Camille Over the Rainbow

When conceptual style meets democratic fashionWednesday, October 10 2012





When highstreet King H&M announced in June thename of the next fashion house to design acapsule collection for them, the worldcame to a halt, if only for a moment … myself included.Many advanced that, had the highly elusive eponymous designer not left the building, Maison Martin Margielawould never have sold its avant-garde soul to the purveyor of disposable fashion. Was this not the very antithesis ofwhat the creator of this legendary house had stood for? And how could MMM’s radicaluniverse be translated into something that would appeal to the masses? The wholeinitiativecould go very wrong, in more ways than one. Another concern, as I pointed out when I first heard the news, was that this would turn into a case of slapping a MMM/anonymous label on a basic white tee, and retailing for 100 quid a pop.

But the 23-piece collection has in fact remainedsurprisingly faithfulto the essence of the brand. So faithful in fact that, according to British Vogue,it is made up of iconic re-editions from the Maison’s archive. Even the campaign, photographed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, plays up to the brand’ssignature mysteriousaesthetic, with the decor echoing what I hear the rue St Maur’s former convent looks likeon the inside – though here it is not the furniture obscured by dust covers, but the parked cars on the street. And it goes on. Conceptual attire is to be expected, like the faux-foil metallic candy clutch reworked from SS’10, or the sock sweater that was imagined for AW’91. Forget mainstream, ambiguity will play a leading role throughout with a’vertical dress’ (see above, campaign image No2), invisible pumps, and the inside-out bra body from SS’07, all set to make a comeback. New shapes, exaggerated volumes and complex layers will be offered-upfor grabs at bargain prices.Now all that remains is to find out what fabrics have been used. The success of the enterprise rests on this alone, I’m sure. Meanwhile, let’s embrace the opportunity, even if deep down we know that this was not meant tohappen. I for one will definitely be joining the ranks on November 15th.