We came to H&M:s flagship store at Hamngatan just before the doors were about to open for the launch of Isabel Marant pour H&M. Margareta van den Bosch joined us for a quick interview and an inside view of the spectacle that started almost 10 years ago with Karl Lagerfeld, head designer for both Chanel and Fendi. The Creative Advisor and former Head Designer for H&M looked happy and excited, painting a picture of a less rigid brand, speaking of how improvised the very first collaboration was…
How did it all start?
The marketing department wanted something else than just the big underwear campaign before Christmas, and somebody there came up with the idea of a guest designer. We were not the first to do it though, but it sounded like fun. And then somebody knew Karl, and said that he is always up for new things, and he said yes. From the beginning we thought that we could do it perhaps a couple of times, maybe three at most, but here we are again!
What number is this in line of the famous designer collaborations H&M have done every year since then?
It´s hard to count actually, this year and the previous year with Margiela we only have had one but we have had up to three in one year. I think I must sit down and count to figure it out actually.
You have had an exceptional eye for detecting designer talent, predicting some of the biggest designers today. How do you pick designers for collaborations?
I think I have always been a bit of a talent scout, since my years as head of designer. We look at the designers in the big picture and of course young designers as well. We are always keeping an eye out for new talent, but for the designer collaborations we always want to do something unexpected. Margiela is a bit odd and avant-garde, but Marant is more accessible.
What do you think signifies Isabel Marant?
She is not just a designer, she is also a great stylist. One of the things that makes this collection exceptional is the different choices of materials and structures that stand in contrast to each other. Thick & thin, glossy and matte. And then there is the french style that everybody tries to achieve. My latest collaboration is almost always my favorite, and Isabel Marant have been so much fun to work with.
How engaged is H&M in the design process in these collaborations?
The designer is most responsible for developing the collection themselves, but we have had several meetings. Isabel Marant have chosen the fabrics herself, and we have sourced the textiles and are producing bigger quantities which makes it possible for us to get better prices.
What does H&M want to achieve with these collections?
We do great products in these collections. We want to show that great pieces don´t have to cost a fortune, – value for money. And we are going to keep doing this until people get tired of it, and they don´t seem to have just yet if we take a look at the line outside.
By Simone Brenemark Molvidson
Photos Carolina Sundström