I was on a New York shopping trip in 2004 with my then boyfriend when we were walking down 5th Avenue and came across the sight of a queue wrapping around the block to get into a store. Was it a Chanel sample sale? No. Was it a celebrity opening of the new line at Tiffany’s? No. It was H&M and the crowd was there because it was, as I know now, the first ever collaboration of a high end designer with the low end High Street fashion retailer. The designer was Karl Lagerfeld.
The venture was such a huge success that this became a feature and since then H&M have partnered with Stella McCartney a year later, Viktor and Rolf in 2006, Roberto Cavalli gave us shimmering dresses in gold and animal prints, Tamara Mellon from Jimmy Choo in 2009 brought crystals and studs and more animal prints and Donatella Versace brought her own chic and gave girls the opportunity to own a little bit of class for a fraction of the cost.
But there are no longer the only designers offering to put their name and their mark on High Street retailers and H&M are not the only ones benefiting. In the US, Target is a general store a bit like Wallmart, where you can get everything from clothes to food, to toys, household goods, probably guns, pharmacy items, and kitchenware. In 2011 Margherita Missoni designed a full set of kitchenware, all for less than $20 and a complete wardrobe of clothing.
The lookbook is here (with credit to a fellow blogger and fashionista for putting it together). The Missoni for Target plates and bowls are still changing hands on eBay for 5 times the cost.
But it doesn’t end there. High end supermarket Wholefoods employed the vastly talented bag maker Anya Hindmarch to design a “for life” grocery bag. People once again queued around the block just to get them.
Where will it end? I am not sure. But what I do know, if that once again the desire to own a little piece of fashion history, and the want to possess the work of our most adored designers, will make some people queue for hours, and others pay through the nose in the secondary market of eBay where the MISSONI FOR TARGET blanket is being sold for £180, the fruit bowl for £100, Lagerfeld dresses for H&M still go for £150 9 years later, probably 10 since they were first sketched, so will I.
Saying all this though, whilst researching for this post, I did manage for grab the Hindmarch tote for a tenner. Happy Days!