H&M Launches in Selfridges
A review of the new store, an interview with Leigh Lezark and some exciting H&M news!
Yesterday H&M hosted a fabulous launch event at Selfridges to mark the opening of their first ever concession: the Swedish clothing giant now joins brands such as Topshop (not to mention Helmut Lang, Herve Leger et al) within Selfridges’ hallowed walls.To celebrate the launch, The Misshapes were on hand to spin some tunes. Leigh Lezark, who constitutes one third of the hip New York group, was also asked to pick out some of her favourite pieces from the H&M collection to curate the new concession. Leigh, whose relationship with H&M goes back to 2007 when she modelled for their Roberto Cavalli range, kindly took some time out from her DJ-ing duties to speak to me about the pieces she chose.What inspired her to choose these particular pieces for her curation? Leigh noted that the beauty of H&M’s clothing is its ability to “fit into so many varied wardrobes, so I picked out stuff that was my style.” With her sleek raven hair and effortless New York chic it isn’t surprising, therefore, that most of the clothes she picked out were black . Indeed, she wore the black leather t-shirt dress (above) for her DJ set.Despite the largely monochrome colour scheme, there was a pop of colour to be seen here and there. Admitting that whilst “Mustard was a big colour for this season, I prefer black” Leigh picked out the beautifully draped yellow dress, below, reminiscent of Selfridges’ distinctive carrier bags (although she said it hadn’t been selected with this in mind) and the very bright, orange cropped t-shirt (below, far back) which, refreshingly, she selected purely because she “liked it” (so much, in fact, she wore it during the morning launch).As well as modelling for H&M’s collection with Cavalli, Leigh has also featured in their Matthew Williamson campaign and starred in their Lanvin video. Together with her fellow Misshapes she also promoted H&M’s Fashion Against Aids collection earlier this year. Given the number of times she’s worked with the brand, would she consider designing a collection for H&M? Leigh was keen to stress that she had only curated – and not designed – this collection but said that designing for H&M was something she would definitely consider, although “there haven’t been any talks yet”. If she does come out with a collection for H&M however, you heard it here first!
J’aime H&M: Review of the Concession
Whether you walk in from the beauty hall or from Barrett Street, H&M is currently dominating the women’s Street Fashion area on Selfridges’ ground floor. Certainly compared to a number of the other concessions within Selfridges the H&M space is huge and, unlike any of the others, spread across two levels. Whilst the H&M clothes available in Selfridges are also sold at their other stores, it is clear that the Selfridges’ branch is catering to a more well-heeled shopper. The prices are just as attractive here as they are at any other H&M but the collection has been edited to focus on the more heavy duty pieces such as those with intricate draping and delicate details.The selection of clothes available also suggests they are focusing on a slightly more sophisticated clientele, with a lot of tailored pieces, such as this jacket (above left) reminiscent of Chanel, and preppy touches such as the knee-high socks (above right). Ultimately, however, the brand name and the low price points will ensure that it will still be teenage girls who are dragging their mothers here rather than vice versa.Touches such as trompe l’oeil illustrations and decorated fabric stools for weary shoppers in the fitting rooms are exclusive to H&M Selfridges and befitting for a concession in a high-end store, regardless of its price points.
Ultimately, when the concession was first announced, the big question on everyone’s lips was, would H&M work within Selfridges? Whilst the store’s ‘Street Fashion’ department is clearly aimed at a younger market, the brands within it, such as Warehouse, Lipsy and Topshop, are still those with higher price points than H&M. However, doubters would do well to remember that Topshop also started out with a much lower price-range and, over the last five years, has steadily increased it to the point where younger girls can no longer get as much bang for their pocket-money as they can at somewhere like H&M. From Selfridges’ point of view the attraction is evident, as H&M will introduce younger shoppers to their store who, as they grow older, are then likely to gravitate upwards, both literally, to the more expensive collections on the higher floors, as well as financially.
Moreover, with H&M’s annual designer collaborations it is, in some ways, fitting that the Swedish brand resides within a space where its collaborators feel more comfortable. The move could even persuade previously reluctant designers to come on board. After all, Donatella Versace famously declared she would never collaborate with a high street retailer and has recently appeared at a Versace show wearing her a dress from her H&M collection. Either way, for the customer the concession represents a win-win situation as you can now experience a piece of the Selfridges luxury shopping experiencence without giving your bank manager a heart attack.