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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Maison Martin Margiela for H&M Shopping Review

I had the chance to shop the Maison Martin Margiela for H&M collection the night before it hit stores at a preview party in Los Angeles. Fortunately, I beat traffic and arrived an hour before the event. I was early enough to be towards the front of the line, where a handful of hopefuls were already waiting. The experience was much more subdued than previous H&M collaborations that I've shopped due to the exclusive nature of the event.  A DJ (clad in the jersey photo print gown from the collection) and a photographer were on hand to create and capture the frenzy, and a few employees modeled the collection's key pieces to perfection: the drapey red dress (perfect for holiday parties), the cozy down coat, and the wedge pumps. 

Although I witnessed the typical behavior of people cutting in line to wait with their friends, ladies chatting about their Margiela must-haves, and gossiping about what other shoppers were wearing, all of this was par for the course with these collections. As I overheard scores of people coughing and sneezing and hoped that I wouldn't get sick as a result, I quietly reviewed my own wish list and snapped a few photos of the store displays. When it comes down to it, we were all there for one reason - to shop the clothing and accessories. Fortunately, it was a nice California evening, so we weren't waiting outside in the cold, rain, or snow, and I appreciated the privilege of being able to attend the event.

So what were the most popular items? In this particular well-dressed crowd, the wedge pumps and boots, white circle shirt, tailored blazers, black dresses, and candy wrapper clutch were all extremely sought after by women, while the men favored the blazers, sweaters, and the denim. Since the silver clutch and trompe l'oeil bra bodysuit on my wish list weren't available during the event, I opted to browse for my plan B items: the pink clutch, leggings, leather jacket, and the wedge pumps. 

So how does the sizing run? As is typical with H&M's designer collaborations, it's on the small side for the tailored pieces in the collection such as the blazers and leggings. Construction and quality were impressive, and I was tempted by the wool blazers, which appeared well made. The shoes run true to size, and the heels are even more fascinating to look at in person due to the clear plexi wedges and the nude illusion/floating heel effect they create.

Maison Martin Margiela for H&M pink clutch, Margiela for H&M tan blazer, MMM H&M shopping

Although there was a bar armed by cute apron-clad bartenders and trays of appetizers were making the rounds, the food and drinks went relatively untouched for the first twenty minutes of the event. Shoppers remained civil during the frenzy, and seemed to forgo the refreshments in order to gather in corners to try piles of things on, protecting their stuffed shopping bags like birds with their nest eggs.

Maison Martin Margiela for H&M

Above, the calm before the storm.

Maison Martin Margiela for H&M wool sweater, Margiela for H&M clothing
Maison Martin Margiela for H&M tan wedge pumps, Margiela for H&M clear plexi heels
Maison Martin Margiela for H&M, Margiela for H&M clothing, Margiela for H&M dress
Maison Martin Margiela for H&M black wedge pumps, Margiela for H&M clear plexi heels

Below, shoppers survey their hauls and debate their potential purchases, while the bartenders consider themselves lucky for having it easy. On the upper left, an employee models the red dress and tan wedges.

Margiela for H&M shopping preview event Los Angeles

If you missed out and still want to pick up something, stalk your local H&M for returns in the coming days. Sometimes pieces trickle back in due to buyer's remorse and this is where persistence and patience pays off. Hint - there is a 7 day return policy with this collection, so check back early and often if you want to find something.

*Update - to see how I styled the invisible wedge pumps, have a look at The Key To Chic, my personal style blog.