PARIS — Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, who have created fantastical dresses dipped in silver or dangling with hundreds of bells, are trying their hand at cheap and cheerful.Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M said Thursday the Dutch design duo would do a one-time collection of women's wear, men's wear and accessories for November delivery in 24 countries. The retailer's deal with Viktor & Rolf continues a series of annual designer collaborations that previously unleashed pandemonium in some stores for bargain-priced Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney designs.A launch event and ad campaign are in the works to back the Viktor & Rolf line, an H&M spokeswoman said.Prices are not final, but are expected to be commensurate with those of previous one-off lines, she added. McCartney's collection for H&M, for example, ranged from about 30 euros, or $38.40, for a blouse, to 149 euros, or $190.60, for a coat."We want this project to be special, not just an upside-down collection in cheaper fabrics," Snoeren told WWD, alluding to a Viktor & Rolf show last year that featured a gown inverted so the slim bodice became a hobble skirt, among other topsy-turvy looks.Snoeren said he and Horsting are still designing the H&M collection and declined to give details, but they are aiming for head-to-toe accoutrements and a number of dressing occasions.He said he and Horsting would likely do T-shirts and revisit signature looks like the trenchcoat, but stressed, "It's the idea being something that makes it original and worthwhile."To be sure, designing for the giant retailer was a concept attractive to Viktor & Rolf, who launched their fashion label in 1993 with art-like installations and atomic bomb-inspired couture, ultimately reaching increasingly bigger audiences with ready-to-wear and the perfume Flowerbomb, their first with fragrance partner L'Oréal."We are slowly widening up to a larger audience, and as storytellers, that has always been our ambition," Snoeren said.The designer's next tale will be told in June with the launch of its first men's fragrance in New York, which is tied to singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright, as reported.H&M has been stepping up the pace of its designer collaborations, and last year tapped Fiorucci for a "poolside" collection and Solange Azagury-Partridge for costume jewelry.The Swedish firm characterizes tie-ins with well-known designers as a special shopping opportunity for its clients, and a way to attract a more well-heeled fashion crowd.H&M's collaboration with Lagerfeld in November 2004 contributed to a 24 percent sales gain that month, while McCartney's line one year later saw an 11 percent uptick in monthly sales.
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