Having been promoted by worldwide fashion elites from as early as May this year, it came as no surprise that the H&M x Balmain collaboration was going to be the most popular one to date. The collection not only put fashion lovers in a spin for months on end hoping to bag a Balmain bargain, but also those that wanted the chance to feel part of the exclusive ‘Balmain Army’ living life as “#squadgoals.” There is no doubt that many shoppers took inspiration from Kim Kardashian West, who is an avid wearer of the brand, and good friend of designer, Olivier Rousteing. Along with advertisement from the rest of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, as well as a music video and various catwalk shows, the build-up contributed to it being the fastest selling HM designer collaboration, selling out online and in-store (to many people’s dismay) within a couple of hours.
The intricate women’s collection featured 69 unique pieces, consisting of an array of heavily embellished dresses, faux fur leather jackets, beaded blouses and blazers, velvet trousers, and gold costume jewellery. Using the distinguishable Balmain black and gold colour scheme, Rousteing also sleeked up the collection with monochrome, hints of red, navy and dark green. A few products also slightly mirrored colours that were used in the 2013 Versace x H&M collaboration, including the pink beaded dress and silk blouse, as well as the neon green sequin dress. Despite minor criticism over stock volumes and technical difficulties online, Olivier deserved every success with this extraordinary, incredibly detailed women’s collection, and in the opinion of many fashion writers, has exceeded former designer partnerships by miles.
In previous years, I haven’t been totally invested in the H&M collaborations. I can appreciate the designs, and hard work that must have gone into creating such a thing, but nothing got my bones rattling unlike this batch of Balmain. So in preparation the night before the big release, I set my alarm in anticipation for 8am, giving myself plenty of time to be up, ready and raring to log on to the H&M website. My subconscious must have been working overtime as I woke up immediately at 5 in the morning, anxiously eager to get a head start, and sign on to the website early. I was able to access the page and became almost certain I’d be able to bag the black blazer and devoré scarf that I had been dreaming about for so long. But at 15 minutes to 9, the worst happened, and I was redirected to the ‘try again’ page for no reason at all, which according to various Twitter posts was happening to many customers. From there on, it started my long and extremely agonising wait to try and get back in (much to my neighbours annoyance, there was a lot of screaming). I ended up with four tabs open on my laptop, one on my home computer, and the H&M app on my phone. It is safe to say that if I had earned a penny for every click I made on ‘try again’, I could’ve purchased the whole collection. After an hour solid of refreshing, I accepted that there would be none left for me, so I decided to move on with my life, and went to watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, dreaming of the day where I could afford official Balmain.
At around 11am, I thought I would try my luck one last time, this time around checking the H&M website on my phone. Through nothing other than sheer luck, I was directed straight through to the Balmain page. I had excitement in the pit of my stomach like a child searching the Argos catalogue at Christmas, especially when I saw the products I wanted were still available! Unfortunately, by the time I got through to the checkout my blazer and scarf had sold out, which is no surprise considering their great value, but at this point I had accepted it was unlikely on getting the blazer. Nevertheless, I was lucky enough to purchase my other favourites, consisting of the black and white ribbed skirt, black velvet T-shirt, and bottle green suede clutch.
Fast-forward to this week and my products arrived, and I couldn’t have opened the box quick enough! The skirt is insanely gorgeous; any dream of getting a Kimmy K hourglass shape and booty has become a reality. It fits me like a glove, pulling in at the waist and ending at a flattering length just on the knee. The fabric is high quality, and in all, is of great value at £39.99. The clutch, priced at £24.99, is exceptionally reasonable for real leather/suede. It is a lot smaller than I anticipated, but I guess it would be the perfect size for Christmas parties, with more than enough space to fit money and makeup in. The top is also a great purchase, and again, very reasonable at £24.99. From what I could tell by the website, this product and the white T-shirt were extremely popular and sold like wildfire, especially to those that didn’t want to spend too much on the colab, but wanted a piece of the collection. It’s simple with just the brand embossed across the front in velvet, but it can easily be dressed up or down, depending on how you feel. I love love love them!
One thing that should be mentioned is how truly disgusting it is that many were able to purchase products, only to get them straight onto eBay within minutes, and selling for triple the price. Those kinds of people are awful, greedy human beings, and it is so unfair for those than genuinely wanted something from the collection. I really do not understand how some sellers managed to get an array of products, and in each and every size going – it should be against the law of fashion! For those that didn’t get their hands on any, my heart goes out to you, #firstworldproblems right? I will thoroughly enjoy my items, and can confirm I will not be wasting them by putting them up for sale on eBay. They are classic pieces that I can keep and enjoy for a long time.
It’ll be extremely interesting to see what designer will be in the line up for next year’s partnership with H&M. So far rumours are flying around that it could potentially be Moschino, Saint Laurent, Chloé or Marc Jacobs. My money would be on a Jeremy Scott takeover, but it would be amazing to see a Saint Laurent stint in stores, we will just have to wait and see once the hype of this has died down. But for now a round of applause, and huge congratulations to Olivier Rousteing for such an amazing, and beautifully designed collection. Here’s looking forward to next year’s collaboration!