Is there a fashionista on the planet who does not know that high street chain H&M's latest designer collaboration is with Lanvin, one of the most influential fashion brands of the 21st century?
It means that some of the most desirable and exquisite garments and accessories from the sketch-pad of Lanvin's artistic and creative director, Alber Elbaz (left), will be on the high street at prices not much higher than a regular Lanvin client would expect to pay for a rocket salad and a glass of Mumm at Sketch.
The collection, which hits 200 H&M stores around the globe on November 23, includes many of Elbaz's key looks: a froth of frilled cocktail frocks; sharp trenchcoats; his iconic, embellished t-shirts, side-gathered skirts and ultra-pretty flower- and ribbon-adorned shoes and bags.
"H&M approached us to see if we could translate the dream we created at Lanvin to a wider audience, not just a dress for less," explains Elbaz, who grew up in Tel Aviv and trained at Schenkar College. "I have said in the past that I would never do a mass-market collection, but what intrigued me was the idea of H&M going luxury rather than Lanvin going high street."
Since joining Lanvin as artistic director in 2001, Elbaz has transformed the venerable Paris label into a fashion powerhouse, launching some of the biggest trends of the last decade - ribbon, bows, pearls, raw edges, sumptuous colour and metallic embellishment. And where many brands rely on diffusion lines, cosmetics and sun-glasses to survive, Elbaz's playfulness, creativity, sublime cutting and ability to flatter women (and not just size-zero models) means that Lanvin, almost uniquely, makes a profit from its main collection.
H&M, naturally, are thrilled with their coup. Creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch said: "Lanvin will bring a luxurious French tradition that is also modern and playful. It is very much a Lanvin collection, using their cut and tailoring, with lots of focus on form and details."