Marni for H & M: what did we think?

On Thursday morning Amanda and I were up bright and early in order to be at Westfield for the madness that was predicted to be the launch of the Marni for H & M collection.  I have to admit to feeling a little bit old and slightly desperate, as I grabbed a coffee along with the Olympic construction workers and security guards at 8am. They seemed to be the only people up and about and I wondered if the hysteria on our Twitter timeline and my Facebook page, meant the queue would be full of middle aged fashion designers, architects, trend forecasters and stylish Japanese people – rather like the Commes Des Garcons for H & M launch.

On arrival, we were greeted by a chirpy shop assistant who handed us a wristband and told us to come back in half an hour. Fantastic, no embarrassing queuing, with the potential for middle aged stroppiness to creep in.  We had both been online and already had an idea of what we wanted to buy, and years of trawling round shops all over the world (sounds glamorous, but believe me it’s not – it’s why I hate shopping!) meant within seconds of entering the shop I had most of what I wanted, well within my allotted 10 minutes. Annoyingly they didn’t seem to be replenishing sizes in between new groups of shoppers, so I ended up with a jacket that is a little too small. But otherwise it was a very organised, not altogether unpleasant experience, with no fights breaking out over the geometric jewellery!

Janes 'haul'

The range was as we expected, perhaps even a little bit nicer. The over size spot jacket and skirt that I bought are in the fabric I had imagined and the jacket has some really nice seam detailing – exactly I would expect from Marni. The mis matched print dress I bought, is good quality poplin and has nice tight fitting sleeves. The styling would suit more or less any body shape and the price points, although higher than Hennes, were a lot less that Marni, so it worked for us. In fact it was a bit like a more eccentric version of COS  – who are often more than a little “inspired” by Marni, Helmut Lang and the like!

Sadly there seems to be nothing left either in the shops or online, but there is sure to be lots on eBay if you are keen to buy.

Amandas 'haul'

I am always fascinated by watching the other customers as fashion events (queueing is great for this) and was interested to see quite a few of the people buying the range, didn’t look like they would ever wear an A line Playmobil style spotty coat. Perhaps they were buying  to sell on EBay, or maybe they were attracted to the thought of buying a cheaper version of a “label”. Amanda and I went along simply because we love the Marni hand writing and would have bought this range even if it had had an H & M or an M&S (theres an idea?) label in it.

Buying a ‘label’ even if you don’t love what the brand do, is a concept I don’t understand and feel saddened as I see more and more people buying into the idea of head to toe designer dressing. Even some of the young fashion students I have taught, aspire more to labels than individuality. Surely true style comes from mixing Prada with Primark, something your mum wore in the 50’s, accessorised with a bit of fabric you bought on Shepherds Bush market. Isn’t it about mxing up what you’ve found and creating your own look, rather than buying someone elses version of it?

I wonder if these designer/high street collaborations open up the world of designer fashion and make it more inclusive, or do they encourage a culture of unoriginality and the cult of the label.

What do you think?



  • Catherine says:

    I was one of the ones who missed out having clicked on line at 1.00pm it was all sold out.
    Ironing in front of the telli at 10.00pm I was some what irritated to be reminded of my lose by
    a 2 minute H&M Marni advert. I had a little rant about useless merchandisers but I guess they
    knew exactly what they were doing when they placed the orders. Its a one day sale……..!

  • Sue says:

    I love your choices: I thought long and hard about this beforehand as the stuff all looked very tempting and I really liked the Sofia Coppola ad…but, i don’t know.By the time the day came I had edited my choice right down to one top (the pyjama print dots in the A line top) and a chunky plastic bangle.Which luckily I managed to order online.I like the idea of designer collaborations but I completely agree with you that it is vital not to end up head-to-toe in a label (any label).Hmm,I also agree about people watching in the queues – the Margaret Howell sample sales are usually quite good for this too.Xsue

  • Ooh you got all the good stuff! Nice work. I went to Oxford Circus at the end of the day and there were a few pieces left – I bought the sleeveless (not sure if I was being desperate) tribal top. Same fabric as Amanda’s green splodgy, long-sleeved number.

  • Sana says:

    Great choices! I agree with your idea of “style” and found it a bit sad when people who were queuing made comments like “I had never heard of Marni before – at first I thought it was armani!” – WTF?? Why are you queuing then???? Iove Marni but can only afford it in vintage stores and on sale (have an amazing felt wool yellow coat I found in a vintage shop) and I actually walked passed the Versace queue thinking/wishing HM would work with Marni and hey presto! When they announced the collaboration I knew I was going to get lots of stuff and was super lucky (didn’t queue early but got in there when they first opened it to the public). I know I will be wearing these pieces for a long time and mixing them up with my own clothes – no one wants to look like a mannequin ;)

  • Sana says:

    *apologies for spelling errors! typing with a 4 month old on my lap ;) (and yes, she came with me to HM hehehehehe)

  • Jane says:

    gosh youre brave Sana, but best to start em young! Jx

  • Jane says:

    Yes like the Margaret Howell queue too Sue, usually a couple of celebrities in that one!! jx

  • Celia says:

    I love Marni too especially the necklaces and went along to Westfield at 10ish and had a massive shop (knew *exactly* what I was after). The build up to it definitely made me buy more than I would have done normally, but as I am terrible about clothes buying it was good to be spurred into action. The people watching, the whistle blown by the security guard to tell us when to stop shopping, the fight over a bangle with a woman who must have been goal attack in netball were all really good humoured and funny – I would definitely go to one of these things again. I am very happy with my haul except, like Jane, in the kerfuffle I bought a dress in the wrong size (size 12 when I should have got size 10) so the sewing machine will have to come out to sort that out.

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