The world’s second-largest clothing retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB, better known as H&M, has partnered with yet another luxury designer. For a limited time, H&M is selling apparel, accessories, and home goods designed by Versace priced from $19.95 for jewelery to $299.99 for a leather jacket.
Versace’s collection went on sale at about 300 H&M stores as well as online in select countries Nov. 17. Versace has also designed a pre-spring line for the retailer that will be available to all H&M’s distributor countries online from Jan. 19.
Donatella Versace was on hand for the launch of the collection at London’s Regent Street store, where a frenzy broke out as shoppers raced to get their hands on the clothes. Each shopper is only allowed to buy one size in each garment.
The highly-anticipated Versace for H&M collection was reportedly sold out within 30 minutes in some H&M stores, including stores in Beijing and Dubai.
H&M has caused frenzies among the fashion-conscious since 2004 when it began offering limited-edition designer collections. Its first partnership featured Chanel and creative director Karl Lagerfeld. Gian Giacomo Ferraris, Versace Chief Executive Officer, said that the Swedish retailer has shown it can work with luxury designers, maintaining the integrity of the brand by offering good quality at an extraordinary price.
Anne Critchlow, an analyst at Societe Generale, said the retailer’s creative adviser, Margareta van den Bosch, “saw design and celebrity collections as crucial to establishing the fashion authority of H&M as a brand.” H&M’s luxury partners also stand to benefit.
“The column inches that these collections generate probably help both H&M and the designer,” said Societe Generale’s Critchlow. “It gives them free advertising.”
Ferraris, whose label Versace has struggled to generate enough revenue from products priced beyond the reach of all but the world’s wealthiest, is unsure how the campaign with H&M will affect sales. “There is no question of it undermining our luxury products,” he said. The H&M line will be far different that Versace’s usual hyper-luxury fare, and the collection will be on sale for only a limited time.
The limited nature of the collaboration should mean it doesn’t upset Versace’s core customer, even if there’s always a chance of doing so, Jayne Bibby, the fashion forecaster at WGSN, said. “It hasn’t damaged any of the other designers that H&M has worked with,” said Critchlow. “They wouldn’t be doing it if they thought there was a real risk.”
Bibby also offers several pros to a promotion like this one. “A number of H&M shoppers won’t be aware of the Versace history or reputation.” She calls the collaboration the perfect way to show a capsule collection to new consumers who may eventually trade up to its more expensive products.
photo credit: h&m