Matthew Williamson to debut menswear at H & M

http://www.matthewwilliamson.comFirst there was Stella, then Viktor & Rolf, Roberto Cavalli and Madonna in 2007, Karl Lagerfeld, Kylie and most recently, Comme des Garçons. Phew.  

Spring 2009, sees Matthew Williamson become the successor in the line of designer ranges at H & M. 

The big news is that come mid-May, you’ll be able to own a piece of history in the making – Williamson’s first foray into menswear.  With the womenswear available from April 23rd, I wonder if this staggered release is to necessitate double the PR or if it’s a matter of crowd control.  Tried and tested, each guest designer at H & M has whipped up a storm and seen queues across the country waiting with baited breath to snap up their range, so it wouldn’t be surprising. 

Expect vibrant prints, sequins and bold colour in Williamson’s capsule collection and after this winter’s monochrome Comme des Garçons collection and a very cold season, it’ll be a welcome change.  Along with the colour and sequins, expect lengthy queues and the range to be sold out in hours – if the last collaborations are anything to go by.  However, If you miss out on coveted pieces or don’t fancy queues and battling shoppers, no doubt eBay, as always, will be rife with the collection at over-inflated prices and astronomical buy it now’s.

Matthew Williamson SS09 couture collection

It’s great news that more and more designers are happy to put their names to diffusion lines.  At affordable high street prices, the young and fashion forward (with or without a whopping wallets) are given an equal chance to own something they may not otherwise have been able to afford.  Everyone from PPQ to Alexander McQueen and Kurt Geiger to Richard Nicoll have tried their hand at it and now Williamson is jumping on the fashionable bandwagon of diffusion lines.   At no stranger to brand collaborations, Willamson can already count Coca-Cola, Smythson and Habitat as successful collaborations thanks to the commercial appeal of his prints.  Whether or not collaborating with a high street brand or creating a diffusion line weakens the identity of a designers couture brand is up for debate. However, by launching a limited edition, capsule collection with fashion mecca H & M, I’m confident it’ll only add hype and success to Williamsons main catwalk collection.  At the same time, it is likely to overshadow his rather dated Butterfly range available at Debenhams, at least for a few hours, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Incidentally, while writing this article, I also discovered that H & M are also launching a new Home collection.  With Zara already doing so and with the huge success of budget brands such as Ikea, it’s surprising that they’ve taken so long to do it. H & M will launch the range early 2009 with, as reported, a fully transactional e-commerce site and a brand new mail order catalogue hoping to ‘revolutionising the way style-savvy consumers shop for home textiles and accessories’.  As someone who can appreciate Williamsons eye for print and colour but not so much of a fan, I think I’ll be sidestepping his H & M collaboration in favour of looking forward to what H & M Home has to offer.

Not quite sure what angle the PR team were aiming for but check out some of the adverts from the previous collaborations.  Weird but kind of intriguing.  Let’s hope Williamson makes one more about the actual clothes.