H&M Said Linking Up with Lanvin

It looks like the retailer has snared one of the hottest labels in Europe for its next designer collaboration.

PARIS — It looks like H&M has snared one of the hottest labels in Europe — Lanvin — for its next designer collaboration.

This story first appeared in the September 1, 2010 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

According to market sources, the Swedish fast-fashion giant will unveil a project with Lanvin and its creative director, Alber Elbaz, within the next week.

On Tuesday, H&M launched a viral video campaign on its Web site and YouTube to build curiosity about its annual holiday designer tie-up. A series of black-and-white videos features stereotypical fashion designer types: a man in a skinny dark suit; a woman in an outlandish blouse and chunky jewelry.

By midday Tuesday, H&M’s Facebook page was peppered with guesses — Bottega Veneta’s Tomas Maier and New York society dresser Carolina Herrera among them — posted by Web users.

While the camera never lingers on the faces long enough for recognition in the clips, the voice-over of designer musings, while electronically altered, are unmistakable Elbaz-isms. “Design is very important because it actually brings dream to our life,” says one.

The video ends with the date Sept. 9 — presumably when H&M will unveil details of its latest collaboration, which have ignited retail pandemonium annually since the retailer first partnered with Karl Lagerfeld in 2004. Other designers to have collaborated with H&M include Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli and Sonia Rykiel.

A project with Lanvin would be a coup for H&M, given Lanvin’s status as one of the fastest-growing designer firms in Europe, and Elbaz’s drawing power as a fashion personality.

Lanvin officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday night, nor could a spokeswoman for H&M in Stockholm or New York.