On the 8th of March, I joined the queue for the newly released Marni x H&M collection. I managed to get a proper look-see three hours later, once the queue had abated.
Only I wasn’t at one of the two Dublin stores that offered the collection. I was on the H&M website – I wasn’t even buying. I just wanted to see the clothes. In shopping terms, it’s like waiting in line for three hours just to look at the window display.
The hype surrounding designer high-street collaborations is, in my incredibly biased opinion, ridiculous. The recent Mary Katrantzou collection for Topshop collection sold out within hours of being posted online. The most recent H&M collection, this time with Versace, was hyped-up more than the Royal Wedding and Beckham Baby combined. As with most hype, the result is uniformly disappointing.
Yet, the Marni collaboration seemed different. A distillation of the ideas of the slightly eccentric Consuelo Castiglioni, the emphasis was on texture and print and not obvious emblems or signifiers. Unlike other H&M collaborations, which look slightly outdated after a matter of weeks (have you seen anyone in a Lanvin x H&M number lately? Or, come to think of that, EVER?), the Marni collection is a mixed bag in terms of wearability.
The Womenswear collection is full of obvious winners, like the tan and grey wool/patent leather top, or the silk metallic brocade suit, or the patent leather zip-up jacket with knitted sleeves and an incongruous slight v-neck. Others, however, lack the weight, precision or consideration of the mainline Marni collection and have the busy, buzzy patterns of something my mother would pick up as a beach-to-dinner sun holiday number in a Wallis bargain bin.
Both the bad and good things about hype are the pomp and circumstance awarded to what will inevitably be privately judged as a lesser product. The promotional shots were taken by Sofia Coppola, who also directed the accompanying video. Shot in Morocco and starring Coppola lookalike Imogen Poots, it’s a hazy, Roxy Music-tinged film (or in layman’s terms, an ‘advert’) about a sultry-eyed girl who is lonely (or something) and kisses some dude in a pool, even though he may or may not have a girlfriend. You just don’t know. Maybe the the subtle nuances will be ironed out in the director’s cut.
Incidentally, my mother was in London and wandered into both the Oxford and Regent Street branches for a proper look-see after the queues had abated. Contrary to popular reports, there was still a good amount of stock left, albeit in exclusively extra-small and large sizes. ‘Is any of this wearable?’ she thought, referring to the favourite patent leather numbers above (‘shiny’ and ‘boxy’ were her appraisals). Everything looked ‘tatty’ and poorly made. A little bit disenfranchised, she headed to Liberty, which is known for zero-hype, fully-lauded collaborations, where she happily spent four hours browsing.
Pics via H&M