In fashion, name-dropping is a serious skill. Early adopters of a brand will sprinkle their wardrobe, and discussions of it, with a particular brand, accented with a hefty dose of smugness, using it as a yardstick by which to measure the nous of their fellow conversationalists. “Oh this? It’s ancient,” they’ll say, proving how long they have been in the know.
Isabel Marant is a prime example of such a designer – a name with which fashion people, and certainly the French, have become familiar since she debuted her eponymous line in 1994, but one that is perhaps not familiar to the less-than-avid fashion fan. But the high-street giant H&M has announced the maestro of modern Parisian style as the latest recruit to its roster of collaborators.
If teaming up with a less-than-mega-watt designer seems like a gamble for H&M, Marant’s trend-setting abilities will ensure queues snake out the door of stores when the collection goes on sale on Thursday. After all, Marant has been endlessly copied by the high street, such as with the trends for wedge-trainers, fringed boots and peasant blouses.
The sell-out success of previous collaborations of this type, by H&M and its competitors Topshop, River Island and Asos.com, indicate that the sense of authenticity, a seal of approval from the designers, is an invaluable marketing tool.
Those who don’t buy into Marant’s boho-meets-rock’n’roll style are sure to find pieces they like in what is one of the most covetable, wearable, collections in the history of H&M collaborations. Mannish wool coats, a louche take on a tuxedo jacket, and plain jersey separates provide the bulk of the collection, with eye-catching highlights courtesy of the zip-strewn coated jeans, fringed boots and fuzzy loop knits. With a huge advertising campaign starring models Alek Wek, Daria Werbowy and Milla Jovovich, there is sure to be plenty of demand. Shoppers: sharpen your elbows.