My name is Addie and I am a brand collaboration addict.

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Detail – Maison Martin Margiela x H&M Tuxedo Jacket – 2012

I love a brand collaboration.  A habit I picked up in Tokyo where it’s a well established phenomenon, I especially love a high street and designer hook-up. Puma, Uniqlo, Nike and Adidas have all been at it over the years but no-one does it quite like H&M.  And I, my friends, am an H&M designer collaboration junkie. The rumours and anticipation leading up to launch, plus the manageable price points and one-off factor of the actual sale, have had me hooked since the first one with Karl Lagerfeld back in 2004. Admittedly, not all of the collaborations are born equal and my lust levels vary accordingly (last year’s Balmain collection just wasn’t for me despite all the hype. I’m not a fan of the “celebrity” collections either).

This post started out as a review of the latest collaboration with Kenzo. However, for “services to Addie’s wardrobe and to fashion in general“, I’ve decided to dedicate it to my top H&M designer collaborations so far*. (*Next one is with Erdem and from the lookbook it looks set to be one of my favourites yet.)

My tips for shopping an H&M designer collaboration are at the end of this post if you would like to join the fray when the next one comes around. In the meantime, well done H&M for spreading the (high-end) love!

#1. MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA (November 2012)

maison-martin-margiela-hm-1One of my best buys to date is from this 2012 collection. An utterly fabulous narrow-shouldered double breasted tuxedo jacket. With all the hallmarks of the label (which has since become just Maison Margiela without the “Martin”), it never fails to get compliments whenever I wear it!

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Maison Martin Margiela x H&M Tuxedo Jacket – 2012

#2. COMME des GARҪONS (November 2008)

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I probably have the most pieces from this collection. This black trench coat – I love the Peter Pan collar, rounded shoulders and A-line cut – and gorgeous ruffled-sleeve blouse plus an assortment of  polka-dotted knitwear and shirts. All still very much in use!

COMME des GARҪONS x H&M Trench Coat – 2008

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COMME des GARҪONS x H&M Blouse – 2008

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#3. STELLA McCARTNEY (November 2005)

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I have literally worn this tailed “boyfriend” shirt to death. Well, it has been 11 years.

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Stella McCartney x H&M Shirt – 2005

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Stella McCartney x H&M Shirt – 2005

#4. KENZO (November 2016)

kenzoforhmI got to this one late but still managed to nab this shopper and gorgeous silk blouse.

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Kenzo x H&M Shopper – 2016

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Kenzo x H&M Silk Blouse – 2016

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Detail from Kenzo x H&M Silk Blouse – 2016

#5. KARL LAGERFELD (November 2004)

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The first of the H&M designer collaborations, Lagerfeld’s entire collection sold out in hours. I got this stiff-collared, long-cuffed slim silhouetted cocktail shirt.  As you can see from the state of that collar it has seen a lot of action over the 12 years!

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Karl Lagerfeld x H&M Shirt – 2004

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And the ones that got away…..

#6. Isabel Marant (November 2013) and #7 Lanvin (November 2010) – So gutted to have missed both of these due to other work commitments. Sigh.

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So, ready for the next one? Here are my tips on how to shop an H&M Designer Collaboration:

One: Plan. It happens in November, so make a note in your diary and tune in to yours truly (who will be tracking events closely) and the fashion press for the exact date that the collection will drop.

Two: Camping outside the shops is not required. Don’t feel you have to queue up all night to nab the best pieces.  I never have and still managed some decent finds over the years.

Three: Avoid the after-sale online madness. By all means shop the collection on line on the official H&M website – sometimes this will be your only option if you are not keen on facing the queues. But don’t be tempted to buy at over-inflated prices on eBay after the sale. It defeats the purpose of the whole exercise and frankly, you  might as well just invest in a high-end piece.

Four: Don’t get carried away. Shop wisely and buy what you will actually wear. Think long term and don’t feel you have to buy lots of pieces. If you don’t love it, drop it.

 

And here are the other collaborators to complete the picture so far:

Viktor + Rolf (2006); Roberto Cavalli (2007) ; Matthew Williamson and Jimmy Choo (2009); Versace (2011 and 2012); Marni (2012) and Alexander Wang in 2014.

It’s ready-to-wear but can we wear it? A spotlight on looks for Spring/Summer 2017 – the best and worst.

In six months’ time, Spring/Summer 2017 ready-to-wear collections from recent Fashion Weeks will be hitting the shops. So, who’s nailed it? Selecting key collections from Paris, because it historically has the widest spread of labels, I’ve assigned each one a WYW “would you wear it” rating, ranging from 10 (awesome, save up and go buy) to 0 (a bit rubbish, best avoid). So, here they are, in no particular order….

Kenzo (Carol Lim and Humberto Leon)

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Kenzo SS17

Muted but beautifully cut lines. This “Retro/Modern” collection comes in denim, camo prints and super clean silhouettes. Doesn’t come much more ready-to-wear as far as I’m concerned. WYW Rating: 10 (Because I will happily wear that camo coat RIGHT NOW).

Louis Vuitton (Nicolas Ghesquière)

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Louis Vuitton SS17

Drapey dresses and odd tailoring teamed with uninspiring accessories. Nowhere near Ghesquière’s best and not for me.  WYW Rating: 2 (Because I really don’t think you would want to).

Chanel (Karl Lagerfeld)

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Chanel SS17

I was surprised by how much I liked this collection. A retrospective with a playful twist. Peppered with constant references to the iconic “Chanel Suit 1.0”, it was vibrant and a perfect symphony of old meets new. WYW Rating: 8 (Because not many of us could get away with a florescent baseball cap worn sideways!).

Alexander McQueen (Sarah Burton)

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Alexander McQueen SS17

I love the look and feel of this collection. Tough yet feminine. Edgy but tactile. Gender-fluid perfection and faultless styling. WYW Rating: 5 (Because embroidered tartan and lace is probably not everyone’s cup of tea).

Stella McCartney (Stella McCartney)

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Stella McCartney SS17

With “No Leather” and “Thanks Girls” embossed on key pieces from the collection, the designer’s “considerate and conscious dressing” message was unmistakable and is indeed highly commendable. However, there was just a little too much statement and too little fashion for my liking. WYW Rating: 5 (Because not many of us can afford this indulgence).

Giambattista Valli (Giambattista Valli)

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Giambattista Valli SS17

This is not a label that I’ve historically related to. But there’s some good stuff here. Romantic but not too twee. And the most uniquely styled posh bomber yet (the cocktail ensemble seen here). WYW Rating: 7 (Because that luxe bomber cocktail ensemble really shouldn’t work but it kinda really does).

Givenchy (Riccardo Tisci)

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Givenchy SS17

Spanx-coloured monstrosities awfully styled. Not that any amount of styling could salvage this. WYW Rating: 0 (You can choose to wear it obviously but would you really want to? I mean really?).

Valentino (Pierpaolo Piccioli)

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Valentino SS17

Beautiful dresses, elegantly casual and modestly cut (high necklines abound) but sure to flatter most body shapes. Gorgeously simple accessories and unfussy styling as the dresses spoke loudly for themselves. WYW Rating: 10 (Now if only we could afford them!)

Céline (Phoebe Philo)

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Céline SS17

I have been a fan of Philo’s since her Chloé days but I was disappointed by this. Outrageously oversized blazers (to near American footballer proportions) and mis-matched shoes (yes, same shoes with a different colour on each foot) completely lost me. Not to mention sandals with tights. WYW Rating: 4 (Unless you are a Tokyo hipster, you will struggle to carry this off).

Acne Studios (Jonny Johansson)

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Acne Studios SS17

There wasn’t much in this collection that said Acne to me (and this is one of my favourite labels!). But I may well eat my words in six months’ time when I find myself at Dover Street buying flowing layers of patchwork and scarves. WYW Rating: 6 (You probably would but perhaps just not the pieces from the runway).

Dior (Maria Grazia Chiuri)

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Dior SS17

Another collection with a big message (female empowerment). But unlike Stella McCartney, utterly wearable. T-shirts over sheer tulle skirts with trainers – confident, comfortable, cool. Covetable footwear and some fabulous LBD numbers. WYW Rating: 10 (Because it kicks ass).

Chloé (Clare Waight Keller)

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Chloé SS17

Painfully understated. Beautifully cut and effortlessly stylish. WYW Rating: 10 (Just because).

And then there were others who didn’t make my list but who certainly stood out:

#1. The most fantastically bonkers  – Maison Margiela (John Galliano)

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Maison Margiela SS17

Egg shell caps, spit-toe booties and sweater body suits. What more needs to be said?

#2. The Best tuxedo suit – Olivier Theyskens (Olivier Theyskens)

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Olivier Theyskens SS17

It’s a thing of beauty. Just look at it.

#3. The worst  – Balenciaga (Demna Gvasalia)

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Balenciaga SS17

Is there a name for leggings that turn into shoes? Sheggings? And they came in garish latex and spandex. There were also HUGE bags in the shape of round North African leather foot pouffes. Awful.

#4. The Summer sandals – Isabel Marant (Isabel Marant)

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Isabel Marant SS17

These beauties came in a variety of colours including metallics. I am in full lust mode.

#5. The most surreal – Jacquemus (Simon Porte)

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Jacquemus SS17

Every look was accessorized by a boater. But they all looked good.

So that’s it. Overdrafts and credit cards at the ready?

Addie x

 

For boys and girls luxe bomber jackets are the bomb this Autumn.

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With Autumn officially here, it’s time to layer up! But this season, instead of reaching for your trusted trench coat or cardigan, why not get yourself a bomber jacket?  Having had a mini revival back in SS 2013, this handy staple is once again on trend. Only this time, the accent is softer and more luxe coming in fabrics like leather, silk and satin. They featured heavily at Milan for SS16 so fashionistas have been sporting the big labels for sometime. Happily, they are still totally on trend for AW16 and there are now many affordable options available to us mere mortals – nearly every label (high end and high street) has a version so I’ve not bothered listing them here. Styles range from classic minimalist sporty to hyper embellished so there’s something  for all tastes and budgets!

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Detail  – Saint Laurent SS16

Buying Tips: Whatever the hell floats your boat. Bombers are for keeps. I’ve got two – the classic black Gomme and pink Hysteric Glamour in this post – which I’ve had for years. Styling Tips: The length of your bomber matters.  Those that cinch at the waist work best with jeans, slim-fitting trousers, etc. Girls, you’ll probably get more wear out of styles that just skim the hips as these work equally well with dresses/skirts or jeans – a wise option if you are on a budget.

My classic Gomme and Hysteric Glamour will see a lot of action this season but I’m sure I need an embellished luxe version. When it comes to these babies I’m thinking more is definitely more! 🙂

My classic numbers…..

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And super embellished from the runway……

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Saint Laurent SS16

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Gucci SS16

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Roberto Cavalli SS16

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Emilio Pucci SS16

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Saint Laurent SS16

I am wearing: Bomber Jacket – black (Gomme)| Shirt (Stella McCartney for H&M)| Clutch (Victoria Beckham)| Trainers (Adidas)| Bomber Jacket – pink (Hysteric Glamour)| T-shirt (Gap)| Jeans (H&M)| Espadrilles (Isabel Marant)| Sunglasses (Ray Ban)| Watch (Tank Solo)

Trainers or Sneakers. Keep Them Box Fresh Because Age Matters

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There was a time not very long ago (alright, quite a bit ago!) when I would deliberately scruff up new trainers to make them look “worn in” before daring to wear them out for the first time. A time when wearing snow white trainers would have been considered a bit naff and definitely dodgy style-wise. Nowadays though, I am firmly within “that age bracket” that requires no less than box fresh. But when did this happen?!

A friend jokingly asked me about this last week which caused me to think about it and led to this post. So, here’s the thing, and at the risk of coming off a bit prescriptive and possibly ageist(?!), 35 would seem to be the cut-off age.  Not really sure why. The wide range of  grown-up/”fashion” trainers around today thanks to the likes of Acne Studios, Puma and its various collaborations, and the fashionista’s favourite Adidas Stan Smiths, etc. must have something to do with it. But, whatever the reason, get your handy bleach wipes at the ready if you are over 35 (boy or girl) and intent on continuing to wear trainers.  Oh, and be sure to change your laces regularly too.  And try and avoid the rain. Sorry, them’s just the rules. 🙂  Anyway, who can deny that a pair of scruffy old Stan Smiths just don’t look the same as a box fresh pair.  Actually, they might as well be different trainers. Right?

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My “gleaming white” Stan Smiths

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These Puma High-Top beauties have never seen rain. No mean feat when you live in London!

What I’m wearing: Sweater (Hysteric Glamour)| Skirt (H&M)| White Trainers (Adidas)| Black Suede Trainers (Puma)| Clutch (Kenzo Paris)