Now that the first Versace for H&M Collection is out the door, one can take a more distanced look at how this all went down. It is definitely interesting to watch these things unfold. The Versace line is one out of many H&M collaborations over the last years and it is an interesting one. H&M gets to associate itself with high fashion and the high fashion brand gets a quick mass market introduction for a short period of time, thus resulting in a massive PR effect for them.
Personally we were very excited about the Lanvin collaboration and about the Comme des Garcons collaboration. While Lanvin certainly had some solid pieces for men, that were both interesting and wearable, the CdG line was for us a disappointment. We can also not imagine that it performed very well outside of Japan (an assumption). Viktor & Rolf was not too bad either, but maybe they were still too small in the high fashion market to even matter in the mass market. The line was not bad though. Now Versace certainly needed a big PR push, as the brand has been a little forgotten since its high times in the 80s and early 90s. Sometimes one had the feeling they were coming back, but they never quite made it.
The Versace for H&M Collection is surprisingly good. As usual it is stronger for women, but even for men there are some very good pieces. Even though we like in general a more subtle look, we can appreciate the most the loud pieces of the collaborative collection, because who needs Versace for H&M for a simple black sweater. The biker jacket and especially the bomber jacket are the hits of the mens line. Now you just have to be able to actually wear these pieces.
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The target market seems obvious. A market that is in our opinion not very big, but comes with a very strong following – the ones that buy into the Louboutin sneaker hype, the adidas Originals by Jeremy Scott collections and Hip Hop – from Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Chris Brown to Theophilus London… they are all wearing the Versace for H&M Collection and we are not surprised. We actually also like it on them – the look works and the turn-out could not have been better for Versace and H&M we believe.
Lanvin delivered mostly subtle luxury, Versace a big bang of color. Both seem to have worked incredibly well and for the most part seem have targeted different mass audiences. But the easy recognition that a Versace for H&M piece delivers, certainly results in a bigger PR effect. One might argue that Versace also needed it, in comparison to Lanvin. Overall the brands seem to have stayed true to their individual style and look. The big question is how this will effect Versace overall. A second collection is in the works and will launch in January 2012. They have to be careful though – you do not want to become the brand that only works as part of these low price partnerships. Another question is if the market that Versace reached with this partnership is really a market that will do them well in the longrun. We actually believe it is a market that jumps very quickly to the next big thing and leaves behind whatever was cool before. Your Lanvin tuxedo from the H&M collection you will still be wearing two years down the road, but we doubt that anybody will still be rocking his Versace Bomber Jacket by H&M in a couple of years or even couple of months. The PR effect seems to be extremely strong, reaching the entire mass fashion market, yet it is a very short term push that is quickly forgotten. What do you think?
At first the article was supposed to be a simple showing of the popularity of the Versace for H&M line among well known Hip Hop artists. Somehow it turned out to be more of an opinion piece on how these kind of partnerships can go. Sorry about that. Have a great Thanksgiving Weekend and relax!