by Lina Goelzer
High-fashion designers and mainstream retailers are a match made in heaven. It is a union worth celebrating. The growing popularity of designer/retailer collaborations signifies the rise of fashion democracy: luxury design at affordable prices. Designers gain exposure to the masses, while retailers are able to improve their image through the hype surrounding such collaborations. The latest fashion house to jump on this money making vehicle is Kenzo, a French brand known for its bold colors, prints, and iconic symbols.
The collection will be released on November 3rd, but buzz has been building for months now. On October 19th, H&M threw a launch party in New York for the collection designed by Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Kenzo. Famous faces such as supermodel Iman and actresses Lupita Nyong’o, Chloe Sevigny, and Rosario Dawson brought star power and media attention to the celebration. A few of these names, along with Chance the Rapper, are featured in the ad campaign.
The collection itself is filled with jungle motifs, bright colors, animal prints, and Kenzo’s iconic tiger motif. The silhouettes are mostly sporty, including shoes, hats, jumpsuits, and hoodies. There are also a few bold dresses and pieces suitable for evenings out.
History of designer/retailer collaborations
Collaborations between designers and retailers did not become popular until 1983, when disco designer Halston launched an affordable line for JCPenney. Although many believe that the move damaged Halston’s image as a high-fashion brand, it marked the inception of “masstige” fashion, fashion lines created by high-end designers and sold to the masses. Since 1983, Target, H&M, and JCPenney have all collaborated with countless brands and designers, with Target leading the pack. In 2006, Target kicked off its “Go International” program, through which it made young, promising designers (such as Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, and Tracy Feith) visible and accessible to the general public . And the general public loved it; crazed shoppers fought tooth and nail for limited edition designer clothing. As a matter of fact, Prabal Gurung for Target, which was described as a “true high meets low”collaboration, was sold out one day after its release. A few years earlier, so many shoppers tried to purchase the Missoni for Target collection online that the retailer’s webpage was forced to shut down. Many customers were left disappointed when stocks could no longer be replenished. H&M has also found success in regular collaborations with high end fashion houses and celebrities in the past decade, partnering with everyone from Karl Lagerfeld to David Beckham.
Check out this link and scroll through for a sneak peek of the Kenzo for H&M collection, available on November 3 online and at 250 Kenzo stores worldwide.