H&M-Designer collaborations have a reputation for eliciting mile long queues and bedlam at the tills. The New York based designer, Alexander Wang’s collection was no exception. The website crashed ten minutes prior to the line going live and when it returned every item sold out in less than thirty minutes. The online fashion frenzy was matched with shoppers queuing from 11pm, the night before the launch at H&M’s flagship store in Oxford Street, London.
Wang is the latest designer to create an H&M high street collection on a list which boasts Karl Lagerfeld, Lanvin and Versace, amongst others. Whilst the predominantly monochromatic colour palette of the designs hasn’t had the mass appeal of Isabel Marant’s collaboration from last year, the line is more accessibly priced, and thanks to celebrity endorsements from stars such as Rihanna, who was spotted head to toe in Wang X H&M pieces – it has done incredibly well.
The highly anticipated collaboration, announced last April, has been under close scrutiny from the fashion cognoscente after the videogame inspired ad campaign, shot by Mikael Jansson, gave a first glimpse at the designer’s line. The campaign features models Joan Smalls, Isabeli Fontana, Raquel Zimmermann and sports stars Andy Carroll and Rivaldino dos Santos.
Wang has created a futuristic hybrid which sees the sporty and the fashionable come together in a way that has never been done before, and which many have deemed impossible. The sports-luxe collection utilises neoprene, a material typically used on scuba diving suits, to create a sophisticated and practical aesthetic. Though, with many of the garments emblazoned with ‘WANG’ across them, H&M are evidently unconcerned with the word’s other vernacular meaning in many countries.
The urban styled collection caters for both men and women. The womenswear line is made up of 38 pieces featuring vest tops, parkas, sweatshirts, mesh-panelled leggings, sculpted crop tops, and scuba dresses. Whilst the menswear offerings include t-shirts, hoodies and baseball jerseys. In addition to this, Wang and H&M have created a range of accessories and sportswear items such as yoga mats, goggles and boxing gloves.
The first Alexander Wang UK store is to open in London early next year. However, if you can’t wait to get your share of gym chic pieces, in classic H&M X Designer tradition, the sold out collection has resurfaced on eBay for up to five times the original price, more reflective of the designer’s usual price point – a definite workout for the wallet.