For a notoriously cheap brand, H&M spares no expense to promote its high fashion collaborations. This year for their partnership with British-based designer Erdem Moralıoğlu, which releases Nov. 2, they hired famed filmmaker Baz Luhrmann (“The Get Down”) to direct the promotional video. The short film is undeniably odd; it depicts a love triangle set in a mysterious country estate in shambles and includes dialogue so cringeworthy it makes you shudder with second hand-embarrassment. However, despite its adherence to weird tropes, the film is rhetorically effective: it makes you want to buy the clothes. The short is optically spectacular, every shot saturated with multi-hued flowers and attractive people dressed to the nines.
The collection itself is impeccably done; the clothes have a luxurious intensity to them, coupled with a fine attention to detail. There is a dichotomy among the pieces: half are defined by their crisp tailored lines, while the other half posses a more relaxed, flowey silhouette. All of the looks, however, are united by their sense of romanticism. While weird, the Luhrmann film does the collection justice, because — thanks to its modern take on Victorian style (lace, high collars, long sleeves) — if you were to find yourself in an old manor filled with flowers, looked after by an eccentric, Miss Havisham-esque lady, this collection is precisely the thing to wear. Of the collection, a few looks are outstanding, particularly the double-breasted gray wool womenswear suit and its floral brocade twin, as well as a silk pajama set, intended to be worn by both genders.
But the question still remains: will this collaboration will be as lucrative for the Swedish retail giant as the ones of the past? Unlike Balmain, Alexander Wang or Versace, who all previously debuted collections with H&M, Erdem does not carry worldwide name recognition. Additionally, most of the pieces are priced at a point — about $200-299 — that a typical H&M shopper might balk at, a conscious decision on part of the designer.
“I wanted to create something that was the opposite of fast fashion; I love the idea of creating pieces people would have forever,” he said in an interview with Fashionista.com. “Classic pieces that feel relevant in 10 years, 20 years.”
Which is precisely what he did. This collaboration excels because it is more than just junky, cheap clothes smeared with the brand name. Yet despite the lack of ostentatious logos, anyone familiar with the designer will instantly know you’re wearing one of his pieces. This collection is indistinguishable from his main line, yet is about one-tenth of the cost.