I have to admit something, I am disappointed with Balmain x H&M and I never thought I would be. When the collaboration was first announced I was excited and even wrote about it on here, when the initial campaign images came out I thought it would be good, and when the lookbook was shown I planned what I would buy. Everything was going well until I seen the prices and then I was confused.
Now I know you’re probably thinking it’s a designer collaboration so it won’t be regular H&M prices, and that was something that I was fully expecting, don’t get me wrong. However, I didn’t expect the prices to be quite as steep. Reading comments on message boards and online articles, I realised that I wasn’t alone in my surprise. I think we all had one common thought: who is the target market? If you can afford full price Balmain, you won’t compromise the quality and buy it from H&M; if you shop at H&M regularly, you can’t afford $500 for half-fake Balmain. It is confusing.
There are quite a few beautiful, intricately detailed pieces which I can imagine will be the first to sell out, and these are, as you can imagine, the most expensive ones. Incidentally, these also happen to be the pieces worn in the ads and by the Jenners (and any other celebrity who has worn the label). It is disappointing because I knew they’d be pricey but I didn’t expect them to be so pricey. You see, the embellished blazer that Kendall Jenner wore to the announcement costs over $500, as does this stunning velvet and embroidered dress that Kylie Jenner wore to the launch party (which I really wanted to buy as soon as I seen the lookbook). Basically any of the pieces you’ve seen on famous people are $400+ and the rest of the stuff is cheaper. I didn’t have a problem with paying more for these pieces. I actually thought Kylie’s dress would cost around £200 ($375-ish), and I thought that price was steep but still reachable, so when I seen the real price I felt slight sticker-shock.
It’s just disappointing because of other designer collaborations as of late which have been better priced. For example, the Lemaire x Uniqlo range was affordable for all budgets, as was the Alexander Wang x H&M range last year. Also, recently Olivier Rousteing was interviewed and he said specifically that he wanted the range to be accessible to all the people who commented on his instagram saying they wished they could afford Balmain – I think he has missed a massive chunk of that market. He also said something about wanting to lower actual Balmain prices too (which makes sense as it’s one of the most ridiculously expensive brands out there).
I don’t mean to complain too much. The range is pretty great with almost identical copies of real Balmain pieces (which no doubt has the original owners riled up), there is some jewellery and t-shirts at the lowest price points, and if you’re someone with a fair income who can’t afford real Balmain but wants a piece of the brand, perhaps you’ll be able to afford one of the pricier items. However, for me, a student, and many others who are in the same boat (love Balmain, could never afford it), it is still out of reach. Oh well. Did I really have a use for a micro-mini dress anyway? Sour grapes.