LONDON — The British fashion crowd went crazy, the web site crashed on Thursday morning and customers lined up overnight to grab their pieces from the new Erdem x H&M collection — but once a few hours had passed, life in and around the H&M Regent Street flagship calmed down.
Erdem Moralioglu’s collaboration with H&M, which arrived in 220 stores globally on Thursday, drew large crowds in Europe, but failed to spark the feverish frenzy of past H&M collaborations with the likes of Balmain, Versace, Lanvin and Alexander Wang.
In London, the Regent Street store saw controlled chaos, with some fans waiting in line since midnight in front of the store. H&M placed an in-store limit of one item per style per customer, and merchandise was replenished throughout the day.
By early afternoon, the line outside H&M was moving at a reasonable pace, with shoppers having to wait for about 10 minutes before walking through the front doors. Once inside, they rifled through the racks of printed dresses, snapping up newly replenished stock or keeping a close eye on the returns rack in the fitting rooms.
Bry Hallas, a student, said she arrived at 10 a.m. and received a wristband for the noon slot. While Hallas had her eye on a long-sleeve maxidress, the style wasn’t in stock. She tried on other things, including a short-sleeve dress and a white shirt. “I really like it, it’s nice, but some of the pieces don’t look as good as they do online,” she said. “It’s the quality. The scarves were 30 percent silk and the rest cotton.”
The web site crashed at 9 a.m. GMT, and H&M posted a message saying: “You might experience a fashionable waiting time. However, we will do our best to serve you as soon as possible.”
The company declined to disclose sales figures, and a U.K. spokeswoman would only say “it has been a fantastic shopping atmosphere in our stores today,” adding that the collection had sold “extremely well.”
Among the items that sold out quickly were the sequin dress as worn by Alexa Chung at the global launch event in Los Angeles. The company said the floral coat and lace maxidress were also popular.
EBay sellers didn’t waste any time, posting items at three times the original retail price. A botanical jacquard suit jacket and trousers had a retail price of 199.98 pounds and was listed for 600 pounds on eBay, while a black lace floral dress that costs 229.99 was priced at 550 pounds on eBay.
The range, which takes cues from the English countryside and Moralioglu’s signature feminine aesthetic, is filled with romantic and floral dresses, blouses, tailored suiting, scarves, jewelry and footwear. Prices range from 7.99 pounds for tights to 229.99 pounds for dresses.
The London-based Canadian and Turkish designer has also dipped his toes into men’s wear for the first time, creating a collection for the Swedish fast-fashion brand. The capsule includes pajamas, suits and overcoats and accessories.
Aoibheann Foley, who works in the marketing department at Elle U.K., is a fan of the designer. “I’ve loved him for a long time. I really can’t afford his pieces full price, so it’s amazing. I’m sometimes skeptical about the collaborations. Maybe quality hasn’t been so great in the past. But I’ve heard amazing things about this one,” she said as she waited to get into the store.
She stood outside for about 15 minutes and among the items on her wish list were earrings, a leopard print coat, a black trapeze dress and a white collar shirt.
“It’s always good when you get these designers doing stuff with high street shops,” said Elliot Robson, who works in politics. “It’s more accessible to the normal people. With H&M, the appeal is a little more upmarket than, say, Topman.”
Robson said he liked Moralioglu’s take on men’s wear. “It’s a step in the right direction.”
Bank manager Sean Phillips said he was tasked by his fiancée to join the line and buy a dress. Phillips said he wasn’t sure which dress to purchase: “I’ll buy whichever one they have in her size, I guess. She likes them all. I might get a T-shirt.”
By contrast, Wednesday night’s Erdem x H&M pre-shopping event for fashion editors in London was a feeding frenzy with shoppers scrambling for pieces, ignoring the fitting rooms and changing out of their clothing and trying on the new items right on the sales floor.
On Thursday, the collection hit shop floors in six flagships in France, including the store on Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris. The French site crashed, but was later restored, although by mid-afternoon many of the items were sold out. Purchases were limited to one of each item per person. This also applied to accessories, shoes and bags.
In Milan, the collection got a lukewarm welcome, with about 30 people waiting outside the H&M store that overlooks the Duomo. The crowd was mostly filled with fashion and design students and tourists.
By lunchtime, about 80 people were waiting in line to access the separate area of the flagship dedicated to the collection.
A couple of young male Spanish tourists were at the front of the line, having waited for two hours. “I only saw the pictures of the clothes on Instagram, and I liked them,” said one, adding that he usually buys H&M’s capsule collections online. On Thursday, he said he was after the floral Windbreaker and the printed T-shirts.
“I’ve been waiting for 40 minutes and I feel this is all poorly organized,” said an interior designer, who was hoping to return to work with a pair of flowery black combat boots. “This is a first time for me, I always buy online,” she added, explaining how she tried to purchase items on the e-commerce site in the morning but it was taking too long.
A middle-aged woman who was waiting admitted that she was not a fan of Erdem’s style or aesthetics but “didn’t miss a single collaboration” since the one of Karl Lagerfeld for H&M.
“I can’t buy online, I need to see the fabrics, try the pieces on,” she said. “I come to enjoy myself, I even like the part where you fight a little bit to get what you want,” she added with a laugh, revealing that she didn’t think in terms of a “budget to spend” but was just curious to see what she could find.
Her wish list included the yellow-and-black tweed skirt “with the jacket, if it works,” shirts and scarves. “I really like the Forties-inspired purse as well, but 250 euros for that is just too much,” she said.
The price tag didn’t stop one female Asian fashion design student from shopping. “I had never heard of Erdem before, nor am I crazy over these H&M collaborations, but I simply love this tiny bag,” she giggled.
A fellow student from Turkey also had her eyes set on the accessory, in addition to the logo sweatshirt. She said she was a longtime Erdem fan. “I think he really brought the softness and the prints he’s known for into this lineup,” she said.
Erdem hosted a preview and runway show in Los Angeles that drew the likes of Chung, Kate Bosworth, Kirsten Dunst, Selma Blair, Rashida Jones and Jaime King.