French Bohemia storms the High-Street
Well everyone knew that it would happen. An alleged 9am launch for the latest collaboration between the high-street powerhouse H&M and their guest designer turned into a teeth-grinding 90minutes of staring at a ‘technical error’ page. Nevertheless, once you finally got on H&M’s website, you could finally get hold of those covetable Marant pour H&M pieces.
Isabel Marant has been a revered female designer for years now, with her distinctive French-bohemian chic allowing everyone to get that perfect ‘designer-dress-down’ look. However, what made this collection especially unique, compared to H&M’s previous collaborations with designers such as Margiela & Comme des Garcons, was that this launch saw Marant’s debut in menswear.And it was, predominantly, a treat.
Her male collection consists of draping tees, cosy knits, outerwear, trousers and a smattering of accessories. The black printed tees, available in both long & short sleeve incarnations, stole the show. The print was interesting enough to distinguish it from its competitors; though it is just a black & white striped tee, the fit looks incredibly comfortable. The all linen construction will also contribute to its wearability. This was reflected in the almost universal selling out of all sizes, before I was able to cop myself a large in both.
The knits were a mixed bunch. Whilst I was a huge fan of the roll-neck, (although it is remarkably similar to Margiela’s oversized knit last season) it seemed too attractive a piece to not want. Unfortunately the cardigans were fairly dreadful, and this is solely down to the use of zips as a method of fastening; something I for some reason associate exclusively with rugby mums…
Her playful version of the now ‘essential’ skinny jean, was an interesting take on the classic silhouette. The fit, however, did seem a little off, judging from the lookbooks that have been around since July. In this vein, I found myself wanting to like the boots, as they looked great on their own. However, the images from the lookbook suggested that these would be far too open at the top, making it seem like you were wearing suede cones on your feet, and were consequently firmly left for some other individual to purchase.
For all the positives, there was one aspect of the collection I despised. Outerwear, comprising of two average looking pea-coats (with equivalents that can be found in every store from Primark to Prada), was simply a wasted opportunity for Marant to apply some of her magic on men’s outerwear. The gap was only highlighted when juxtaposed with their female counterparts.
The women’s wear was a far more successful collection than the men’s, simply because it delivers exactly what Marant says on the tin; the designer look with a high-street budget. All of the pieces looked like they had come straight from Marant’s Etoille or mainline, explaining the collection’s roaring success.
Consequently, my thoughts of the collection as a whole are that, yes it was good, but it could have been better. Essentially echoing my sentiments about Margiela’s last year. However, as this was Marant’s first venture into menswear, it was a solid effort, and I’m looking forward to her releasing her own menswear line in the future.