Saturday, August 16, 2008

Collaboration Cohort 02: Who did it best for H&M?

After having been away from Vancouver, B.C., Canada for a year, I came home to a pleasant surprise as Holt Renfrew (the equivalent of Nordstorm or Barneys in the States) moved their downtown base from a cooped up corner of Pacific Center to an adjoining independent four-storeys building. This made room for Holt Renfrew's old space to be filled with new shop stores such as H&M, which was originally unavailable in Vancouver. Yes, we Vancouverites used to have to suffer a 3.5-hr drive to Seattle for good shopping. It is just getting better and better now that many big American stores are finally offering shipping to Canada, and stores like H&M are finally entering the market here. Getting back to the story of partnership. How did H&M, the Swedish fast-fashion giant, keep itself globally relevant all these years? It's simple, really. With the names of Karl Lagerfeld (2004), Stella McCartney (2005), Viktor & Rolf (2006), and Roberto Cavalli (2007) in H&M's history of annual designer collaboration, it is no wonder people keep going back for more affordable H&M fashion. (See pictures after the jump.)

Upcoming this year, H&M will be joining hands with Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo in making an avant-garde collection for the first time. Rei Kawakubo has been one of the most prominent mavericks that have been experimenting with and defining Japanese fashion since 1969. Her label, Comme des Garcons (French meaning "like boys"), has collaborated with other big names including Louis Vuitton, Levi's, Speedo, Nike, Lacoste, and Chrome Hearts, in the past. As usual, the Comme des Garcons collection at H&M will hit the worldwide market in early November, and this time, it will correspond with the opening of H&M's first stores in Tokyo, Japan: 10,000-sqft store in Ginza and 16,000-sqft in Harajuku. One of the unconventional things Kawakubo did for fashion was to create a line of unisex fragrances. And this will be one of the items in the slated H&M collection, which will also include accessories and fashion for women, men, and children. If Comme des Garcons style is best described as "unpredictable", can you imagine what the upcoming H&M collection will look like?

See Comme des Garcons collections on
Also, try to catch one of Comme des Garcons' guerilla stores in person before they evanescence.

Pictures of previous H&M collaborations

Karl Lagerfeld (2004)
Stella McCartney (2005)

Viktor & Rolf (2006)

Roberto Cavalli (2007)

Tell us who you think did it best for H&M! Leave comments.

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