Not Just another Collaboration – How I styled Kenzo x H&M
H&M designer collaborations rarely disappoint and the hype surrounding the collections is usually warranted. However, the Balmain x H&M collaboration came with a price tag too hefty for my champagne-on-a-shoestring budget. Short of re-mortgaging my house (oh wait, I don’t have a house), I was loathe to spend €500 on a dress fit for the Fair City Christmas ‘do’ at Lillie’s Bordello. Suffice to say, I was not a huge fan. Since Olivier Rousteing took the reins at Balmain, the brand has been inextricably linked with the Kardashian/Jenner clan; its smoulderingly unabashed sex appeal championed by heavily embellished body-con dresses, plunging v-neck tuxedo jackets and military style perfectly apt for Rousteing’s ‘model army’ of Hadid and co. While I love my ‘squad’ and would most certainly hashtag #goals under a picture of my girl crew, the Balmain x H&M collection is not ideal attire for the old man’s pubs we frequent on a regular basis. Note to self: Must get invited to more awards ceremonies. How I styled Kenzo x H&M required minimal effort; the hard-working jumper did all the talking. I injected accents of personality in the smallest details (the milkmaid braids and veiled beanie) without detracting attention from the main event.
Jungle Fever: How I styled Kenzo x H&M
When news came that Kenzo would collaborate with H&M, I did a little dance of glee! I rejoiced when I saw the lookbook; a smorgasbord of wild and wacky print and statement pieces sure to repel almost all men (my main goal when dressing myself daily). Green and pink together (my two favourite colours) shouldn’t work but it does. The bell sleeve-du-jour hones in on the Renaissance muse as promulgated by Alessandro Michele at Gucci and the tiered peplum hides a multitude of excess – it’s a win/win situation! Bye bye boyfriends, hello bagel baby, you had me at poppyseed! How I styled Kenzo x H&M was neither a compromise of my style nor comfort – the jumper is cosy enough for a duvet day, dressy enough for date night (with a hipster; Barrister Barry would most likely be abhorred by the garish colours and lack of figure-hugging lycra). Brew Dog IPA at the Bernard Shaw – check. Tom Collins at Peruke and Periwig – uncheck.
The Little Prints: How I styled Kenzo x H&M
The Kenzo x H&M collection does not do prints for beginners. It’s loud and fierce – wallflowers need not apply. Most of the collection is extremely oversized: Reversible flared trousers (floral/green) looked amazing on curvier women while a black shirt (plain except for an embellished tiger on the collar) could work on casual Fridays at the office for more a more subdued dresser. But conservative Conceptas should probably steer clear. The hero piece of the collection was the ethnic dress as worn in the campaign by Chloe Sevigny – meshing peasant vibes with a voluminous silhouette, it was the dress everyone was talking about. This print was also available in a top which, at €70 was a lot more affordable and versatile than the dress which retailed at €299. My height at 5 foot 2 was a major factor in how I styled Kenzo x H&M – anything too flared or voluminous would have overwhelmed my petite frame. I teamed my Kenzo x H&M jumper with this Archive x Alexa (for M&S) vinyl skirt but it works equally well with skinny jeans and converse for a more casual OOTD or with black skinnies and over-the-knee boots for an evening look. Stay tuned to see how I styled Kenzo x H&M ethnic print top in an upcoming blog post.
Anatomy of the Shoot:
Photos: Neal Byrne
Jumper: Kenzo x H&M, available on Ebay, here.
Skirt: Archive x Alexa for M&S skirt, sold out online but spotted in several stores in Dublin.
Veiled beanie: Dunnes, current collection.