PARIS — Here it comes: Karl for all mankind.

Tonight, Swedish fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz will lift the curtain on its hotly anticipated Karl Lagerfeld for H&M collection at a party atop the Pompidou Centre modern art museum here.

Priced from $19.90 for a T-shirt up to $149 for a wool-cashmere coat, the line — which will cover everything from women’s and men’s wear to a fragrance and accessories — is bound to generate enormous attention when it hits stores Nov. 12.

But in a twist on the burgeoning “masstige” phenomenon, H&M’s marketing plan is based on “mass-clusivity,” which means Lagerfeld’s chic jersey skirts, narrow-sleeved jackets and tuxedo shirts will be sold in only about half the company’s 1,000 doors — less than previously projected — to give the line a more exclusive cachet.

Meanwhile, the international advertising push to trumpet the collaboration is emblematic of both Lagerfeld’s stature and H&M’s ambitions: massive billboards and a mini film starring the designer that will hit the airwaves in the days leading up to deliveries.

Swedish director Johan Renck, the man behind videos for Madonna and commercials for Nike, wrapped up four days of filming last weekend in Paris. It culminated with an all-day shoot at the Bristol hotel with Lagerfeld, a gaggle of supermodels and scores of extras.

The spot, two minutes long in some markets, will play with the shock factor of a world-famous couturier moonlighting at a mass chain: “Karl, Karl, is it true?” a distraught middle-aged man bellows at Lagerfeld across a crowded restaurant, having just learned the incongruous news.

“Of course it’s true,” an unruffled Lagerfeld responds from his candelabra-laden table.

“But it’s cheap!” the man, dressed in a velvet smoking jacket, insists


“What a depressing word,” Lagerfeld snipes back. “It’s all about taste.”

And Lagerfeld assured he applied his full-strength design sensibility to the H&M project, basing his 30-piece collection for women and men on his Lagerfeld Gallery concept and his personal penchant for sleek tailoring, white shirts and touches of hardware.

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