Once a year, one of my favorite high-street labels, H&M manages to make my heart beat faster. Sure their seasonal collections are pretty amazing all by themselves. But, it’s when they announce their latest designer collaboration that I really start to get excited.
It was back in 2004 when the retail giant decided to collaborate with brands and celebrities alike and today, I’m counting down all their designer collaborations up to the most recently announced, Kenzo x H&M.
2004: Karl Lagerfeld
This was the collaboration that made H&M launch a collection with different designers every year. Not only did Karl Lagerfeld make clothing in H&M’s best selling and his favorite shade, black, he also shot the billboard campaigns (styled by Carine Roitfeld, former editor-in-chief, French Vogue) and starred in the video advertisement himself!
“ I love the idea that I was the first. That was important for me and a great challenge,” Karl Lagerfeld
2005: Stella McCartney
Known for her utilitarian clothing, Stella McCartney created exactly that for H&M. Everything from trench coats and knitwear, to silk wraps and cocktail gowns made up the 40 styles she’d created for the collection. Keeping in line with Stella McCartney’s values, H&M even created some of the capsule with organic cotton.
“So many people come up to me and say, ‘I love your designs but I could never afford them’. This collaboration is a great way to speak to a wider audience.” Stella McCartney
2006: Viktor & Rolf
What happens when couture and high-street come together? Well, it was love at first sight for both Viktor & Rolf as well as H&M. The collaboration marked the first wedding dress that was ever sold at H&M and one fan actually bought three of them – one for her future wedding, one to customize and one as a collector’s piece. She wasn’t even engaged!
“To have these two opposites come together is like a paradox. When H&M called us there was no question that we would do it, because it was only the third time that H&M had done a collection like this. Already it had become an icon in fashion, and that really spoke to us.” Viktor & Rolf
2007: Roberto Cavalli
As you’d expect, this collection came with a whole lot of animal prints and sequins, all in shades of black, white and gold. He even included tuxedos for men. The entire collection was based on all his favorite pieces through the years.
''I think the collaboration with H&M is a great idea. The clothes look great and the ads are beautiful. Roberto Cavalli is a wonderful designer who knows how to make both chic and sexy'', Sharon Stone.
2008: Commes des Garçons
The brand’s founder and head designer, Rei Kawakubo’s collab with H&M was first launched in Japan – Kawakubo’s home country. People queued up at the store three days in advance to purchase those signature Commes des Garçons classics and deconstructed tailored garments.
“The first reaction from the customers is beyond our expectations. Comme des Garçons’ spirit together with H&M’s commercial sense seems to work very well.”
2009: Matthew Williamson, Jimmy Choo & Sonia Rykiel
Clearly 2009 was a big year for H&M. With three designers instead of the normal one every year, it was bound to be epic. It started off with kaftans, maxis and smocks by Matthew Williamson and moved on to H&M’s first ever collaboration with an accessory brand, Jimmy Choo. After the glamorous shoes and bags came a collection of knits and lingerie by the ‘Queen of knits’ Sonia Rykiel. Really, does H&M miss anything? The answer is, nope.
“I would hope to share a glimpse of the Matthew Williamson world, and to provide the perfect wardrobe options for Summer 2009”, Matthew Williamson
“I wanted to create pieces that would reach a cool and young customer with a fashionable and independent sense of spirit in this one-off collaboration." Tamara Mellon, Jimmy Choo.
“With this lingerie collection, the house’s signature chic and seduction is available for all women,” Nathalie Rykiel, Sonia Rykiel.
The 78-piece Lanvin x H&M collection took almost a year to make. With 44 pieces for women and 34 for men, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz designed everything, from the clothes to the carry bags, videos and the campaigns. He even made it a point to come and meet the people waiting in queue for the collection outside the New York store.
“When they called me I thought not me, not now, not today,” Alber Elbaz, Lanvin
This collection crashed H&M’s e-store. Gilt, glitter, leather and sexy silhouettes made up the Versace x H&M collection and people lined up for two days to get their hands on it.
“You think that the young generation doesn’t want to be flashy, and just wants to wear very normal clothes? It’s not true,” Donatella Versace.
2012: Marni & Maison Martin Margiela
Like 2009, this year was a big one. With Marni creating a spring/summer collection of their signature prints and graphics, and Maison Martin Margiela creating timeless pieces for fall, the customers were spoilt for choice. And obviously, no one was complaining!
“As always, I love juxtaposing prints and colours, mixing modern tribal with Bauhaus graphic adding sporty utilitarian elements”. Consuelo Castiglioni, Marni
“We will bring together the contrasting universes of the two houses in ways that will surprise all.” Maison Martin Margiela
2013: Isabel Marant
Boho elegance, urban attitude and a sprinkling of rock ‘n’ roll is what made up Isabel Maranat’s designs for H&M. It was also her first ever collection for men and she also created clothing in her signature silhouettes for women and children.
''Everything can be mixed following one’s own instincts: my take on fashion is all about personality" Isabel Marant.
2014: Alexander Wang
Not only did this collection mark 10 years of designer collabs at H&M, it was also the first time with an American designer and the first sports inspired collection. One of the youngest designers to collaborate with H&M, Alexander Wang announced it on Instagram. Wearable and super functional, it’s no surprise that the collection was a street style favorite!
“We’ve had offers to do other collaborations, but those didn’t feel right to me. I wanted to wait for this to come along and I’m so happy it did.” Alexander Wang
If you’re still reeling from this collection, you’re not the only one. Not only was each and every piece covetable, Olivier Rousteing kept that #HmBalmination spirit soaring through the entire year. All our favorite celebrities wore pieces from the collaboration and it was also the first H&M designer collection that launched in India, along with the first H&M store.
“It is an honour for me to collaborate with H&M, and tonight’s launch is something that I will never forget,” Olivier Rousteing, Balmain.
Come this November, we’re all going to be privy to the vibrant and playful prints Kenzo has to offer. We don’t know much just yet, but there’ll be something for men and women alike along with accessories to match. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!
“With this collaboration with H&M we want to think big, push the boundaries and bring the new energy of KENZO to everyone around the world,” says Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, KENZO.
Twelve fantastic designers and twelve outstanding collaborations – you’d think that was it, but no. H&M creates collections with the likes of Beyoncé, Madonna and Anna Dello Russo to name a few too. So this is just the tip of a very large iceberg.