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Margiela for H&M - will it work?

I have mixed feelings about the Margiela / H&M collaboration. On one hand the way Margiela is approaching it, namely taking classic MMM styles from the label’s archive and recreating them at a more competitive price, seems like a much more intelligent way of executing the collab.

The previous projects with other designers were, while undoubtedly popular, tarnished by the unshakeable feeling you were getting the watered down version of H&M’s collaborator, a sanitised realisation of a label’s signature. Lagerfeld Light if you will. The MMM collab on the other hand appears to be staying true to the minimal Margiela DNA, the only concession coming with fabric choice in creating the pieces.    

But on the other hand I am sceptical about the success of the collection both from an execution and economic perspective. Firstly, the beauty of Margiela is in the intricate detail and the considered, subtle way the clothes look and are constructed. While patterns may well be the same, a not insignificant part of the appeal of MMM is its mix of deceptively simple shapes combined with luxury fabrics and finish and with the latter missing, I think some of the je ne sais quoi will be missing. And it’s also the stripped back palette and clean design that might be its downfall in store. No doubt cool kids will be queuing round the block to snap it up on launch day but where the most successful previous collabs have centred around loud colour, print and pattern – see Versace, Lanvin and Marni – Margiela’s will be a lot more quiet and won’t pop as much on the rail.

As such the collab hinges on the quality of fabric and finish and if the recent Hit or Miss reports are anything to go by this is not an area in which H&M excels, putting the success of the range in the balance. That said, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of takers purely on the basis of the Margiela name but until I see it in the flesh my reaction will be more ‘hmm’ than ‘mmm’.

Ian Wright, Fashion Director, Drapers

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