By Margarita Nahapetyan
It is going to be a bright and perfect summer at H&M thanks to its latest guest Matthew Williamson. The British designer, being another Hennes & Mauritz AB collaborator, has created a bohemian line of peacock-pallet swimwear, dresses, jeans as well as his first ever collection for men.
This week's rollout is round number two of H&M's collaboration with Mr. Williamson. The company last month launched a limited spring collection for women created by the designer, who gives his preference to splashy colors and Indian influences. Approximately half of the summer collection, which among other pieces includes also a smock top for women and a seersucker blazer and Cuban-style shirt for men, will be widely available, said H&M spokeswoman Jenni Tapper-Hoel.
In spite of the fact that H&M has already collaborated with guest designers in the past years, including Karl Lagerfeld in 2004 and Stella McCartney, the designer collections were simply mobbed by customers queuing for many hours before the doors were open, then rushing in and emptying shelves in just a matter of minutes. Each previous launch was followed by a massive media coverage. On the contrary, the newest collection from Matthew Williamson, will be available in nearly 1,600 of the retailer's 1,700 stores all across the world, which is a significant increase from about 200 stores that were selling previous designer collections.
The upcoming fashion line promises to offer us an intriguing glimpse into imagination of the designer, the same way as did his spring collection. Most of the pieces are iconic items that have been brought out from his archive. The men's collection has been inspired by Mr. Williamson's own wardrobe, which tends to mix an elegant style of a younf gentlemen with bright colors and attractive ethnic influences. The designer himself says that the upcoming summer his collection will embrace the vacation lifestyle. "The women's wear is British female goes to Ibiza and raids Jade Jagger's wardrobe while for the men's, imagine a British boy who has traveled the world and incorporated the inspiration he found into his personal style," he said.
According to Mr. Williams, his inspiration to create comes from exotic cultures. Every year he travels to different countries in order to find a new inspiration. In this summer line, the designer offers to feel the vibe associated with graceful young things in Ibiza, Mykonos, the Hamptons and beyond, however the prints and the patterns, such as the birds and butterflies, are associated with Chinese culture. "I have always been fascinated by Eastern cultures," he said.
H&M's collaborations with leading designers have been aimed both at creating excitement around the H&M brand itself as well as for increasing sales, said Margareta van den Bosch, creative adviser of the company. H&M decided that it would be good to try a broader rollout of Mr. Williamson's designs using this year's summer collection, said Ms. van den Bosch, who has overseen the designer tie-ups since they were launched five years ago. In the past experiences there have been some individuals who were disappointed by the fact that they did not have any opportunity to get any clothes. Maybe one of the reasons is that they did not want or have time to stand in line and then everything was sold out, Ms. van den Bosch said. Another reason could be in a collection itself - "this time we feel that this collection would fit a broader audience."
Ms. van den Bosch pointed out that H&M will continue collaborating with leading designers for some time, declining the idea that consumers will get so used to the guest-designer collections, that it will start losing its edge. "I do not think it could be getting boring since there have been different collections and designers each time," she said.