I know I’m a little bit late writing about this – the announcement was made a week or two ago – but I thought I’d add my two cents. First of all, I’m excited. I love Balmain and I love Olivier, and I predict this collection will be a sell out in hours. You see, Olivier makes smart use of social media to bring people into the Balmain brand. Those who want to be a part of his Balmain army, his gang of hot models and celebrities, but can’t afford the usual Balmain price tag can feel included if they buy the collection. It’s fun. The last collection for H&M that I was this confident about was Versace, because you knew that it would be pure Versace in it’s essence. I remember lusting after the palm-tree printed leggings (printed leggings were so cool at the time and I had a brilliant collection…), and I actually still have a tiny photo of them cut out of a magazine. I never did get them, however. I think I will try and buy something from the Balmain collection.
A lot of people are opposed to these high-street/designer collaborations but I think they’re a great idea. It allows people who can’t normally afford these brands or their authentic styles to purchase them for a fraction of the price. Yes, the quality is regular high street, not high end, and the label still says H&M, albeit in a smaller size, but it’s a little slice of the brand in your wardrobe and that’s the most that many of us will ever get. It’s sheer snobbery when people say these collaborations shouldn’t be allowed, that they cheapen the brand, because the collaborations are just a way of bringing designer brands to the masses. If it makes you feel better, the Balmain X H&M is still H&M and everyone who buys it will know it. I do agree that some things don’t go hand in hand (say a Groupon deal for afternoon tea at the Plaza), but this collaboration is no less than someone buying a Michael Kors bag but not his clothes. It’s accessible to people. I do think it’s wild when things sell out and are then sold at grossly inflated prices on eBay. I’d never buy a high-street/designer collaboration on eBay for the same price where you could get the legit brand clothes.
I feel like, unless there’s a lot of effort put into the quality during the manufacturing process, this collection could be a bit of a hot mess, and that’s a worry. You see, Balmain uses lots of embellishments and heaps of silk and satin. If the materials, probably some polyester and whatnot, aren’t right this could look cheap. Moreover, if the seams aren’t sewn correctly or the beading isn’t secure enough, everything could unravel before your eyes. It could really go so wrong, but I’m hoping it goes right.
I don’t want to get too hyped up about the collection like I was for Alexander Wang X H&M because I was so disappointed by it, but if the previews (worn by Kendall and Kylie Jenner) are anything to go by, this will be better. I love the top that Jourdan Dunn is wearing on the red carpet and if that’s a part of the collection, I’ll definitely be buying it (if I can get there/log on early enough).
I think choosing Balmain to collaborate with was a smart business move by H&M. Balmain is a brand that is so hyped up these days, although it often produces some awful clothes (as all brands do I suppose) it also makes clothes that so many girls want to wear. Just look at the social media following or the amount of times a photo of Kim Kardashian, Adriana Lima, or the rest of Olivier’s girls wearing Balmain is liked, shared, and reposted. Social media is a good indicator of something’s success nowadays, especially Instagram, and people are increasingly vocal. Although the majority of teenagers who love Balmain can’t afford the real deal, they can probably afford the H&M collaboration, and with the Jenner sisters endorsing it, it will reach an even bigger audience. You know there’s hundreds of girls clamouring to get their hands on anything they’re wearing, or at least something similar.
So here’s to a probable sell-out collection, on sale from the 5th November! Here’s my runway picks that I’d love to be translated into a cheaper option: