From Erdem to Versace, Wang to Marni, the best H&M designer tie-ups to date
Can you believe it’s 14 years since H&M released its first ever designer collaboration? Karl Lagerfeld was the first to link up with the high-street behemoth in 2004, making his eponymous label (he is additionally the creative director of Chanel and Fendi) affordable to all. A thumping success, he set the touch paper for 17 further H&M-designer tie-ups over the subsequent years. This past weekend, the 18th designer partner was announced as Moschino; as we look forward to its 8 November on-sale date, let’s also look back at the best so far:
Marni was admittedly a niche choice for H&M to go with in 2012. The Italian brand has a cult following but is by no means as recognisable a name as the likes of Versace or Alexander Wang. Still, that didn’t stop super-fans queuing in their droves to get a piece. The label’s signature rich textures and bold prints were in abundance, and only a trained eye could spot the difference between mainline Marni and its offering for H&M.
Isabel Marant, 2013
Who doesn’t love Isabel Marant? The Parisian designer is the queen of the boho-luxe, laid-back look. Luckily for us, she treated her 2013 collaboration with H&M like a ‘greatest hits’ of her best designs, meaning we got to get hold of some of her most iconic pieces at a fraction of the price, from leather trousers to chunky knits and iconic fringed cone-heel boots.
Versace, Versace, Versace. The Italian fashion house may be enjoying something of resurgence right now thanks the revival of all things Nineties, but Versace has always been big news. So, when the H&M collaboration went on sale in 2011 there was mania (keen customers queued for 24 hours!). Creative director Donatella Versace delved into the brand’s archive and revived more-is-more Nineties prints (including a palm tree design that nodded to that J Lo Grammy Awards dress). This collection was not for the faint-hearted but it was a Versace lover’s dream.
The most recent collaboration may have been our favourite yet. Canadian-born, London-based designer Erdem is a shining talent beloved for his floral prints and romantic-with-an-edge designs. In fact, he’s hotly tipped to be the man behind Meghan Markle’s wedding dress. His H&M collaboration saw him offer his wear-forever sensibility at a more affordable price. Among the instant sell-out pieces were a sequin embellished slip dress, a ball gown and men’s silk pyjama-style co-ord, all dappled with his signature refined florals. Frankly, we’d have had it all if we could.
Alexander Wang, 2014
Consider Alexander Wang’s 2014 collab as the moment athleisure hit the mainstream. The much-anticipated tie-up saw Wang harness his much-loved sportswear-meets-high-fashion aesthetic to create a collection that was every bit worth the wait. From scuba dresses to mesh-panelled leggings, cropped bra-tops to leather joggers and sweatshirts, it was the start of the masses dressing for comfort but doing it with style.
Maison Margiela, 2012
Maison Margiela may not be mainstream but it’s a brand much-loved in the fashion community. The 2012 collaboration was a perfectly distilled collection of pieces rich in Margiela DNA. Though it wasn’t a total sell-out, it was one of the truest designer-high street collaborations we’ve ever seen.