June 2, 2006
I just read nogoodforme's post on rumours of Madonna collaborating with H&M, and yesterday The New York Times ran an article on the incessant partnering up of lower end chains + high end designers. The trend of these sorts of partnerships is certainly nothing new, but the fact that there is still so much buzz around them is a little weird.
A couple years ago when Karl Lagerfeld did a collection for H&M F/W 2004, the concept was somewhat new and interesting. At the time, I wondered if Canadian chains – namely Le Château – would catch on to the trend and perhaps approach DSquared to do a collection. While I am not personally a fan of Le Château nor DSquared, I thought that it would be a wise move for both, but no such rumour mill grumblings have been heard on this Northern Front.
Miuccia Prada is not into the idea (interview with New York Magazine):
"What about all these rumors about your working with H&M?
They’ve asked me. I always said no, not because I don’t like the idea, I just don’t like the idea of doing bad copies of what I’m doing. And I don’t have the time, and maybe even the ability, to do a collection with them. If you want to do a collection that costs less, you have to do it with different materials and different ideas.
Why do other people do it?
I don’t know. Because of course they’re attracted by the fame you can get. Just because you want to do something new that people talk about. I don’t know how much real interest there is in doing fashion that is not expensive but is creative."
I would tend to agree. But perhaps the biggest turnoff is the media hype around it – and have any collaborations lived up to the hype? French mail order catalogue La Redoute has been quietly doing capsule collection collaborations with designers for many seasons; this season, Tsumori Chisato, with previous collaborations with Jean Paul Gaultier, Vanessa Bruno, Antik Batik, Zadig & Voltaire et cetera, the products from the partnerships have been and continue to be wearable, affordable and thus pretty successful.
On the footwear front, I am a fan of the Tara Subkoff for Easy Spirit collabo-collection (love the Edrie shoe), so I am excited to see what the Thakoon, Vivienne Westwood, and Sophia Kokosalaki collections for Nine West will roll out this fall.