Stella McCartney to design range for H&M

Marc Jacobs allegedly had his eye on the job. Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood both claimed it would be a mistake to turn it down. Yesterday, however, Swedish high street chain H&M announced that Stella McCartney would be the designer to follow in Karl Lagerfeld's footsteps and produce a collection for its stores.

"Designing a one-off collection for H&M is one of the most exciting and innovative ways to introduce my clothes to a broader range of women," McCartney said, in a press release issued by the chain.

The partnership is likely to reap considerable benefits for both parties. The link-up with Lagerfeld caused H&M stores to be over-run last autumn by sartorially discerning bargain hunters. And small wonder, considering the range in question retailed from $19.90 (£10.60) to $149, a fraction of the price of either Lagerfeld's own line or the ultra-expensive collection he designs for the French fashion superpower, Chanel. Lagerfeld meanwhile, already famous in fashion circles, became a household name overnight, not least for an outburst in which he declared British women were too fat to wear his clothes. "What I really didn't like was that some sizes were made bigger," he said of H&M's attempts to up-size his pencil-thin offerings to a British 14 and 16. "What I created was fashion for slim people."

H&M's marketing director, Jorgen Andersson called on Lagerfeld to apologise, but - perhaps predictably - the designer did no such thing.

Mr Andersson need have no fear over McCartney who refuses to use leather and fur for her collections, prizes the more "womanly" form and is rather more politically correct than her serpent-tongued predecessor.

The younger designer also has considerably more to gain. It's no secret that McCartney, who, in 2001, sold a 50 per cent stake in her company to the Gucci Group, is struggling to stay ahead financially. Her brand, Stella McCartney, is still very small, compared to the majority of internationally recognised names with whom she is now forced to compete: names that include Gucci-owned Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen.

Gucci Group has set a deadline of 2007 for all three companies to break even - and the deal with H&M ensures McCartney receives a vital injection of cash and raises the profile of both her eponymous line and the collection she designs for Adidas.

For H&M's part, the tie-in with McCartney is the latest in a long line of carefully considered moves that has transformed it during the past decade from a mainstream clothing supplier to a fashion force to be reckoned with.

Last month the chain, founded in 1947 and estimated to be worth $7.3bn, spent millions on a fashion show in New York's Central Park with a 240ft catwalk and 145 models, including faces like Karen Elson and Jessica Stamwho normally wouldn't get out of bed for anything less than Dolce & Gabbana or Christian Dior. At around the same time a deal with Elio Fiorucci was announced. The Italian designer's beach range goes on sale in 1,000 H&M stores this summer.

McCartney's rock royalty status and cool London girl credibility is likely to be even more of a hit with H&M's core female market, however, a fact that the powers-that-be are more than happy to acknowledge. "Her clothes are modern and cool yet classic and wearable," said H&M's head of design Margareta van den Bosch. "We have long admired her sense of tailoring and femininity. Consumer research further confirmed the strong appeal of her brand."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Project Administrator

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn