Last year high street hero H&M staged their first catwalk show, offering up a collection which showcased the design talent of their in-house team. That collection – inspired by model off duty style – was an instant sell-out, so it’s little wonder the brand has decided to make their catwalk show a regular seasonal Paris Fashion Week event, now under the name of H&M Studio.
Held in the French capital’s Grand Palais last night’s show had all the ritz, glitz and razzmatazz you could ask for from the star studded FROW to the energetic live music to the big name models.
Luckily Grazia Daily got an exclusive look backstage before the show to see Joan Smalls, Izabel Goulart and Mariacarla Boscono getting primed for the show. From the gilt gold eye make up to the full, bouncy hair which still kept a rock and roll feel, the vibe was all about the mixture of masculine and feminine.
As Ann-Sofie Johannson, H&M’s Creative Head of Design explained, “We had a lot of different influences when we started. We though about something sporty, something a bit more rock and roll, something bohemian. In the end it came back to how does a girl want to dress for the coming season, what does she want to have? We looked at early Kate Moss from the 90’s, we had Charlotte Gainsbourg there. She always had that little bit of a tomboy feel. We also thought about club girls running to and from the club in their little slip dresses with a heavy coat or top.”
When we arrived at the rarefied venue – this is where Chanel et al show their collections – we were immediately greeted with an army of paparazzi, all there to snap the A-list front row. With Jessica Alba, Solange Knowles and Miranda Kerr striking poses, the catwalk was transformed into a veritable bunfight. But as the lights dipped and everyone took their seats, hot new music name HollySiz (half sister to Vincent Cassel no less) took to the stage to open the show.
FROWers at H&M [Instagram]
The collection came complete with a host of party-ready looks from a backless white silk jumpsuit to intricately beaded mini dresses. Knee high boots in tan, black and pillar box red upped the sex appeal while there were countless gems from a navy mannish coat to an indispensible sheer lace teddy in amongst the line. “The qualities [of the collection] are upgraded with cashmeres, suede and velvet and embellishment. The detailing is more luxurious than we usually do,” Ann-Sofie explained. “We can always do these things, but it’s a matter of pricing of course. All of this collection will still be affordable H&M prices, it will always be great value for money.”
There were certainly many instant sell–outs on show – Ann Sofie has her bets on the fine cashmere tops and red knee highs as being the first to go – but some will question why a high street brand has decided to present on a catwalk in the middle of Paris Fashion Week. Ann Sofie’s response is that it is all about stretching herself and her team: “We always want to challenge ourselves and I think to put focus on our own design teams – we can do so many things ourselves - why not show that in a good way?”
H&M Studio Autumn/Winter 2013 will be in stores this September. Watch the full show below...