H&M has pulled out all the stops for its latest offer under the Conscious banner with the new Conscious Exclusive Collection looking more ‘fashion’ than the average ‘eco’ line-up.
It’s more about glam dresses than basic T-shirts or planet-friendly fatigues. And in that respect, it takes a big step forward – it means eco has been normalised as part of fashion rather than being something oh-so-worthy that has to have a touch of the hair shirt about it.
So, what do we get? “A modern collection full of historic charm, made with more sustainable materials,” we’re told. It’s fronted by Julia Restoin Roitfeld and certainly does have a couture/fashion-is-all-that-counts look, despite materials that include organic silk, hemp, and recycled linen.
Also in there are new innovative materials such as beads and rhinestones made from recycled glass and Denimite − a material made out of recycled worn-out denim, which H&M is the first fashion company to use.
There are also three wedding dressing in there, and some of the other pieces are eminently wedding-worthy too.
The collection was launched to coincide with the opening of the exhibition Fashion Forward – 300 years of Fashion at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, which H&M is sponsoring and to which it pays homage with “an idea of painterly and sophisticated elegance”.
Yes, that might sound a little errmm, overblown, I’m sure. But there’s a justification. The H&M design team has delved into the museum’s collections of archive fashion in order to pick up key pieces from the last three centuries of haute couture. The result is a really good assortment of day and evening pieces that will be in 180 stores worldwide and online from April 7.
Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M, and her team have come up with some dramatic dresses, kaftans (not so sure about those, to be honest) and sculpted skirts. What’s key though is the print story that adds a surprise edge, turning dresses into trompe l’oeil paintings or sculptures.
A long dress that’s nothing short of a ball gown with a deep neckline features a marble draping print, while a fluid dress is printed with a slice of Botticelli’s Three Graces. More wearable if you’re not off to a ball or walking up the aisle are short dresses and painter blouses, and a mini asymmetric dress inspired by a painting by Gustave Moreau.
There’s a huge range of prices starting from €19.99 for earrings up to €499 for a wedding dress (although most of the collection goes from around €40 up to just short of €200).