Balmain x H&M Lookbook Shows Olivier Roustieng's Greatest Hits

The Balmain x H&M lookbook images have officially hit the web a couple of weeks earlier than we would have predicted, probably as a result of an unexpected leak several days ago  that was probably the fault of H&M's webmasters. Anyway, the looks are out, as much like the majority of H&M's previous designer collaborations, the collection is essentially a compilation of designer Olivier Roustieng's strongest signature looks over the past few years.
Graphic black and white? Check.
Jewel toned satin? Check.
Brass buttoned military coats? Check
Embroidery encrusted minidresses? Check..and so on.
That's a good thing for Balmain fans, and generally, it's also a recipe for a sellout launch on November 5th. Maison Margiela proved that H&M's designer collaboration customers prefer glitz and glamor over cerebral intellectual looks, and Balmain is providing sparkle and shine in generous doses.
Though a full price appears not to have been released, some prices have trickled down so we know that the biker pants in faux leather will be $99, the black and gold ankle sandals will be $199 and the thigh-high suede boots will be $349. The most expensive pieces appears to be the black and white embroidered jacket for $549 and the fuchsia beaded dress for $499, which is really pushing the boundaries of H&M's pricing for these lines, but it seems that there is little price resistance for these collaborations.
After the jump, have a look at the complete lookbook for men and women.


The Balmain x H&M Lookbook Shows Olivier Roustieng's Greatest Hits" »


Rodarte To Team With & Other Stories Next Spring

With the chain's second New York store set to open on Fifth Avenue in a couple of weeks, H&M-owned retailer & Other Stories is confirming its position as the quirky new contemporary chain to watch with an announcement that it is collaborating with the Rodarte label designed by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy for a capsule collection to launch in Spring 2016. It will be the chain's 16th designer collaboration, and the Mulleavy sisters' third team-up with a retailer to reach a broader audience. WWD reports that the collection will range from $29 for tights to $325 for a sequined dress. Though images of the collection have been kept under wraps, one exclusive teaser look at the line debuted on featuring some crystal studded tights and a mismatched pair of chunky, sparkly high-heeled sandals. The collection will include accessories and shoes as well as ready-to-wear.
“Through this special collaboration with & Other Stories, we are excited to translate the Rodarte narrative into a new environment. [The unique positioning] of & Other Stories in the fashion landscape has allowed us to create a truly special collection,” say the Mulleavy sisters in a statement released by the chain. The sisters got their first taste of collaboration with a capsule for Target several years ago, and then launched a more wide-ranging Rodarte collection with Opening Ceremony a few years later that looked like a stab at forging a more commercially lucrative future for the company. That line was discontinued after a couple of seasons, but it looks like & Other Stories might offer a better price point for the label to make more of an impact with a less expensive collection.


Uniqlo And Lemaire Will Be Replenished With Re-Orders For The Holiday Season

The launch of Uniqlo's collaboration line with Lemaire exceeded everyone's expectations last Friday with items selling out within minutes of the store openings and within a few hours online. The lines of shoppers throughout the day (pictured above) even took executives with the highest expectations by surprise.The only disappointment came from customers who might have presumed that the chain would have made enough product to keep stores in stock for at least a few weeks.
At this point, there are only a few pieces left available, but there's hope for customers who missed out. The chain has ordered new production runs of the debut Uniqlo and Lemaire collection to be in stores in time for Holiday shopping.
While a Spring collection in collaboration with designers Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-linh Tran has already been announced —and will hopefully be produced in quantities great enough to avoid instant sell-out— Uniqlo executives clearly recognized that they underestimated the demand for the launch and have moved to correct the situation while desire for the collection still runs high. "It was a global phenomenon," Uniqlo's director of merchandising Justin Kerr told WWD, "We were all very excited and wanted to see, ‘How do we keep the momentum going not only with the next collection but also chasing the fall collection as we move into the holidays?’ That was something we wanted to achieve very quickly and Uniqlo’s fantastic operation allows us to have that flexibility.”
Even hugely popular collections have a few pieces that fail to attract customers, but this collaboration yielded no "dogs" as they are often called in the retail industry. "Usually, you have winners and losers," Kerr reports, "With this one, really the whole collection was well-received. There were no disappointments. There were only pleasant surprises of things that even outpaced our high expectations.” Hopefully, along with replenishment deliveries, this means that we will see more Uniqlo and Lemaire beyond next season. In the meantime, we'll be keeping an eye out in the coming weeks for the collection to make its way back into stores.

Uniqlo and Lemaire Have a Winning Weekend Launch (WWD)


Did You Get Anything From
Uniqlo and Lemaire?
Too Late Now.

As predicted, eager shoppers were lined up early this morning outside the city's Uniqlo branches to get  first pick of the highly anticipated Uniqlo and Lemaire collaboration line. Whoever they were, they succeeded in denuding the store's shelves and racks of much of the collection.
Because The Shophound had things to do in the early AM (like sleeping) we decided to check things out a few hours later in the early afternoon. We started at one of the only stores in America to have the complete collection, the 34th Street flagship (pictured above and below) where we found not much left for men or women. The only category that seemed to have any breadth of product left was outerwear, but by the time we got to the store. store staff was scrambling to fill in the empty shelves and racks with other merchandise. Some of the sweatpants and cotton chinos were also available, but the standout knitwear was nowhere to be seen, and the disarray caused by ravenous shoppers was only beginning to be tidied up.
Then it was on to the other store slated to carry the full selection, the Fifth Avenue flagship, where we found more stuff, but still some chaos. Customers were no longer waiting outside, but were still lined up around the showcase shop at the top of the escalators that housed the new collection (pictured below). Inside, racks were packed with more outerwear, and some more of the basic separates, Again, much of the knitwear, particularly the cashmeres, were sold out, but the women's sweaters with the concentric square patterns were still available as well as some of the merino styles. As at 34th Street, however, most of the other styles were equally ransacked with maybe one or two odd pieces lingering. Racks set outside the glass enclosed shop featuring the line were also still swarming with shoppers.
So clearly, the line can be called a hit. Don't bother trying to shop online. Most of it is already sold out. The good news is that everyone who missed out will now be able to better prepare for the next season's offerings, as the line has been promised to go for at least a few more seasons. Uniqlo's next collaboration set for launch is the Carine Roitfeld capsule collection, set launch at the end of this month and already getting rave reviews from editors who previewed to this week in Paris. Again, distribution will be limited to only four stores in the U.S. including the Beverly Center unit in Los Angeles, SoHo, Fifth Avenue and select items only at the 34th Street Store. Roitfeld fangirls should be warned. Uniqlo looks like it is on a roll this season.


Adam Lippes x Target, Uniqlo And Lemaire & Gap x GQ's Best New Menswear Designers In America All Hit Stores This Week

In a particularly bountiful season for designer collaborations, this is a big week for a good portion of this fall's most anticipated collections. Adam Lippes for Target, Gap x GQ's Best New Menswear Designers in America 2015 (pictured above) and Uniqlo and Lemaire all arrive on store racks this week. Let's review them below so you can prepare yourselves for a potential stampede to the mall.

ADAM-LIPPES-x-TargetFirst up is Adam Lippes's plaid infused line for Target which dropped yesterday morning in stores and online. Oddly, it has not caused the kind of excitement that some of the popular chain's other collabs have. Perhaps it is because it is only a component of Target's larger tartan-promotion for the fall season, or maybe it is just because the chain hasn't really invested in the same level of advertising for it as they have for other past collaborations —seen any TV ads?. Regardless, it looks great in photos and a few pieces appear to have already sold out online. The collection includes both men's and women's apparel including plus sizes as well as accessories and items for the home and even pets. It has a luxe, casual feeling, and it looks like a sleeper, so don't put off an in-store visit.

Over the past four years, Gap x GQ's Best New Menswear Designers in America has become one of the most highly anticipated collaborations of the year thanks to some stylish, fast-shopping men who cleared the racks of last year's crop in record time. It officially drops tomorrow, but if you text "GQ" to 36888 to sign up, then you can shop online starting right now. You will want the head start. This year's group of official up-and-comers- includes NSF, The Hill-Side, David Hart and STAMPD, each one filling its own separate niche in the range of men's fashion. Some potential fast sellers (pictured above) include NSF's washed leather hoodie with sherpa lining for $450, STAMPD's black leather backpack with a white stripe for $195, master tailor David Hast's tweed sport coat and trousers for $150 and $98 respectively, and the Hill-Side's quilted camo-print bomber for $130. There are tons of great items to be had from each designer, and online shopping is recommended for the best selection. We don't have an official list of NYC stores, but typically, the Gap locations with the best selections are the Fifth Avenue flagship, which usually devotes the little side-store to the collaboration, the Flatiron location on lower Fifth Avenue, The Herald Square and Times Square stores and the Upper West Side location near Lincoln Square. As always, shop early for this one.

Finally, Uniqlo and Lemaire (above) will be released online and in stores this Friday October 2nd. This luxurious looking collaboration for men and women has been generating an enormous amount of online anticipation, particularly for those who have been waiting for a sophisticated follow up to the chain's much loved +J collection. The knitwear pieces for men and women look especially enticing, but the stylish basics throughout the line all look like winners. While a fraction of the collection will be available in every Uniqlo store, only a very select group of stores worldwide will have the complete line in stock including the Fifth Avenue Flagship and West 34th Street locations exclusively in the entire United States. Chicago shoppers will also have the complete line at their upcoming store on Michigan Avenue, but not until it opens later this month. As far as we know, those stores will have regular hours on Friday, but look for the lines outside the doors that we used to see on the +J launch days of years past when the SoHo Uniqlo was the only one in America.

Of course, there are still big collaborations coming from Carine Roitfeld and Uniqlo and, probably the 800 pound gorilla of the season, H&M x Balmain coming in late October and mid-November, so shoppers may want to pace themselves, but the season is getting off to a strong start right now. Plan carefully.


See The UNIQLO x Carine Roitfeld Campaign by Steven Meisel Including U.S. Prices

We have been focusing so much of our attention on the upcoming Uniqlo and Lemaire collaboration that we almost forgot about the other big team-up the Japanese mega-chain is debuting this Fall —the one with superstylist and editor, Carine Roitfeld. The line's ad campaign images leaked late last week on the blogs, DesignScene and Fashion Gone Rogue, and feature model Lexi Boling photographed by Steven Meisel and styled by La Roitfeld herself reflecting her own personal style right down to the tousled side parted hair and signature smoky eyes. Prices for the items pictured range from $49.90 for a faux leather shirt to $199.90 for a wool Chester coat. As you can see above and after the jump in the five images that have surfaced, Roitfeld's sleek, urbane and body conscious style has been translated intact. You can almost smell a faint race of cigarette smoke just by looking at them. The line officially drops on October 29th, though an exact store listing is not yet available (the line's dedicated web page is not yet activated). We'll keep an eye out for more details for all those wannabe louche Parisiennes out there who are no doubt waiting with mascara wands at the ready.

All images by Steven Meisel for Uniqlo


See The UNIQLO x Carine Roitfeld Campaign by Steven Meisel Including U.S. Prices" »


APPLE WATCH Meets HERMÈS For Its First Collaboration — Updated With Details

's new product announcement event is still going on as we type this, but the biggest fashion news for the tech giant was pushed to the front of the agenda as its first Apple Watch collaboration was announced with none other than the most luxe of the luxe, Hermès.
Is that exclusive enough for you?
This was a development that was conspicuously not bandied about by the tech blogs which have been breathlessly reporting on rumored product developments for the past few weeks (giant iPad Pro with high tech pencil stylus confirmed), so it was a genuine surprise.
The Apple Watch Hermès will be available in October at select retailers. it comes with a classic single strap, signature double tour (see image above) or wider cuff strap, all with a customized Hermès watch face. Perhaps this is the push that was needed to get the Apple Watch into real luxury players like Barneys and Neiman Marcus. So far we have no price info yet for the watches, but stay tuned. We will update as soon as more information is released.

Now that Apple has updated the Apple Watch page, we can offer some more specific details about the new collaboration.
For starters, these are emphatically not separate bands for individual purchase as has been reported by some outlets, but only sold with Apple Watches in polished stainless steel and a custom Hermès face that will only be available on these models. Here are the prices for the three styles:

Double Tour in 38mm with four band colors: Fauve, Etain, Capucine, and Bleu Jean
- $1,250
Single Tour in 38 or 42mm with Fauve or Noir bands. Capucine band only in 38mm
- $1,100 and up
Cuff in 42mm with a Fauve band
- $1,500

The Cuff style has a cut-out in the back of the watch to allow the heart rate sensor to be in contact with the wrist. So far, we do not know if versions of the band can also be purchased with the gold Apple Watch Edition, but it is not listed as an option on the site.
As for stores that will be carrying the watch next month, there are only 17 North American retail outlets listed including Apple Stores in Eaton Center and Yorkdale in Toronto, Aventura and Miami Beach in Florida, The Grove in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Santa Monica. Hermès boutiques to be selling the watch include Beverly Hills, Miami and San Francisco. The only third party retailer listed so far is Maxfield in Los Angeles. In New York, the watches will be available only at Hermès on Madison Avenue and the Apple Stores on Fifth Avenue, Prince Street in SoHo and Broadway on the Upper West Side.

After the jump, click to enlarge some official images of the three styles


Continue reading "WATCH WATCH:

APPLE WATCH Meets HERMÈS For Its First Collaboration — Updated With Details" »


The Complete UNIQLO and LEMAIRE Collection Will Be Exclusive To Only Two New York Stores

Everything you need to know about the upcoming UNIQLO and LEMAIRE collaboration line short of trying on the clothes themselves hit the web yesterday as the Japanese mega chain activated the collection's dedicated web page including price lists and a complete lookbook for everyone to preview. We'll get to the clothes in a minute, but the big news for New Yorkers is that the complete collection for men and women will launch on October 2nd in only two U.S. stores as well as online. Lucky for us, those stores are the two flagships on Fifth Avenue and on 34th Street. Selected items from the collaboration will be distributed to all Uniqlo locations, but from what we can gather they will only comprise about a quarter to a third of the entire offering. One more store, the Chicago unit set to open later in October, will also have the complete collection, but that's it, at least for this round of the project. Sorry, West Coasters.
This all means that the launch in October may recall the +J launches of years past, before we had multiple Uniqlo branches and e-commerce, and eager shoppers would line up outside the single SoHo flagship store to get the best pieces before they sold out —and you can expect some things to sell out quickly from this upcoming collaboration too.
Lemaire is not quite as well known as Jil Sander was when she unexpectedly joined forces with the mass retailer to create the +J line, but now that the collection has been revealed in its entirety —at least in photos— we can see that it was created for the same customer looking for something soigné and sophisticated at mass chain prices. If Lemaire and Uniqlo looks as good in person as it does in the lookbook photos, then they should have another hit on their hands. The prices range from $24.90 for casual knit pieces to $199.90 for a wool and cashmere men's coat. Most items are priced well under $100, with outerwear and cashmere knits comprising the most expensive pieces. The line, like the main Lemaire label, is less about trendy flash than luxury basics with an abundance of merino wool knits to be layered for practicality. Longer, flared skirts, draped tunic sweaters and special pieces like the asymmetrical cape (pictured above, right) show that the chain is not afraid of making a pitch to its more mature female customers, a strategy that files in the face of most millennial-obsessed fast fashion chains. For men (pictured below), there are what appear to be looser fitting shirts and easy, soft trousers that are right in step with the looser, more forgiving silhouettes that have surfaced in the most recent men's designer collections. With the launch just over five weeks away, eager New York shoppers would do well to go online, pick their favorite items and plan to be at either the Fifth Avenue or 34th Stores as early as possible.