By and  on November 21, 2005

LONDON — Her tulip dresses and tuxedo coats flew off H&M's racks, and her trenches and blouses for the Swedish chain have been commanding more than double their original prices on eBay.

But Stella McCartney and her team aren't planning any encore performances for the store. They're moving on and focusing on building her footwear and accessories business.

"The line for H&M was an exercise in branding. There is such an awareness out there of Stella's name, but until now, I don't know how many people could actually link Stella's name to a product," said Marco Bizzarri, chief executive officer of Stella McCartney.

"Plus, it's not exactly easy to find our products: We have three stand-alone stores and 200 wholesale accounts. We simply wanted a wider audience to understand the brand, to link the name to Stella's design and quality," he added.

During an interview a week after the fashion-hungry hordes descended on the McCartney racks at H&M, Bizzarri readily admitted that many of those shoppers can't afford signature Stella McCartney.

"At the very least, we've educated consumers — and piqued their curiosity — about Stella's world. Those same women who bought from H&M may well walk into Stella's store looking for the fragrance, a T-shirt, a pair of jeans or the Adidas trainers."

Just like French couture houses, which have traditionally relied on fragrances, scarves and small accessories to promote their brands, so a new generation of designers is relying on mass market retail to increase awareness and drive the business.

Karl Lagerfeld created a successful line for H&M last year, and sold his business to Tommy Hilfiger on the back of it, while McCartney and Alexander McQueen have inked deals with Adidas and Puma, respectively.

On Friday, the London-based luxury jewelry designer Solange Azagury-Partridge will unveil a 40-piece collection of costume jewelry for H&M. The line will be sold in 400 stores in 21 countries.

H&M's marketing director, Jörgen Andersson, called the Stella campaign a huge success, on par with the Lagerfeld line last year. While inventory remains in some countries, Andersson said volumes would be consolidated and sent to select locations in the U.K., France and Sweden, where demand was "extraordinary."

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