The gloves were off Saturday morning in Paris for the launch of Sonia Rykiel’s knitwear collaboration with H&M.
Leaving their manners at the door, shoppers scrabbled, knocking over mannequins and each other to get their hands on the colorful, limited edition sweaters, which followed a Rykiel lingerie collaboration last year.
“It’s a jungle,” commented Clara Girbal, 18, pointing to one woman who crawled out from under a clothing rack. Girbal said she arrived at 6:30 a.m. in order to snap up a sweater for her mother.
The frenzy in Rykiel’s hometown was echoed in other fashion capitals, and around the world. “The collection was very successful,” said Jenni Tapper, a spokeswoman for H&M, adding that “most” of the collection had sold out globally. Tapper declined to provide sales figures.
Outside H&M’s Shibuya store in Tokyo, about 160 customers had gathered by the 11 a.m. opening time on Saturday. First in line was 30-year-old Naomi Tanaka, an office worker for a clothing brand, who said she shops at the Swedish chain very often. “I shop a lot at Chanel, but for more basic or trendy items I always come to H&M,” she said.
Housewife Kumiko Matsui arrived with her daughter Kyoko — and plans to purchase nearly the entire collection. “I’ve been a fan of Sonia Rykiel for a long time, but this is the first time my daughter has shown interest in the brand, so I am looking forward to shopping together with her,” she said.
Rykiel devotee and biochemistry student Amy Jampangoum brought her boyfriend along to the Regent Street store in London to help her carry the nine bags she eventually left with. Although she was reluctant to reveal her exact spend, she confirmed it had surpassed the 1,000 pound mark, or $1,547 at current exchange.
At the H&M store in Milan’s Corso Vittorio Emanuele, shoppers included Viviana Cacioppo, a 33-year-old doctor who has yet to miss a guest designer at H&M. “I’m very organized. I study the collection the day before, and then I come here with a clear idea of what I want to buy,” she explained.
In the U.S., rather than the usual eight to 10 stores for a designer launch, Sonia Rykiel Pour H&M was unveiled on Saturday in 20 stores; it was the first time the retailer increased the distribution of a designer partnership. “It was a huge success for us,” an H&M spokeswoman said. “We had lines outside the stores in all markets.”
Several pieces sold out quickly, including an oversize striped sweater, a striped scarf, leggings with rhinestones and a doll with red yarn hair like the collection’s namesake. A spokeswoman for Sonia Rykiel said most customers were purchasing multiples of each item.
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