Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Versace for H&M Collection Review

Fashion on a budget took a new turn when Donatella Versace and H&M decided to pair up for a Versace Designer H&M collection. Does this mean the clothes will be inexpensive? Well, not really. The clothes will be much higher priced than H&M's usual line but they will be less than couture-priced. The look-book for all of the styles can be found here. While a pink studded-mini dress will run you $205, arguably steep for H&M's usual shopper, they must be expecting to gain shoppers who don't regularly frequent their racks. With this Versace collection, I suspect that H&M is attempting to tap into a market that will bring them more income, this upon recent news that their sales have been at an all-time low due to the recession in Europe (which, they claim, is their largest market still). Nonetheless, this line is supposedly marketed to the average woman with the average budget.

What then, do you suppose, is the logical branding step for this collection? Putting clothes on normal women with non-waif figures of all shapes and sizes, this is what H&M had in mind. To me, this seems like an ingenious way to make a stiff, small-market brand much more approachable and practical. However, Donatella Versace has other plans in mind. The diva showed up at the photo-shoot for the collection and cancelled the entire thing because she was too unhappy with the way the models looked. Apparently, she can't get over her obsession with anemic, size 0 models donning her apparel and refuses to brand the clothes on regular ladies (and I'm sure these 'regular' models were more like 'slender' according to popular opinion). With this misstep, Donatella Versace has proven that she does not believe in equality for all women of all shapes and sizes and does not respect her audience enough to let them decide whether the clothes can speak for themselves or not. You don't have to use every trick in the book to make your clothes look good, if they are well tailored they should fit any body. Maybe take a note from Jessica Simpson's Collection, Donatella, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But who am I kidding, what would bleach-blonde, entirely too skinny woman who looks like she's been doing hardcore drugs for the past 30 years know about beauty? If beauty to her means getting every plastic surgery in her surgeon's repertoire, she's certainly achieved it.

Being as honest and objective as I can be, I can admit that there are pieces I would try on, but there are others which are absolutely god-awful in this collection. Either way, I think the price point is too high for a store like H&M, where people shop to get away from overpriced frocks, and I would not pay the arbitrary price tags Versace and H&M have agreed upon. Undoubtedly this collection will sell out, since people get so overtaken by the 'designer' label that they will forget about balancing their checkbooks and splurge on whatever is most hyped in the media. I'm not entirely sure what the 'inspiration' was for this collection but the colors used are extremely saturated and loud. The men's clothing line, in particular, is absolutely unwearable. If loud is your style, then you would be in heaven with this collection, as there is no room to hide in Versace's patterns.

Nicki Minaj in Versace for H&M outfit
Is this clothing modern art or just some random fabrics thrown together in a haphazard way to imitate art? You decide for yourself. While some pieces are undoubtedly classy (particularly solid colored dresses for women) others seem to be a complete miss (the ridiculous outfit Nicki Minaj is wearing). This collection is a mix-bag of oriental, tropical and rock influences with Andy Warhol's aesthetic and Betsey Johnson's taste in prints amplified to the extreme. It really is out there. Some of the hits are high, much nicer than H&M's usual clothing, and appears to be well-tailored. However, this judgement is purely from look-book photos, I cannot be truthful about the crafting of these clothes until I see them in person. I don't think Versace is revolutionizing fashion with this collection, they don't manage to push the boundaries in the right way like Alexander McQueen did, but it is a blast from all kinds of pasts that will either revoke fond memories or remind you of your old basement's terrible wallpaper.

I'm really not a fan of Versace's usage of print, so underneath are the clothes that I would consider the downfall of the collection, and they are quite predominant in the collection (which houses 81 individual pieces). You should, however, check out some of their accessories, because some of them seem interesting in photos (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc) but their bag collection is absolutely gross (yes, they're overly studded and covered in those same disgusting prints).

The dresses underneath are what I classify as 'the good' of the collection - the racerback and asymmetry are a nice touch to make classy silhouettes a little more fresh and modern.

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