Mots-clefs

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Yesterday was November 15th.

If you are not in the Fashion world, yesterday was November 15th – period. But, for a handful of us, yesterday was the DAY OF MARGIELA’s opus for H&M and from what was steadily coming down the fashion editorial pikes it looked promising. Actual Re-Editions of the main line key pieces!… Woohoo!

I am generally not a big fan of the MMM aesthetics, I prefer my clothes to not have flying sleeves attached to my back or trousers where me, my kids, my husband and a couple of cushions could fit quite comfortably, I did fancy jeans that can hold themselves straight thanks to coats upon coats of ‘blanc d’Espagne’ as if dripped into a bucket of plaster but… I do remember vividly (cue a slow tear slowly dripping down my eye) an amazing jacket. Once upon a time, in New York, it was a loan from a  colleague (Thank you Emee) that was simply put the best cut jacket I have ever worn – bar none. It was in soft brown plaid and I remember thinking it was a bit boring when I first saw it. I needed something to wear pronto for an appointment in the Showroom so I grabbed it. It was the CUT that got me.

I immediately felt incredible. It was so comfortable… An unknown notion for me at the time, what with the running around in 10″ shoes daily and all – anything above that was for evening, I was not crazy. For the first time outside of knitwear, my movements were free and I could feel my back and shoulders straight and strong, yet this invincible armor was incredibly stylish once on. It was a revelation – nothing less. I could move and work and run and get coffee and be bossy and meet my girls for dinner and drive or run up the stairs or catch a cab, in fantasy I could hold babies, save the world, climb trees and put out fires wearing this jacket and still feel and look great. It was amazing. A few weeks later Emee asked me to return the jacket that she had in fact loaned me for that one day and when I did, I felt like Anna Karina waving her white handkerchief at the train station. Heartbroken forever.

On lucky dude in Solana yesterday waiting for his girlfriend to wrap up the party!

So –  I was kind of looking forward to the MMM collection, with my eyes on one narrow shoulders jacket that reminded me of my long lost love. But that was not to be… well not completely.

Probably correctly estimating that the Chinese consumer was going to be sightly less enthralled by the whole adventure than say the Fashion students in London, the Swedish HQ of H&M shipped out the collection to only TWO locations. In Beijing. Estimated population: 20 millions people. But I still felt confident that the crowds were going to be scarce and elite, the price point of the boots being around a monthly salary and all.  I was both right and wrong. I arrived at Solana Mall at 10 am sharp and although there were only about 30 people at the doors, I met a french friend and another friend of hers on clutches. We were told that our time slot would be 11:35 and were given the proper colored wristband. We sat down inside near the ‘gates’ and laughed at the ever-entrepreneurial spirit of the kids that had gotten there earlier and where already RE-selling their catch in front of the doors with a hefty mark-up. It gave me a chance to try on the ‘Duvet Coat’ I was fantasizing about… My friends waved their fingers, sadly not the thumb but the index and I left it – with the 500 kwai (62 euros) mark-up. Apparently I looked like the long lost child of the Michelin Man and the Meringue Fairy. Oh well. We waited patiently inside (cold + clutches) then went for coffee. We returned at 11am to find out that a) anyone with a bracelet could come in regardless of the remaining time slots, b) there was nothing left over a size 32 c) the selling space had been reduced to about 20 sq meters including the 2 massive tables for the accessories. It was a zoo! And not in a good way. I was trying to go round the tables while holding the selection of the injured friend while minding her clutches and all that in front of the staff lined up against the barricades looking in. A nightmare. The barricades had been brought closer in to let just a single line passage between the clothes and the table. It was horrible! Crowded, minuscule space, no merchandise. After 5 minutes I had enough. So did my friends. I complained quite loudly to the manager, a Swede named Anne that was impassibly looking in with her staff and she replied cooly that the salespeople were looking inside to help but the space was too small for them to get in. She understood that it was complicated with the clutches and all but the space shrunk because there was less merchandise… It was ridiculous! And the experience left me seething.

But not discouraged.

We crossed town to « Glory Mall » the other H&M with the MMM. And it was great. No crowds, no lines. Just a few dozen Chinese fashionistas browsing and trying on the collection. Fun. Although I think H&M will eat the Faux Fur coat and the massive peacoat not adequate to the slim Chinese silhouette the collection was correctly represented, with the monthly salary boots and all. *tried them – utterly uncomfortable – I bought an incredible linen tablecloth, tried the peacoat as well and nixed it. Disco Ball was gone and ‘my’ dream jacket was only left in… 32 (which might just be my slim 8 years old size!)

My friends picked up dresses, necklaces, trousers, coats, and then we left holding happily our white embossed bags.

Then I did what all Chinese consumers do. I went home and bought it. For the same price. On Taobao. http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=16380610987

I hear this baby is flying off the shelves too:

Gabrielle

Hier c’était le 15 novembre. Pour ceux qui ne sont pas des modeux 100% pur sucre, hier c’était le 15 novembre.

Pour les autres c’était la journée oú la collection masstige de Maison Martin Margiela tombait chez H&M. Les photos qui avaient filtrées dans la presse mode étaient alléchantes… On y voyait non pas une version diluée de la pensée parfois intense du créateur invisible Belge et de son équipe dévouée qui a repris le culte depuis son départ mais des re-éditions – des versions normalement hors de prix mais magiquement atteignables des pieces phares des dernieres années. Je ne suis pas la clientele type MMM. Je n’ai pas le goût des vestes compliquées avec la manche dans le dos, les pantalons de cirque gigantesques et dans lesquel une famille entiere pourrait trouver refuge mais j’ai le souvenir ému et douloureux d’une veste parfaite. Simplement parfaite. Coupée au rasoir pour donner aux épaules de la tenue mais sans faire officier Allemand, dans une laine écossaise marron qui épousait si parfaitement mes bras et mes épaules que je pouvais tout faire avec ne la sentant plus; mais lorsque en plein travail (de showroom) je me croisais devant le miroir j’aimais cette silhouette á la fois habillée, élégante et décontractée qu’il me renvoyait. Telle que je m’imaginais – en mieux. Une veste invincible. Et puis, elle n’était pas á moi cette veste magique. Il a bien fallu la rendre, alors… Elle est restée dans ma tête mais cette collection MMM me faisait de l’oeil. Alors hier, j’ai rassemblé mes troupes et nous sommes allées d’abord á Solana Mall dans l’un des deux seuls magasins de Pékin avec la ligne. Deux – pour 20 millions donc.  H&M Solana était un désastre épique de désorganisation et de foutage de gueule. Collection minuscule, ligne ordonnée mais finalement tout le monde pouvait entrer avant notre heure, choix minuscule et surtout les clients enserrés dans des barricades pratiquement collées aux tables sous l’oeil impassible des vendeuses en tabliers blancs (j’en veut un!!!) Comme une de mes copines était en béquilles c’était un cauchemar et nous sommes parties apres une heure et demi d’attente en vain et non sans avoir ralé copieusement auprés de la manager Suédoise (Anne – note pour le HQ Suédois) qui s’en fichait completement. Mais la deuxieme destination le « Glory Mall » fut effectivement glorieuse. Il y avait toute la collection, enfin ce qu’il restait, plus de leggings ‘boule de disco’ mais le caban géant, (il est pas pres d’être vendu celui lá ici avec le format moyen des FIB) et tristement la version de MA veste n’était plus disponible qu’en taille 32… pratiquement la taille de ma fille de 8 ans donc. J’ai acheté une nappe sublime en lin imprimé, joué avec la veste en fourrure, pas regretté le manteau doudoune qui de l’avis de mes copines me faisait la silhouette flatteuse d’un bonhomme de neige, non,  j’ai fait ce que font les Chinoises. Je suis rentrée chez moi. J’ai acheté ma veste dans ma taille, exceptionellement au même prix qu’en boutique. Sur Taobao. Livraison lundi. http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=16380610987

Et toc.

Gabrielle.