Last night in Paris, H&M threw the street party to end all street parties — to celebrate the launch of the Isabel Marant x H&M collaboration. The Tennis Club in the 15th arrondissement was transformed into the Paris city scene with bars, street vendors, a nightclub, épecerie, and an old-school brasserie, where you could actually sit and waiters would take your order. (Those high-street budgets!)
There was also an H&M pop-up store so those lucky enough to be invited could be the first to buy the clothes. Of course, there was a long line to get into the store (much longer than the one for the bar, in fact), but guests happily joined the scrum. “It’s actually like queuing for H&M,” someone next to me marveled. Only it wasn’t, because we were all plied with Champagne while Melle Mel from Grandmaster Flash, along with Wonder Mike and Master Gee from the Sugarhill Gang, were entertaining us.
Inside, the store was mayhem as elated shoppers hauled piles of clothes to the cash registers. The tills rang up 2,000 euro–plus purchases as Wonder Mike and Master Gee hollered from the stage in the main room, “Make money money, make money money!”
The collaboration itself offers shoppers a taste of Marant’s greatest hits: white skinny jeans, brightly colotired woven knits, ruched tie-dye-printed dresses, as well as her winning basic sweaters and tees. “I wanted it to represent the essence of my style, to be personal,” said Marant, who disregarded the delegated fumoir and nonchalantly puffed on a cigarette inside while giving interviews. “I selected the pieces using my own closet as a template — the iconic Marant pieces that I own and wear the most are all there.”
The designer, with her fabulous silver hair and boyish stance, was the consummate of Parisian cool in her designs. But there was also an impressive army of mini-Marants in tow — models, countless Gallic beauties, as well as actresses Freida Pinto and January Jones, all wearing the collection.
Marant also designed menswear for the first time for this collaboration and said she was looking forward to seeing her wares on the broader population. “It feels right because I can share my vision with a new and wider audience. There was no fear of overexposure, or selling out: I am an optimist, and simply saw the sharing as a unique opportunity.”
Come November 14, when the collaboration arrives in stores, there will be tens of thousands of real women wanting her things. And plenty of men probably, too.
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