A history of great collaboration between designers and H&M
It became usual that H&M, one of the most powerful fast fashion giants in the world, every year announces about the new collaboration with the Big Fashion Players. Started since 2004, Karl Lagerfeld was the first, after other great designers came to the same playground to reimagine their Haute aesthetics for the high street. And like clockwork, the majority of these collections have been sold out in hours and hit the secondary market for two or three times the price of the originals.
Karl Lagerfeld x H&M, 2004
“Karl! Is it true? Is it true?” screamed a bougie type in an official advertising for Lagerfeld’s H&M collaboration. According to WWD, 1,500 to 2,000 pieces sold per hour in the Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan, with most of the range selling out in a day globally. “This was supposed to last two weeks, and it’s over in 25 minutes. I’m sorry for the clients because I like the idea that everyone could wear Lagerfeld,” the designer was really disappointed.
Stella McCartney x H&M, 2005
The designer’s penchant for creating effortlessly wearable garments was a great match for the Swedish company.
For H&M’s second designer collection, the British designer built a lineup of separates, including zippered skinny jeans, a French-cuffed white cotton shirt, and a oversize trench coat, wish surprisingly small prices. Suddenly, it hasn’t reached the same success as H&M collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld, might be because a few month before the launch, H&M was forced to pull its Kate Moss-backed campaign after news broke of her drug use.
Viktor & Rolf x H&M, 2006
Dutch design duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, known for their lavish and expensive couture pieces. The designers did serve up some kooky creations-a bow-trimmed wedding dress, though only 1,000 wedding dresses –priced around $350, particularly sweet-but for the most part they checked their quirk at the door.
Roberto Cavalli x H&M, 2007
“I am the party!” iconic quote of Roberto Cavalli. This collaboration captured the party-girl ethos and came up with the icon and still popular add picture. Of course, it wasn’t for everyone. As expected: leopard spots and zebra prints, sequins are all over, and the color palette stays in the black, white, and gold range. However, it set the beginning of pre-recession, dancing-on-the-edge-of-the-volcano time.
Comme des Garcons x H&M, 2008
Rei Kawakubo used to make collaboration with different brands. She has partnered with Converse, Supreme, Disney, Nike, and more, what made her 2008 collection for H&M feel like a one-off than a continuation of a larger CDG narrative. “For me there’s no compromise,” the designer told WWD at the time. “I do what I want, they do whatever I couldn’t do myself.” The collection was full of polka dots, which came back to popularity for SS18 season. Comme des Garcons presented the style affordable for everybody.
Jimmy Choo x H&M, 2009
At that time Jimmy Choo wasn’t necessarily the hottest Haute shoe brand on the market, but the partnership with H&M gave shoppers an opportunity to cop then-designer Tamara Mellon’s slinky stilettos a more affordable price.
Matthew Williamson x H&M, 2009
These days Williamson is not participating in Fashion Weeks anymore, but in 2009 he was a go-to designer for the gypset. His H&M collection traded the streets of Portobello Market for St. Barth’s with model Daria Werbowy posing in peacock-print caftans on sandy shores.
Sonia Rykiel x H&M, 2009/10
Suddenly, the Rykiel’s H&M collaboration hasn’t become exactly headline news. At least, the vibrant knit pieces and slinky bralettes were great gets for women, who got lucky of getting them.
Lanvin x H&M, 2010
Lanvin’s 2010 collaboration captured not only designer Alber Elbaz’s ebullient spirit but also converted his many design signatures, from voluminous ruffles to emotive jewel tones. The success was thanks to Elbaz’s openness with H&M. “I decided to give H&M our Lanvin secrets, the patterns, everything” he told Vogue’s Lynn Yaeger. “In the end, you really only have what you give away.”
Versace x H&M, 2011/12
Donatella, Donatella, Donatella! As always made her collaboration in her own image, turning the models into glamazon Donatellas clad in Versace’s signature.
The range was the celebration of color, pattern, and print, crashing H&M website within minutes of going on sale and reaching astronomical prices on the secondary market. (Even the garment bags and paper shopping bags were reselling for hundreds of dollars on eBay… It was so successful, so H&M brought it back for a second season. The best part was that Prince performed at the New York launch party.
Marni x H&M, 2012
Quirky girl love Marni, and the brand’s 2012 collaboration delivered to that demographic. All the Marni signatures were there, from graphic prints to oddball jewelry to bold swimwear. Another pro: Nothing was priced over $149.
Maison Martin Margiela x H&M, 2012
It brought fashion nerds, hype-beasts, and arty IT Girls together to shop for trompe l’oeil bodysuits and ripped jeans. It would have been a bigger deal if the fast-fashion giant had managed to partner with the brand when the house founder was still in the picture.
Isabel Marant x H&M, 2013
Marant is an expert in crafting unstudied clothes with small touches of detailing, whether it be the rope decoration on a cropped jacket or a subtle print on boyfriend jeans. For French-girl fanatics and other women looking to class up their everyday outfits, this was the collaboration to buy.
Alexander Wang x H&M, 2014
An early adopter of athleisure, Alexander Wang crafted a sporty collection of leggings, hoodies, and T-shirts in shades of white, grey, and black. That left the South of Huston set clamoring for more. Three years later, we can still catch someone wearing these great pieces!
Balmain x H&M, 2015
It’s hard to top Olivier Rousteing in the millennial wow-factor department. The Balmain designer had Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Victoria Secret Angels, and Backstreet Boys at his Balmain for H&M fashion show, turning Instagram into one black hole of #BalmainHMNation photos. But, of course, it wasn’t just the bezz that made his collection memorable. The designer took that opportunity to remake some of his most recognizable runway pieces at a lower price point, giving shoppers the feeling that they could get a piece of Balmain proper too.
Kenzo x H&M, 2016
The key print in the line is tiger stripes, which appears on everything from rollneck tops to high-waisted leggings. There is also an oversize jacket and a parka to take you into Winter and, of course, let’s not forget the black Kenzo logo gloves and the tiger-print crossbody bag. “There’s a femininity, there’s fun. There’s a tactile approach to techniques and embroideries, embellishments,” Leon said.
Erdem x H&M, 2017
Filled with the floral flourished and exquisite feminine detailing the British designer is renowned for, the collection unsurprisingly has some Victoriana-style lace blouses, ruffles, bows and floral cocktail dresses, as well as a few pleasant surprises – a sharp grey pants suit or a tweed jacket and skirt combo! Cutting his teeth for both the men’s and women’s departments for H&M, Erdem’s signature design touches bring a heavy dose of English eccentricity to the high street. And with the just-released set of lookbook images, shot by Slovakian up-and-comer Michal Pudelka, Erdem x H&M comes to life inside a genteel English country setting. “It was such a pleasure to see how Michal translated the mood of the collection and I love how we played with different elements, such as the flowers, to enhance the spirit of Erdem x H&M even more,” the designer said.