It may not have the star power of Versace, or the sex appeal of Jimmy Choo and Roberto Cavalli, but Marni still attracted thousands of shoppers worldwide Thursday morning for the launch of its one-off collaboration with Hennes & Mauritz.
Design lovers, Marni devotees and bargain hunters gathered outside 260 H&M stores in the early hours of Thursday to get a piece of the women’s and men’s clothing and accessories collections designed by Marni’s founder Consuelo Castiglioni for the Swedish mass market retailer.
It wasn’t the high-energy, desperate-to-buy atmosphere that greeted Versace’s, Stella McCartney’s or Jimmy Choo’s H&M collaborations, but a more civilized, laid-back one.
In Milan, the crowds began queuing in the early hours of Thursday at the H&M on Corso Vittorio Emanuele. Carolina Castiglioni, the founder’s daughter who edits the company’s blog, was there well before opening time at 9 a.m.
“It’s really great and incredible how much enthusiasm there is in the air,” she said as she took pictures of people queuing and asked them to leave comments on placards. “We are doing this to understand what people think of both this initiative and Marni,” she said.
Outside H&M’s Boulevard Haussmann store in Paris, customers started queuing at 4 a.m. Some 500 people were waiting when the store opened at 9:30 a.m., and most had preselected the items they wanted to purchase online in the run-up to the launch. In London, customers began lining up outside the Regent Street store at 3 a.m. to get their timed entry wristbands, and wandered off for coffee and breakfast before returning for their allocated time slot.
An H&M spokeswoman said many of the U.K. stores had sold out by Thursday afternoon, while others had only limited stock available. Much of the merchandise was also sold out online.
The collaboration was a hit in Seoul, but received a lukewarm reception in Shanghai, possibly reflecting the brand’s lack of name recognition in China. At least 400 people were lined up outside each of the four H&M stores in Seoul on Thursday morning, with shoppers starting to form queues on Wednesday.
In Shanghai, the queues barely stretched around the block. People waited, at most, for a couple of hours rather than for the entire night.
Instead, the rather demure crowd outside the H&M store on Huaihai Lu, a popular shopping street, consisted of a fair share of young Chinese working in various creative industries — fashion designers, brand strategists or artists.
In the U.S., the collection launched in 26 U.S. stores from New York to Los Angeles and from Dallas to Salt Lake City. “There’s not much women’s product left,” according to Nicole Christie, H&M communications manager. “By lunch, we were almost sold out of women’s wear.” Stores have some men’s styles left, but the majority of men’s wear sold out by 2 p.m., Christie said, adding that bestsellers included silk pieces and gold brocade items as well as jewelry.
“Marni is not a household name, but people have an appreciation for it,” said Christie. “There’s a better understanding of labels with the advent of the Internet. You would expect New York and L.A. to do well, but we’ve had great results from all over the country. Seattle is almost all sold out. Marni is right up there as a best-selling launch.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast