The dumbing down of Jimmy Choo
My views on affordable fashion are changing. Last week, I was lucky enough to attend a VIP preview of Jimmy Choo for H&M with fellow blogger, mediacation. I had seen a lot of the collection online and in magazines with the aggressive PR push of Tamara Mellon ahead of the launch so more or less knew what to expect… not a lot. That did not stop the hoards of shoppers queuing and beating each other up to get to a cheaper version of the brand’s famous shoes.
Tamara Mellon made an effort to create a full offering for H&M customers, including mens and womenswear alongside the shoes and bags that Jimmy Choo is more famous for. Her effort is commendable, the end products, however, not so much. The shoes looked cheap and not very well made and just didn’t have anything special about them ast all. This then begs the question – are people buying it because they like it or because it’s a cheaper version of the real deal? But with shoppers putting their purchases up on eBay and flogging them for double the price, it seems that the real deal is the better option.
I stand behind Christian Louboutin’s decision to turn down an H&M collaboration. It is not so much that it devalues the brand but it is more that there is nothing special about a watered down version of something that is supposed to be luxurious. Buying designer means buying high quality, long-lasting goods that can be treasured for years. High street is about disposable fashion – buy a trend, wear the trend, throw it away when the trend gets old. More and more it seems that the wonderful idea H&M started off with in 2004 collaborating with Karl Lagerfeld has become a little distorted as designers have realised that it can be great for business and shoppers seem to buy into anything.
With H&M collaborations in the past, there seemed to be some sense of exclusivity. The pictures were not everywhere. The stock was limited. There was no in-you-face ad campaign. Just a simple belief from customers, that the designer would use H&M as a channel to provide their clothes to a wider audience. Karl Lagerfeld did a pretty good job, Stella McCartney did it very well, after that Cavalli and Matthew Williamson took a stab and that’s when things started changing. It seems that it is less about what the designer can do for H&M’s usual customer and more about what an H&M collaboration can do for the designer and for me, that is reflected in the clothes on the rails.
Next up for H&M is Sonia Rykiel, starting with a lingerie line next month, followed by a full line earlier next year. I am a little more excited about this having seen the ad campaign. I wonder whether Sonia will get it right?