I must be sorely out of touch with fashion these days because when H&M announced their latest designer collaboration with Lanvin, I thought “who?”. This is a brand whose presence has escaped me, but is clearly much sought after by the sort of people who will happily queue outside a high street store for a cheap garment bearing a designer label. Well, I say designer label, but it’s not really is it? It’s still H&M clothing and, much as I love them, their clothes are not the best quality. Clearly whoever had the first high street/designer collaboration idea, was a bit of a marketing genius though. It turns a bland store into a destination for must-have items; it generates publicity when announced and when, inevitably, the limited stock sells out; and it promotes the designer to the plebs like me who’d never heard of them in the first place. OK, so the designs themselves may be weak, but nobody really cares, do they? It’s about saying you have something with a Lanvin label, or being able to grab lots to sell on eBay at an inflated price.
However, H&M’s big mistake this time was launching the collection so soon after the launch of their online shop. Before now, the only way to get your hands on this sort of stuff was to stand in line outside a large store and elbow your way in once the doors opened. This time round, plenty of people stayed at home to grab their chosen items, and plenty more who would never think of queueing decided to give it a go as well. Predictably, H&M’s fledgling online store caved in under the traffic this morning and I’m wondering if this will this undo all the good publicity that these sorts of launches usually generate for a store. Someone missed out a whole load of forward planning on this one, didn’t they?