• Thanks to @mrstreetpeeper for tip off about designer sale at top of Times Square. Scored this Junya Watanabe jacket for £150!!! #bargain
  • Insta thank you to @andotherstories and @mrstreetpeeper for putting a bit of spring in my step
  • Retro Hong Kong caff interior at Matchbox Cafe
  • Spot the fake in Mong Kok malls. @christopherkanestudio HK style
  • Hello Birdy

It's that time of year again for H&M designer collab hardcore shoppers to get their mittens out, be ready to be on the receiving end of free coffee and queue nicely in mid November when Isabel Marant's more-Marant-than-Marant-ish collaboration with H&M comes out.  If online reaction to the leaked-sorta-leaked images last week were anything to go by, then I predict a stampede.  Before you get your smash n' grab strategy in order though, I thought I'd talk up an atypical H&M collaboration that comes out a little earlier (no mittens required hopefully), will be on the smaller scale of production but is still nonetheless vastly interesting.  I was involved in last year's inaugural H&M Design Award, where an esteemed jury together with H&M would select one BA student from the elite fashion schools of Europe to receive EUR50,000 as a prize and collaborate with the chain to produce a capsule collection.  

This year, the reach was expanded as students from nineteen fashion colleges were invited to apply.  A grand jury which included Jonathan Saunders, Tim Blank, S√∏lve Sundsb√∏ and Leith Clark were assembled to select the winner of this year's design award, which went to Minju Kim, of Antwerp's Royal Academy.  That's a crowning glory for the school, which is enjoying its 50th anniversary, but also for creativity over commerciality.  Kim's collection "Dear My Friend" wasn't necessarily the most H&M-friendly of all the finalists.  Up against minimal lines, more conventionally effeminate shapes and no-brainer fabrications though, Kim triumphed because she impressed the jury with her "unique design signature, one that combines playfulness, fantasy and optimism with great creativity and technical skill."  When the winner was announced back in January, I did wonder how H&M would turn Kim's collection into a store-friendly collection.   

Originally from South Korea, the 27-year old designer won the prize with her 3rd year collection presented at the Royal Academy in Antwerp (she has since graduated from the tough and whittled down fourth year class).  Her winning collection was inspired by the Japanese horror manga artist Ito Junji.  The monsters and haunted eyes of Junji's drawings evolved in a process of fantasy thinking on the part of Kim.  Through a filter of pastels, tactile textures and kawaii proportions, the clothes become a cuddle-friendly take on horror.  Creatures of the night take on a veneer of candy-coated loveliness.  You know what they say about the innocent ones and all of that.  

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Kim's work had extreme curves and peplums, exaggerated silhouettes and an array of unusual textures, which needed to be adapted for a selling commercial collection for H&M.  Thankfully none of that has been lost in the resulting nine-piece collection (plus two accessories).  The saccharine colours, heavy jacquards and manga prints retains much of the spirit and look of Kim's originals.  The extreme silhouettes have been translated into rounded-sleeve sweatshirts, trapeze dresses and a collarless cocoon coat.  Everything packs a design punch, despite prices ranging from EUR19.95 to EUR149, from the fabrics that feel like a step above the H&M norm to the way the pieces are cut to evoke the sense of playfulness in Kim's imagination.  Even Kim's original leather collaged show shoes have been reworked into a pair of studded wedges with a detachable fringed tongue.  It's a far more bold outing for H&M's Desingn Award capsule collection and will definitely entice the fashion thrill-seekers out there, that aren't normally H&M shoppers, when it hits selected H&M stores and online on October 17th.    

What's even more interesting is that Opening Ceremony in New York, Los Angeles and London will be selling the collection – I think it might be a first that a multi-brand boutique has had the ability to sell pieces from all three high street giants – H&M, River Island and Topshop.  Clearly, Kim's capsule collection had a sway that went beyond its high street remit.  My personal bets are on the coat which cleverly comes with a detachable pink jacquard piece to transform both shape and print mix-up, the pastel jersey knitted sweater that weighs a ton but has the look of a cloud of marshmallows and the black curved sleeve cape, which in uncape-like fashion actually allows your arms to move.  

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IMG_9927Minju Kim x H&M cape, leather neckpiece and dress worn with Whistles shoes

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IMG_0045Minju Kim x H&M jacket and printed t-shirt worn with Toga skirt and Verner cap

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IMG_0121Minju Kim x H&M top, jumper and trousers worn with Nike Liberty Air Max ID

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IMG_0001Minju Kim x H&M coat and wedges worn with Fleet Ilya visor, Marc Jacobs bag and Stance socks

Comments (28)

  1. JKAyre says:

    What beautifully unique designs! I’m definitely going to be looking out for the cape when it comes online!

  2. Denisa says:

    Beautiful inspiration. Great day.
    http://www.fashiondenis.com/

  3. Tayler says:

    first of all, this is perfect for you. and second of all, that is so cool that opening ceremony is also sellling the collection. I love new and different business adventures retailers take. big or small, its really smart.
    http://www.styleinterplay.com
    …..

  4. So glad they didn’t pick a commercial designer and a raw talent! The fusion of fabrications is really compelling. Thanks for sharing Suzy, suits you down to a tea!

  5. M says:

    The yellow coat is just unreal!:)love all the photos!
    http://www.leopardheels.blogspot.co.uk

  6. Elisa says:

    Cool!!
    With love,
    Elisa
    My Fantabulous World

  7. Jackie says:

    Minju Kim’s designs have a sense of humor and uber-sense of girliness in structural pieces. Damn you Susie. Damn it!I hate that you look cool in everything. But in these pieces, how couldn’t you? C’mon that cape/coat-let is a stunna. I can’t wait to see it in person at the L.A. OC location.

  8. WOWS says:

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  9. Ewelina says:

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  10. Kirbybee says:

    Props to H&M for selecting a designer with a collection that isn’t perhaps so easy to translate to the high street. There are some really great pieces here, that heavy gauge knit is the stuff dreams are made of. Well mine anyway.
    And now a serious case of sartorial sadness ensues, as I fear no Minju Kim X H&M will make it’s way downunder. Sigh.

  11. Marta Pozzan says:

    This is everything, I knew Kim was going to hit it big!!
    http://www.itssuperfashion.com

  12. Mira says:

    This is just amazing! Can’t wait to buy one of those pieces. or two. or three. love yellow coat!!

  13. Lady Vintage says:

    WOW! How great is this post!!

  14. Maria says:

    I share your pain. I live in Africa so my case is even more hopeless. This is the first time a high street/designer collaboration has really made sense to me. It would have been next to impossible for an emerging designer to bring these pieces to the public at an accessible price. I hope h&m does more of this.

  15. Anna says:

    Beautiful fabrics and I love the silhouette of the trapeze dresses!
    aforvogue.blogspot.co.uk

  16. Theresa says:

    Hi Susie, recently discovered your posts about Anne Marie Beretta and Claire McCardell, and was wondering, in times of so many exiting newcomer designers. which brands would you like to see revived? I am curious for your answer! All the best!

  17. Mary says:

    Great post Susie. It’s great to see H&M going for a unique designer rather than the norm. I think this collaboration could really boost H&M as lately their stuff hasn’t really been amazing and the pieces look so good on you.
    Mary
    popgoesfashion.com
    x

  18. Louise says:

    Ugh, these look so good! Such amazing tailoring!
    http://filthystrut.blogspot.ie/

  19. Jennifer says:

    Great designs and photos. Lovely.

  20. I love her designs, and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for the future

  21. Iris says:

    I was wondering what this was going to be like! I really like the outcome of the collection. Not sure if I’ll get something myself, but I definitely like the colours, shapes and playfulness of the designs A DASH OF FASH

  22. I cannot wait until I can buy the clothes from the capsule collection! It looks amazing!!

  23. Sandy says:

    Ich mag ihre Outfits total gerne, die sehen immer nach etwas besonderem aus.

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