Another November, another H&M collaboration. And if that sounds a little trite, then it’s not meant to. It simply sums up how the designer hook-up has become as easy to ink in the diary as fashion weeks and Christmas. The H&M machine has collaborating down to a t. There are carefully timed rumours and announcements, a drip drip release of teaser imagery, cut-outs and lookbooks before momentum builds with a big party and finally, the actual collection release.
If we’d begun to think we could set our clocks by this plan of action then Alexander Wang’s H&M offering has spiced up proceedings. First up, because it ushered in the Instagram debut of the designer for whom the platform was surely invented? And then there was a rather epic catwalk show meets party in NY at which Missy Elliot performed. I only realised quite how different Wang’s version of an H&M collaboration would be when I went along to see the collection in the showroom the day after that New York extravaganza. Firstly, everything was black apart from if it was white. Sometimes it had smudged into grey, but barely. Your average high street collection will require some colour and bling so it’s faithfully Wang-ish to stick to monotones. Upon touching the clothes, it was clear that there was serious ambition in the fabrications. Everything from tops and mini skirts to bags and boots were made from scuba-ish neoprene or high-tech laser cut fabrics or super-shiny leather. This is NOT a collection which is going to crumple on the floor; everything is stiff and futuristic. In fact, that showroom felt more like a display by a conceptual sportswear brand than a high street megagiant.
As you’ll see from our edit below, there’s barely any chance to go under the radar with this collection; almost every item is emblazoned with the designer’s name. But there are some brilliant, wardrobe building staple pieces which come without the name tag. See the leather track pants with motorbike knee patches, the big belted, padded coat (which also has a menswear equivalent) which is a must if you’re after new ski gear and the laser-cut LBD which promises to be one of the most wanted items of tomorrow’s inevitable shopping frenzy.
The looks are styled inside a gymnasium and take on a similar vibe to Wang’s recent own brand and Balenciaga lookbooks, especially those topped off with a subversive Wang-branded beanie. In fact, the accessories are some of the most desirable items. They’re not you’re run of the mill bags and shoes but include goggles, yoga mats, water bottles and boxing gloves; it’s like Sports Direct gone haute. It’s a collection made for a clubbing, gym fanatic health goth. And we like it. Here’s the edit of what to hone in on tomorrow…
All images courtesy of H&M.