Lanvin for H&M: A disappointment

Last Updated on January 30, 2013

Lanvin for H&M Womenswear lookbook Lanvin for H&M Womenswear lookbook

I'm not nearly as stoked about the Lanvin for H&M collection as I thought I'd be.

The menswear is so dull that I won't waste any further word on it, but I would like to discuss womenswear. When I saw the lookbook yesterday, I found it difficult to focus on clothes because of messy styling. There's just too much stuff. I feel that this lookbook is primarily targeting customers with very short attention spans, but I don't think that should be the point of it. Another reason for this is probably that when the clothes are photographed on white background, separate from other pieces, most of them are suddenly not all that interesting any more.

There's also the age-old issue of quality. It's hard to judge the quality of clothes based on photos, but I noticed that a lot of the pieces have unfinished hems and it doesn't look fancy. It just looks unfinished. I think it's very possible to design an elegant garment with unfinished hems (I own one), but here it comes off as a tad sloppy.

I do like the skirts and a couple of dresses, however their hemlines are so short that if I were to wear any of these clothes, I'd feel like a prostitute (this is not a critique, just my personal discomfort with hemlines much above the knee). On the other hand, the accessories look extremely cheap and I don't know why anyone should buy them.

My biggest problem with this collection is that as a longtime admirer of the House of Lanvin and Alber Elbaz, I don't feel that these clothes are speaking to me. The reason I was initially so excited about this collaboration is that I hoped it would give all of us who can't afford to shop at Lanvin a chance to own a tiny bit of an iconic house as well as fashion history. I'm sad to say that I don't think I'll own a piece of Lanvin if I buy anything from this collection.

This collection wasn't designed for Lanvin fans. It was designed for H&M customers. (Not that there's anything wrong with being an H&M customer, I am one myself - you know what I mean) Also for people who will be ecstatic to buy something "designer" without knowing anything about the designer. People who will come in after the first few days of sales (assuming there will be pieces left, and in many stores it will happen because the hype isn't the same everywhere) not knowing anything about the collaboration and buy the clothes because they look like regular H&M selection. People who will spend hours waiting in front of the store the day the collection is released, grabbing everything they can once they've been let in, regardless of size, quality or whether they actually want it.

I understand H&M's need to sell, especially in this economy, and I'm a big fan of both H&M and Lanvin, but I believe that with a genius like Alber Elbaz at the helm, it would certainly be possible to have great clothes that sell instead of mediocre clothes that sell. The question is, Will you still be wearing them in 5 years?

24 thoughts on “Lanvin for H&M: A disappointment”

  1. "very short attention spans" - the plague of contemporary youth (vide scott pilgrim - a good movie w/ new editing technique representing that state perfectly). anyhow, besides own artwork degradation, that hm/lanvin video teaser gives the message "omg, everyone wearing same dress!"

  2. I watched the video and saw more of the lookbook images. I think it looks very Lanvin, which includes the messy styling, unfinished hems, and the popular lanvin shapes. I don't know if I'll buy this collection because I don't know if when our h&m opens late this month if it will carry this and party dresses aren't "my" style. So I don't know I'll see...

    • You're right that all these elements are very Lanvin, I'm just not crazy about the way they're executed here.

      I'm really curious about what will happen in the local store that will carry the collection. In case of some previous collaboration collections you could still get most of the pieces half a year later, but for one such collection there was a waiting line on the opening day. I'll most likely to see the collection in the evening, when there won't be so many people around in any case.

  3. I have never really yearned for any "collaboration items" at H&M so far - they are just not interesting enough. Or, to be more specific: I loved looking at Jimmy Choo shoes, but wouldn't buy them (cause I don't wear such shoes). I also liked a necklace by him. And I bought 2 T-shirts by Matthew Williamson. They are beautiful (grey with butterflies) and I bought 2 because I knew they won't keep their form for too long. So I wear one and just keep the other one - to wear it in 5 years, I guess :-)
    But on the whole, H&M's own designers had me clicking around in their online shop frantically much more often, because things caught my fancy...

    • I wasn't as attentive to the previous collaborations as I should have been, except the first one with Karl Lagerfeld. I still own (and wear!) pieces from it 5 years (or is it 6 already?) later. I've been sparing them a bit though, just like you and the other Matthew Williamson tee. :)

  4. I got your point, it's so unLanvin. I think if Lanvin is trying to expand their market, this is not the way to do it.
    Unfortunately, with this collection, sophistication is no where to be found.

  5. meni je neumna ta ideja, gremo naredit H&M prestižno. pa to ni pojnt H&M. super ideja, da se doda tema dvema ?rkama še Lanvin, ampak ta kolekcija v mojih o?eh ne cilja na nobeno skupino, ki kupuje v H&M. ne tistih, ki obleke kombinirajo s kakimi dražjimi kosi in svoji garderobi dodajo neko dinamiko, ve?jo širino in tudi tistih, ki kupujejo tam, ker je pa? poceni se ne dotakne. ker ni vse skupaj ni?. ne vem. kup oblek na isto foro. pa neka prevelika o?ala. to je vse kar vidim na teh slikah.

  6. What did anyone expect? I have spent the last few months biting my tongue as fashion bloggers have worked themselves into a tizzy over this collab. I still can't bring myself to utter H&M and Lanvin in the same breath. Now the jury is out and it's not good. Whoring oneself out in the name of retail sales and "democratization" is nothing more than dumbing down the label.

  7. very interesting article, that I agree with completely.
    the problem with haute couture is the exclusivity. some will argue that this is necessary, but many consider them "just clothes" and as such, their price-tags utterly offensive. I know this is a bit of an offtopic, but I think it has to do with what's happening.
    the recession highlighted the house of cards that the entire high fashion industry and most of luxury markets are - status symbols for the ultra rich who are not very numerous so the whole luxuries market is actually quite vulnerable to even the slightest changes in buying power.
    I am not saying that (example) Chanel bag is not amazing but the price tag of $3000 is double or triple of what it realistically should be, craftmanship and all. this is where all the haute couture design houses push out status symbols rather than primarily amazing quality clothes. I know this is a very basic comparison, but say Saville Row suits are by no means any less incredibly tailored than say a Chanel suit, but the price tag is more pragmatic and accessible.
    so I see all these excursions by big design houses into what in UK we call "High Street shops" just economic equivalent of taking ordinary people for fools and earning a quick buck to compensate for the luxuries sales losses. I as a shopper am offended by that.
    because they in essence despise High Street, they thrive on exclusivity and status, the rejection of High Street customer base is seen in the sloppy collections they contribute to them.
    that's why I am never-ever holding my breath for things like these, and if I want to own Lanvin, I am plotting on how to become rich or hope to discover one of their vintage items (like when I actually found a perfect vintage Dior red coat in a Salvation Army store in '96 for $25, it was the most religious experience I ever had in my life, lol)
    so, yes, i think things like this will never work.

    • Anne, thanks for this *marvelous* comment :O :D (btw., you're never off-topic)

      As far as I know, fashion houses actually live off cheaper products like sunglasses and fragrances + products splashed with logos such as bags, t-shirts ... A logo t-shirt will always be the brand's cheapest t-shirt so more people can buy it while the prettier and "not in your face" ones will be properly expensive. This is why I completely get designer/high street collaborations.

  8. I do know what you mean my dear friend Eva, but still I would like to have some of the flower dresses....but I agree with you, it is more H&M than Lanvin...

    Nevertheless, I won't buy it anyway...there are no H&M stores in my country...

    all my kisses for you friend,
    I miss you!



    • I can't believe there are no H&M stores in Brazil :O It's such a huge market. Then again, reading your blog (for quite a long time now!) I've noticed that Brazil has a ton of local brands, so maybe that's why?

  9. I have to agree with your post (which is brilliant by the way), especially with this statement: "This collection wasn't designed for Lanvin fans. It was designed for H&M customers.". I also think people tend to forget that these collaborations are nothing more than a marketing strategy: get existing H&M customers to storm the shops in masses and spend loads, because it's 'designer' and 'limited edition'. And it's great for Lanvin as it's enormous exposure and a few of those who bought the H&M versions may be tempted to buy lower-priced Lanvin items at some point as they already have an entry product to the brand. In any case, it might be Elbaz's work, but the production is all H&M and just from viewing the video, everything looks much flimsier and cheaper. No offense to those who love these looks, but this is coming from someone who owns Lanvin pieces and I'm definitely not queuing up to buy anything from this collab. To an extent, I always feel like big designers are tainting their names or the name of the respective fashion house by releasing sub-par products to the mainstream masses.

    • Thanks for your comment, I'm so glad you liked the post. I haven't seen anyone else writing about it in a manner that didn't completely reek of "OMG THIS IS SO AWESOME I HAVE TO HAVE EVERYTHING". I wonder what will happen in case the clothes quality turns out to be not so great when the collection hits the stores though.

  10. Hej, Eva!

    Jaz sem tak hvaležna, da obstajaš! Kon?no en malo kriti?en pogled na celotno zadevo. Skorajda vsak post, ki sem ga do zdaj prebrala na to temo je bil enak. ?isto navdušenje. Saj verjamem, da jim je kolekcija vše?, tudi meni je, vsaj nekateri kosi, ni pa za dol past. Nedokon?ani robovi mi zgledajo še posebaj grozno na pentljah na ?evljih. Pa reklamni film?ek me odbija.

    Mir in ljubezen!

    • Tudi meni ni zelo všeč filmček oz. reklamna kampanja od začetka. Vendar pa imam občutek, da navdušenje prevladuje prav zaradi vsega tega marketinga.

      Zanima me, ali se bo kolektivno mnenje kaj spremenilo v primeru, da kvaliteta oblačil ne bo OK. Sicer o tem nisem pisala, ampak cene so malo previsoke, da bi se dalo tolerirati zanič kvaliteto.

  11. Sometimes my one year old daughter gets into my underwear drawer and wears all my colorful underclothes as necklaces. The overall effect is a lot like Lanvin for H&M.


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