H&M Shoppers are Freaking Out Over its Latest High-Fashion Partnership

5 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Balmain for H&M lets commoners dress like Kardashians.

Fast-fashion retailer H&M’s collection with French luxury brand Balmain has led to a ruckus at retail stores, a crashed website, and price gouging on eBay’s website—all in the first day of the line’s launch.The Balmain creative director’s fast fashion collection — modeled and promoted on social media by top models like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner — hit stores Thursday morning, with trendsetters and resellers camping out for days to score his $549 beaded jackets and $149 body-con dresses.After teasing high fashion fans since May, ‘s labor-of-love Balmain for H&M collection has finally landed in stores—and on the same day, is effectively out of stores.

And at H&M’s Regent Street shop in London, fights broke out in the midst of a line of more than 3,000 people, according to reports from the Guardian and the New York Times. That’s right, mere hours (and in some cases minutes) after hitting the shelves at H&M’s retailer’s across the globe and being made available for purchase online, the entire men’s and women’s line is gone, save one single item (a basic ribbed white bandeau top, yours for $25 if you act fast). Successful shoppers were seen selling items for more than double the price outside the store, while others posted them for thousands of pounds on eBay UK. The launch led to long lines at H&M’s stores, where scuffles broke out as shoppers clamored to scoop up $129 leather and faux fur jackets and $599 beaded velvet dresses. Early adopters of this designer capsule collection were certainly peeved this morning, as a massive influx of enthusiastic online shoppers caused H&M’s website to crashed almost instantly after the collection first went up for sale at 8 a.m.

Every year H&M sells a limited run of designer pieces at high street prices, with previous collaborations including Lanvin, Versace, Jimmy Choo and Alexander Wang. “The interest for this launch has exceeded all previous collaborations, and we’re truly sorry if you’ve not been able to shop from the collection. Starting at 5 a.m. a line was out the door as crowds were slowly let in as small groups. “Balmain is like a really old French fashion house, and their prices are normally astronomically high,” says one eager shopper. “The chance to shop Balmain and get it for an H&M price is super exciting.” Balmain teamed up with H&M in May to create this more affordable line that they hope will draw in more customers. H&M’s website couldn’t handle the load prior to the morning launch, and some would-be buyers—many of whom had waited hours in anticipation—found themselves staring at an error message, frantically refreshing a “Try Again” button. The H&M collection was a chance for Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing, 30, to knock off himself; several pieces in the cheap chic collection are near-direct copies of what he’s done for the Paris runways, only at a fraction of the price. (The collection ranges from $34.99 for a logo T-shirt to $649 for a black beaded men’s jacket.) Even the model army is the same: Kendall Jenner, Jourdan Dunn and Gigi Hadid star in the ads, just as they often do on Balmain’s runway.

Shoppers reportedly camped outside certain H&M locations for days before the collection dropped, many of whom were turned away once the stores had been striped clean of any and all Balmain-fingerprinted items. But unlike designers of previous H&M collections such as Alexander Wang, Isabel Marant and others, Rousteing has something special: a lock on the reality TV/social media zeitgeist that millennials eat up.

Balmain’s dresses can cost north of $2,000 each at luxury stores like Neiman Marcus, but at H&M, its trendy dresses and jackets generally priced between $150 and $600. Meanwhile, angry shoppers flocked to H&M’s Facebook page to voice their discontent, sharing stories of the hours they’d spent trying to nab an item, only to come up empty-handed. He’s been promoting the Balmain H&M collection to his 1.6 million Instagram followers for weeks, interspersing pictures of the collection using the hashtag #HMBalmainNation, with shots of Kim Kardashian, Jenner, Chrissy Teigen, Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce in his high-end designs.

He’s also partied his way around the world, sipping champagne and celebrating the #HMBalmainNation with a runway show on Wall Street in New York City, at a house party in Los Angeles, and Wednesday night on his home turf in Paris, at the Paris Stock Exchange, dutifully posting photos from all those events, too. H&M’s collaboration with Balmain is the latest in a string of its successful collections with luxury designers, an initiative that first began in 2004 when the chain worked with Karl Lagerfeld. The partnership lines, a strategy also popularized by big-box retailer Target TGT 0.59% , allows designers a chance to reach a broader audience of shoppers. In those markets that have launched the collections, the major part of the items are sold out, but there can still be returns in the following days.”

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