By 8 a.m. in London this morning, over 150 people were impatiently waiting for H&M's flagship store on Oxford Circus to open — though it wouldn't do so for another hour. Those at the front of line had waited overnight (since 9 p.m., to be exact). The first two spots were occupied by a pair of American students on a semester abroad who professed to be desperate for the collection's bright printed leggings.
A few blocks away at the Regent Street store, another equally long line covered the whole sidewalk. (Londoners on their walk to work were characteristically grumpy about this and pushed their way through the crowds, grumbling and causing a few minor scuffles.) At around 8:15 a.m., a bright pink carpet (to match the men's suit and shoes combo, naturally) was rolled out for the arrival of Donatella Versace herself, scheduled for an in-store appearance for her collection's debut. Amazingly, Donatella actually arrived early, and was dressed head-to-toe in items from the new line: a gold-embellished black leather coat, a pink minidress, black heels, and a gold-studded black handbag.
The crowds in line went wild — even an older man who'd previously been rolling his eyes about it all, having been sent to wait by his granddaughters. Donatella posed for photos on the pink carpet, then walked around along the roadside to wave at all the regular-people-turned-screaming-fans. But it wasn't long before security whisked her indoors, where she waited until the official 9 a.m. opening and did a tightly controlled meet-and-greet with previously approved press.
Shoppers had been given wristbands (brightly colored ones, of course) to determine where they'd be shopping — the men's and womenswear sections were roped off separately. A ten-minute limit was also mandated, so that each group of shoppers would only have that long to make their selections. (Because, you know, they weren't crazed enough already.)
At 9 a.m. back at the Oxford Circus store, wristbands for all the time slots through 12:30 p.m. had been given out for shopping in the women's space, but there was no wait at all for the menswear collection. Brave H&M employees were replenishing stock as often as possible, but even with the time limits in place (and vague limits on the quantity any one shopper could grab madly during their spree), the scene was chaotic. Bestsellers from the men's pieces included the silky-sleeved bomber jacket Kanye wore to perform at the Victoria's Secret fashion show last week, as well as the patterned boxer briefs. In the women's section, everything sold fast. No one fought outright like they did in Shanghai, but there was lots of side-eyed glaring, and someone stood on my foot when they thought I wanted one of the last chunky floral rings on display.
— As told to Alex Rees
Most Viewed Stories
‘Truly Ugly Guy With Glasses’ Is Europe’s Most Virile Man
American Apparel Files for Bankruptcy
Guess What? Americans Love Planned Parenthood
Witness a Photographer’s Affair With Los Angeles
It’s Harder to Be Thin Than It Was in the ’80s
Céline’s Woman-Friendly Triumph
Ellie Kemper Thinks Kimmy Schmidt Would Fit in Well in Greenpoint
From Up Close, Raf Simons’s Vision for Dior Is Clear
Why Do I Jerk Awake Right As I’m Falling Asleep?
This Santa Monica Loft Is a Neon Escape From New York Winters
From Our Partners
'Scream Queens' Parodies Taylor Swift In New Halloween Episode
Twitter Users Are (Mostly) Against Increasing Character Limit
The Fashion Spot
10 Genius Mascara Hacks That Will Change Your Life
What Makes American Men So Dangerous?
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Shopping FeaturesOutfit of the Week: A Smart Way to Layer Basics
One more way to make weekdays easier.Cool Cocktail Dresses Inspired by the Philippines
From the up-and-comers behind Mestiza.Treat-Yourself Friday: A Utilitarian Leather Jacket
Perfect for the unpredictable weather.38 Pairs of Boots to Buy This Fall
Because pedicure season is finally over.41 Downright-Gorgeous New Pieces for Your Home
From kingly bedding to froggy rugs to Georg Jensen glass.5 Discerning New Yorkers on Their Favorite Finds for the Home
Project Runway’s Tim Gunn, celebrity stylist June Ambrose, and more choose the city’s finest boutiques, furniture restorers, specialty shops, designers, and cleaners.Marni’s Fabulously Shaggy Winter Coats Are Here
Fluffy and fantastic.18 of the Best Fall Jackets Under $300
Welcome to layering season.Cheap Thrill: COS’s Wide-Leg Pants
A versatile transition piece.Outfit of the Week: Light Fall Layers
No jacket needed.
The best work-friendly pieces, the perfect trench, and everything else you need right now.Treat Yourself Friday: A Quirky Bucket Bag
A playful take on the trend.Balenciaga’s New Shoes Are a ’90s Dream
Angela Chase would approve.Altuzarra’s First Bags Debut at Barneys New York
Introducing the Ghianda collection.115 Ways to Scream ‘Status’
The thing to have right now if you’re an Italian chef, an Upper East Side lady, a leather daddy, or a Dalton senior. (We know because we asked.)Cheap Thrill: Kenzo’s Flirty Pleated Skirt
A go-with-everything skirt on sale.Outfit of the Week: A Work-Friendly Combo
The ideal pieces to wear as we head into fall.Winter Doomsday Preppers: This Coat Is for You
Warm, fuzzy, and a street-style hit.Spring 2016 Runway Trends to Buy Now
Who wants to wait until next year?The Start-up Helping You Cash In on Designer Bags
So you don't have the hassle of another consignment store.