H&M X Balmain: The Guide
H&M X Balmain, the highly-anticipated collaboration from high-street clothing store H&M and French haute fashion house Balmain, drops 9am this Thursday 5th November online and in stores. With a flurry of flawless media hype, and a look book that’s been admired from fashion desks to bus stops, it seems that like their celebrity champion Kim Kardashian, Balmain are on track to break the internet.
You may have heard of event television, well this is event fashion retail on an international scale. H&M’s designer collaborations have been a cultural phenomenon for some time now. The annual shopping event has been gracing our radar’s since 2004, when the high street brand started their cross-market venture with H&M x Karl Lagerfeld. Since, the likes of Versace, Isabel Marant and Alexander Wang have created a series of adventurous and jealousy-incurring lines. Balmain’s collaboration is, however, unlike anything we’ve seen before. For one, although the average price of an item is around £100, on par with past collaborators Versace or Jimmy Choo, the collection tends to focus itself around central (and upwardly priced) pieces.
H&M designer collaborations give us a thrill because they allows entrance into the exclusive world of luxury fashion, for a short and blissfully sweet time. After all, just because you’re a lady of luxury taste doesn’t mean you’re a lady with deep pockets. The most expensive piece in the collection – a beautifully embellished dress – lies at a high-street defying price of £399.99, that’s just over £140 more than any other collaboration’s most expensive item. Don’t worry though, trousers, skirts and blouses average around the £50 mark. There’s also a select amount of statement belts (ranging from £39.99 to £119.99) that serve as luxury centerpieces to any outfit.
The collaboration has come at the perfect time for both brands, Balmain is certainly ‘having a moment’. With it girls, like Kendall Jenner and the Hadids, spearheading creative director Oliver Rousteing’s social-media ‘Balmain Army’, young people the world over are flocking to social media to enlist. Much to the delight of H&M, the #HMBalmaination is growing by the second too. No fashion brand understands the importance of an inclusive social media presence for an exclusive fashion house like Balmain does.
The collection is, unfortunately, the definition of limited edition. Once stocks go online, they’ll be expected to pop up on eBay at double the retail price. You’re only allowed to buy one of each item from the collection, and customers in store are only allowed 10 minutes on the floor. With queues expected up to 2-3 hours before selected stores open on the 5th, it will be no easy feat to get an enviable Balmain injection into your wardrobe. Don’t waste your time lusting after the look book, decide what you want now. Be ready and online up to 30 minutes before 9am opening morning. If you have a boyfriend, or a rogue non-Balmain interested friend, get them to be at their keyboards too. You’re only as strong as your team and getting your hands on a piece will require strict military planning – you’re up against the Balmain Army after all.
There are over 100 items in the collection, so good luck choosing between them. For a run-down of the top 5 pieces to covet and crush-on see below.