Following in the footsteps of the runaway success of its collaboration with Versace earlier this month, Swedish retail giant H&M has announced its next big-name link-up.
Fans of the Milan-based label Marni will be marking 8 March 2012 in their diaries to be first in the queue when the boho-luxe designs drop into 260 stores worldwide.
Like its collaborative predecessor Versace, Marni is famed for its use of print – though where the former trades in baroque glamour, Marni offers playful, craft-based designs. Where the Italian labels do greatly depart is their signature silhouette – Marni is known for its crisply cut, demure and oversized pieces while Versace specialises in body-conscious, va-va-voom glamour.
The collection for H&M will revisit the favourite pieces of Marni's founder and creative director, Consuelo Castiglioni. "As always," said Ms Castiglioni, "I love juxtaposing prints and colours, mixing modern tribal with Bauhaus graphic, adding sporty utilitarian elements."
The signature silhouette of Marni – founded in 1994 by Swiss-born Castiglioni – provides a relaxed working wardrobe for its customers, thanks to full-pleated skirts and dresses, cropped trousers and jacquard knits. There is a bold use of print and colour – referencing African inspiration and geometric designs – on a range of fabrics from silk to crisp cotton poplin. The collection will include jewellery, shoes, bags and scarves.
Men, too, will have the chance to buy into the brand at a fraction of the price. The menswear offering will be a more relaxed take on the staples. The use of print for men will be subtle – a lining of a suit or a contrast detail on a shirt – while the silhouette will remain a modern and relaxed take on the classics inherent within the brand's DNA.
"Marni has such a modern touch with everything they do, mixing prints and accessories in a playful but chic way," said Margareta van den Bosch, creative adviser for H&M. "It's fantastic to see how Castiglioni co-ordinates her designs, matching new combinations of print and colour, with such incredible craftsmanship behind every piece".
The success of the Versace collaboration was in part due to expert timing – the party-perfect pieces arrived just in time for the festive season. The Marni pieces will arrive at just the right time to refresh spring wardrobes.
The collection will also be available online, although many shoppers were frustrated when the company's servers failed to stand up to demand over the Versace offering.
A second Versace collaboration for pre-spring will be available in January as an online-only offering.
A roster of collaborations with big-name fashion houses has bolstered H&M's reputation, kick-started by 2004's sell-out collection from Karl Lagerfeld. Stella McCartney, Comme des Garçons and Lanvin have all caused consumer mayhem – with customers queuing round the block for designer collections at a fraction of the usual price. Marni is no stranger to collaboration either – in June 2010 it worked with Los Angeles denim label Current/Elliott.