NEW YORK — Wednesday night in Central Park, H&M showed off in a major way. The Swedish retailer let loose a fall collection full of clothes that looked and felt as though they’d just paraded down a Paris runway. And there was a supersized party to go with it, complete with dinner, dessert and a performance by Kanye West, who noted that, while he had never worn H&M, “I’ve had girlfriends who’ve worn it, so I’ve been through the store.”

Just as the sun went down, more than 800 editors, industry types and bold-faced names filed into the 20,000-square-foot tent erected near the park’s 72nd Street entrance. Under a canopy of fresh ivy and hanging lanterns, H&M’s top execs — chairman Stefan Persson, chief executive officer Rolf Eriksen and head designer Margareta van den Bosch — mingled and chatted with the crowd, all very pleased with the setup, the turnout and, most importantly, the weather, which had threatened thunderstorms. “I think H&M made a pact with God to have such a great night,” said Gloria Baume, Teen Vogue’s fashion market director.

Beyond a wall of 330,000 fuchsia roses was the cavernous arena-style room with a runway crisscrossing the floor, surrounded by large, low picnic tables, pillowed benches and four suspended movie screens flashing videos. Expectation ran high, with people wondering how H&M would pull off such a mammoth show.

Clearly, this was a multimillion-dollar endeavor considering that H&M flew in more than 300 people and put them up in hotels for three nights; there was catering for 850 people, and there were fees for 150 models, 100 hair and makeup artists and three musical performers. And all those flowers don’t come cheap. But the cost for a romantic Central Park setting? Happily, not a penny. A generous corporate sponsor of the Central Park Conservancy, H&M was allowed use of the space gratis, according to New York City Parks Department spokesperson Warner Johnston. (Corporate sponsorship dollars are not publically available.)

“There were people asking, ‘Is it true — 150 looks?’ So there was a little anticipation on the ‘oy’ side,” said Peter Arnold, executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. “But it was executed like a military maneuver.” Indeed, all those exits took 17 minutes, start to finish, since models came out in packs of five or more.

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