Mar 9, 2012

High Adventure With Marni at H+M on the High Street, London.

No account of a holiday I go on would be complete without news of some completely crazy thing I did in the name of fashion.  And so it came to be that the crazy clothes story for London revolves around Marni's collaboration with H&M or more precisely, Marni at H + M.

Even by my standards, my preparation and research for my assault on the collaboration was intense.  Before leaving Sydney, I'd google mapped all the H+M's in London that would be stocking the collection.  Then I thought of the online option and planned to go etail from my hotel room on the day with a newly acquired UK postal address.  Unfortunately, that plan came unstuck when customer service politely informed me that foreign credit cards are invalid for H+M's UK website.

So I had to go back to my original plan of going in store (at least I didn't have to worry about the website potentially crashing with the surge in traffic).  As March 8 got closer, I stalked the stores more closely for information until this protocol for shopping on the morning of the release was revealed.  That's right, there is a colour coded, time limited system of entry to shop womenswear only. Ten minutes per group with each person only allowed to pick up one of each item.  It is fair, I suppose and the precise rules do add to the fun.

The best source of information about H+M in London appears to be in the form of signage or online becuase the sales assistants on the floor could do more than sigh a 'yessssss' whenever I asked them a question.

Needless to say, the build up in London has been intense.  Marie Claire featured pieces in several stories for their April 2012 issue.  Speaking of Marie Claire UK, I am loving the small sized format of their magazine.  It's perfect for reading on public transport or when sitting on the pavement in single digit temperatures.  Rumours were circulating here that there would be mayhem on the streets of London when the range debuted.  I've heard stories about the lines for previous launches stretching blocks up the street for all H+M stores from very early in the morning.

20 GBP worth of hat and cookie monster blue gloves.
So I found myself this fetching and very tactile combination at Lillywhite, a local sporting good discounter.  A good place to know in the city for when you find yourself short of appropriate clothing for whatever temperature conditions London wishes to throw at you for that particular day.

I also plotted my metro and DLR trip to the nanosecond as I'm now based in Canary Wharf for the rest of my time in London (which is sadly only 2 more days).  I left the hotel at 5.15am, striding confidently to the train station after having done some endurance training at the gym in preparation for  Marni Mayhem but it was not to be.  The trains only started at 6.15am.  There must have been something in the frost because I kind cab driver was waiting outside the station and we were on our way, chatting like old friends as he promised not to judge me and my dedication to shopping.

On the pavement of Regent Street in a heavily discounted Jaeger coat that I just knew would match my Cookie Monster gloves.
Well, I was number 16 or so in the line.  Not bad for a 6am arrival time.  The ladies at the head of the queue were there at 10pm the night before with only a couple of stools from the store to keep them company.  I made a few friends  in the line as we shared newspapers (for sitting on) and war stories about previous collaborations.  Call my crazy (why not, Mr SSG already has numerous times today from the warmth of our hotel room) but chatting in line was probably the best bit of the morning for me.

Around 7.30am, a team of H+M staffers (the nicest ones I've met in the whole of London), slid out the front door and greeted us warmly (in the fashionista meaning of the word which means an effusive smile and that they wore very warm black coats but no hot coffee or donuts).

My new friends and I all scored the golden (red actually) ticket.  Wrist bands for the first entry to the mother ship store.  With a bounce to our step, we parted company until the appointed time, 9.10am.

The queue at the H + M down the road was a little more hectic but nothing like the pandemonium of years gone by.  Perhaps everyone really was at home and online.

Planning where to head first from behind the barricade.
We regrouped just before 9 and were lead to the lower level of the store where wrist bands were checked again and the Marni collection was cordoned off.  The rules were repeated and apologies made by the staff for items which were not available today.

You have No Idea how stressful it is shopping for Australia in 10 minutes.  Especially when there was a count down in the back ground.  It was a challenge finding my size and as you will see later, many of the accessories were packed in green boxes, making them difficult to distinguish quickly.  It was like being on a game show or The Hunger Games (less than 2 weeks to go, people, less than 2 weeks) and in the end I forgot my mental shopping list and just grabbed what I could.

I will say that the staff were very friendly and helpful today.  I must have caught them at the end of long shifts on other days.  They made valiant attempts to run out for sizes (you could only ask for a different size not an item once you hit the change rooms).

There was damage.  Quite a bit of damage.  Do not be fooled by the number of glossy perspex bags.  One of them is half full of the Marni hangers and garment bag the sales assistant gave me.

Silk scarf with rolled hem, 20 GBP.

Rumours about the quality of the fabrics turned out to be true.  There was plenty of silk used with leather trim for many of the accessories.  I'm not a regular H+M customer (this was my first actual purchase) but I felt that the quality of the collection was superior to the standard H+M lines.  This was reflected in the pricing.  Though still reasonable, most items were around twice what you'd pay for non collaboration H+M.

See what I mean about the perspex boxes?  It was the last thing I needed on my 10 minute challenge.

The necklace on the left has a leather trim.
The necklaces ranged in price from 25 - 35 GBP.

I went to town on the bangles.  They look very much like the main line but at 20 GBP or so each, I felt a bit better about buying them.  Because they're also pretty sturdy, they're perfect for work.

I can see them featuring in many an arm party in the coming months.

Cropped navy and cream jacket.  By the time I got to the rack, there were no matching skirts left.
Where do I start with the clothes?  The price range for the items I bought was 60 - 70 GBP.  The styles are much bolder than what I usually wear but the cuts were so flattering and quirky I found it hard to resist.  The pressure cooker shopping conditions may also have contributed to the riot of colour and print that has now found its way into my wardrobe.

Print skirt.
 I hear it's been raining cats and dogs back in Sydney.  Perhaps this print will get the sun shining?

Ruffle front zip cardigan.
The knits were available in this green and also a black colour way.  Surprisingly, the green worked better for me.
Silk and cotton cardigan.
This was the one piece that made me put some serious effort into getting to a store today.  I'm so glad I found it in my size.

Print dress with contrasting back and tie detail at the neck.
This dress is silk but an alternate version had a pale blue print on it and was made of cotton poplin.  I love the hangers designed for the collection.  I also know that they're going to be a pain to pack in my suitcase.  I'll have to find a way.

Marni at H+M garment bag.

Lining up for an H+M collaboration and managing to get my hands on most of what I wanted (thankfully it was only 'most'), another thing to tick off on my bucket list.


  1. Leanne Shea LangdownMarch 9, 2012 at 6:24 AM

    Ohhh Emm Geee SSG.  You are dedicated. I had no idea who/what/where you were talking about in that post but under the pressure cooking circumstances I stayed with you till the end.  Marni who? Are they like the ultimate rock band of the fashion world? Or perhaps the Apple/iPhone of the fashion world? I can understand though, now that I've seen your purchases. I bow to you.  You did a bloody good job in ten minutes.  You'd definitely qualify for the fashion Olympics ....

  2. Sigh. SO JEALOUS!

  3. Wow, what a challenge! 10 minutes?!  I think I would have crumbled under the pressure. I love your comparison to The Hunger Games, so true I think! Love your purchases, I only wish there was a way for us here back home to get our mits on these goods!

  4. Well done that is some serious shopping in 10 minutes!Somehow getting up early for things always makes them more special.  Now if only I could get my other half to believe that.

  5. That's some sensational shopping there SSG! I especially love the bangles, cropped jacket and silk print dress! Envy!

  6. How exciting! It looks like you have made some significant additions to your wardrobe there. So many beautiful items!

    K xxx

  7. MotherhoodcareerfashionMarch 9, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    Can't wait to see you wearing all your new purchases!!!

  8. Thanks for sharing! What a fun story and your haul is tres impressive. Can't wait to see it all in rotation! Have a safe trip home. L xx

  9. Great selection of items, you did really well! :)

  10. Very nice! I like the scarf a lot, and the print on the skirt is great.

  11. High five woman - great buys! The website was impossible to get onto and if I hadn't had to go to work I'd have been chancing my luck at the store (though a 6am start is dedication).  I wanted that purple polka dot jacket and skirt but the skirt was out of stock by the time I got online (as was all the gorgeous jewellery) so I passed on buying anything in the end, but can't wait to see the jacket on you!


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