Friday 21 October 2016

Balmainia comes to town

Olivier Roustang's Balmain for H&M Collection drops today, with structured tailoring and in-your-face embellishment, at prices you'll love - our fashion editor picks her top Balmain x H&M lust-haves

Published 05/11/2015 | 02:30

Blue tulle top embellished with gold coloured trims (€149.99) and silk satin skirt (€79.99).
Blue tulle top embellished with gold coloured trims (€149.99) and silk satin skirt (€79.99).
Kendall Jenner wears beaded velvet jacket - €399.
Balmain for H&M
Beaded suede shoe boots - €249
Rope necklace - €79.99.
Six-buttoned short white wool jacket with satin lapels - €119
Leather biker jacket - €249.

Today is Balmainia day and the hardcore fashionistas had their alarms set on Olivier Rousteing mode today in order to be top of the queue to buy the BALMAIN x H&M collection.

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The H&M celebrity collaboration launch has become something of a November tradition and it's normally a zealous queue packed with corporate suits and fashion professionals. Strategically, they never disclose what they really want in case it sparks interest from their rivals because the pieces are limited.

The party animals with directional fashion tastes will hone in like heat-seeking missiles on the campaign pieces, like the €399 beaded, gently tailored velvet jacket with beads and sparkly stones that Kendall Jenner launched and set hearts racing.

The only store stocking the collection is H&M's flagship outlet on College Green in Dublin, and shoppers are only allowed buy one of each item. After all the hype online, only the lucky ones with a slot at the top of the queues will secure the slash front, emerald sequin-embroidered dress (€159) which has emerged as top of the list for most young shoppers.

Surface embellishment is rich in this collection and fanatics who love that whole Michael Jackson, buggle-boy style will dive on the blue tulle top embellished with gold-coloured trims (€149) which looks great with the draped silk satin skirt (€79.99).

There's a strong whiff of 1980s, Studio 54 glamazons to this collection, more Krystle Carrington and Dynasty with power shoulders than anything we've seen on the high street of late.

These pieces certainly have a trophy quality to them and the victors who bag useful, party season buys like the black velvet dress with braiding (€199) or the black top in patterned velvet georgette (€79.99), will undoubtedly be wearing them with pride at the Tatler Women's Awards next Saturday night.

The ladies' powder room is always a hive of H&M envy as the ones who bagged the covetable pieces show off their bounty.

Take heart, even if you don't find what you want in the first rush, be sure and swing by the dressing rooms later because these pieces are on the small side.

Having tried some of these items on already, they are cut to a French block - they are definitely not cut for Irish women who have tummies, bums and boobs. You'll probably need the size up.

In spite of all its high-glam showbiz quality, this collection is studded with lots of useful classics with a strong serving of designer chic.

The fitted, single-breasted tuxedo jacket in cotton velvet with satin lapels (€159) is extremely cute and the office girl who craves sharp tailoring can shop the collection by zoning in on the fitted, double-breasted jacket in Italian wool with a satin shawl collar with padded shoulders (€149).

Light colours look great on Irish complexionsm, so for sheer longevity, I'd be chasing down the six-buttoned short white wool jacket with satin lapels, nicely priced at €119. The waist-cinching gold belts are easily recognisable as part of this Balmain collection and would make a good addition to any fashionista's wardrobe.

As international designer collaborations grow in popularity, there are some shoppers who have no intention whatsoever of ever wearing their pieces. They simply want to flip them and sell them for a profit online, and with the global marketing that has gone into this campaign, they are guaranteed to make a killing if they bag key pieces, like the soft leather biker jacket (€249).

Imelda Marcos-types will go made for those beaded suede shoe boots, also €249. It's not all telephone numbers either, prices start at €14.99 for cocktail rings and when it comes to statement jewellery, the multistrand necklace (€79.99) and matching cuff (€59.99) are a shrewd buy.

A series of different colour-coded wrist bands are being given out this morning for shoppers at the H&M store on College Green and the early birds will get red.

For me, it's the €79.99 black satin suit trousers (pictured far right) that are on my radar. I write about colour but I love black, and I reckon with these, my desk-to-dinner problems are sorted.

And happily, the quality of the clothing appears to live up to those glossy, beautifully lit photographs.

Happy shopping!

Irish Independent

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