The allure of a top fashion name and the reach of a global chain: the Paris couturier Lanvin this week rolls out a line for H&M in the latest of a string of holiday-season flings between high fashion and high street.
Fashionista hordes are expected to mob outlets of the Swedish retailer as Lanvin's collection goes on sale in 200 stores worldwide on Tuesday, after a pre-launch Saturday in the United States and Canada.
Sofia Coppola and Andie MacDowell lent star power as Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz staged a preview catwalk show Thursday in New York of the limited-edition line, first revealed in an online film and dedicated website.
For the fashion consultant Jean-Jacques Picart, operations like this one are “in step with the times. Since the 1990s, women have been playing pick and mix between high fashion and budget clothes. Not just following the diktats of designers.”
Co-branding operations between designers and budget fashion outlets reach back over a few decades. In the early 1990s, Azzedine Alaia broke ground with a collection for Tati, Paris’ biggest discount store. Yves Saint Laurent designed a trouser suit for the French mail-order catalogue La Redoute in 1996. H&M first experimented with the formula in 2004, with a tie-up with Karl Lagerfeld that lifted monthly sales by a quarter, and the world’s third-largest fashion group has not looked back since then it has hooked up with the likes of Stella McCartney, Viktor and Rolf, Comme des Garcons, Jimmy Choo and Sonia Rykiel — on top of one-off lines with style icons Kylie Minogue or Madonna.
The chain says it wants to “move beyond its core concept of quality fashion at the best price, to make so-called ‘luxury’ fashion available to the greatest number. And so far, H&M says the customer response has been “euphoric” — though it will not release detailed sales figures.