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Madonna Hits H&M: The Un-Frenzy

Madonna1_2Madonna arrived at H&M today. No, not the superstar herself, but her heavily hyped clothing collaboration, M by Madonna, and those of you expecting a Lagerfeld/McCartney/Viktor&Rolf style feeding frenzy may be a little disappointed. Not that there was total disinterest either, but rather a healthy bunch of enthusiastic shoppers, indicating that the line will be a success, if not a worldwide phenomenon.This could be seen as an indication that a celebrity seal of approval mixed with aggressive advertising can encourage customers to come in and shop, but it takes designer credibility to create mass hysteria. As for the goods, there are some nice looking items, and some that look a little cheap, much like H&M's typical offerings. In fact, Madonna "collaborated" with the company's head of design, Margaretha van den Bosch, to design the line which would probably explain the collection's hyper-commercial direction. It looks like a nice bridge line designed to sell to the typical H&M customer, not someone who visits only when there is a special designer collaboration, which is why it will be available in every one of the company's stores. Aside from the label there's not much here that really screams "Madonna", at least not the way a cone bra or a mesh crop top with fingerless gloves and a crucifix would.

Madonna2 Perhaps this reflects Madonna's current, more sedate style, but it's not so much fun, unless you count the turbans, which are more unintentionally funny than fun. (Yeah, we know all about the Prada turbans, but really, come on!)
What's good here? Lots of the separates, and some great basic items for the season like a wide patent leather belt and a simple streamlined clutch bag. Most things come in either black, white or cream. The sunglasses were being snapped up as soon as workers could put them out, even though at $34.50, they are about three times as much as H&M's usual throwaway shades. A leather trench in black or white looked much richer than its $298 price tag. What's not so good? The aforementioned turbans, and some of the dress fabrics look as cheap as they are. A pump in patent with a chunky high heel looks ordinary, which is not an adjective one would expect to associate with Madonna. A white and gold beaded cocktail dress frankly looked like something from one of the seedier blocks of 14th street, but that didn't stop people from snapping it up at $198. H&M certainly could have done worse. The line will probably provide lots of people with stylish, well-priced workwear, but if it you are looking for more exciting fashion at a bargain price, keep an eye out for UNIQLO's Designer Invitation Project, which has great clothes coming all season.


it might be worth mentioning that the previous designer collections were only available at flagship stores. this "M" collection is available at every H&M store, which would certainly eliminate the need for any real frenzy.

i want my madonna with a cigar and a gold tooth!

Madonna didn't exactly sell out in Boston either, but I got one of those turbans (for my grandmother) and the disco-scarf. The prints and cuts looked pretty good...but the fabrics were horrible! In the back racks were the M tracksuits - for $10. Another disappointing experience with Madonna at H&M.

I gotta say that everything I've ever purchased at H & M has held up shockingly well through multiple, indifferent machine washings. The one sweater I bought a Uniqlo, however, I never even had a chance to wash. Not only was the "merino" wool paper thin but the side seams simply disintegrated and the whole thing unravelled after about 5 wears. Designer Invitation Project or not, I'm not going back.

Perhaps it is because they are both ugly and expensive? And that the media did a great job of letting us know that before we wasted our times lining up at the stores?

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