Stars in one person’s eyes is quite enough to be dealing with, but the entire Kardashian/Olivier Rousteing fan club descending on H&M in London is quite another. I’m not sure how ‘Kris Jenner’ these shades make me look, but one thing’s for sure the company I was keeping yesterday made it quite clear that I couldn’t pass for Kendall.
I’ve done over half of these designer at H&M collaborations over the years from Madonna to Wang but the reaction and response to yesterday’s Balmain collection in the Managing Director of H&M UK’s own words was ‘Unprecedented.’
I’d started off slow. 7am found me at Westfield White City where there were not one but two enormous queues, and the coveted wristbands that give you a time slot to shop for 10 minutes had all been handed out already.
Extraordinarily disorganised, the tone was set for the rest of the morning. ‘You’re too late’ I was told by an H&M employee. ‘The collection will be sold out by 12pm and we’ve just allocated the last time slot to shop.’
In for a penny, in for a brain freeze desire for a large coffee – this is not a time of day I’m used to getting up at, I headed into town.
Arriving at Regent Street (approx. 8am) I was told no wristbands had been given out at all yet in central London. Another H&M spokesperson told me to head to the Oxford Circus branch as ‘The queue is smaller there.’
No sooner said than done: The ‘smaller’ queue stretched both ways around the block. Throngs – in fact let’s call it a virtual stampede – of average age 25 year olds – tried to make some sense of it all. A predominance of male ‘shoppers’ added an aggressive element. Security guards looked wild eyed and terrified. One started handing out green wristbands willy nilly. All’s fair in love and a fashionista war, and having missed the press preview, I felt justified. 10.50 – 11.00 am was my slot.
I took a break to fix my frazzled head. Arriving back at the scene at 10.30am I spotted police and an even larger more angry crowd. Someone tried to sell a green wristband for £500 two minutes before 10.50.
Is this what FOMO does to us all? Or is the desire for the ‘hard to get’ a habit we’ll never kick?
Eventually I found myself with searing focus amongst the holy grail of a collection that eclipses anything else on the planet fashion wise for that moment in time.
I found the exit through an eerily deserted store (closed due to health and safety concerns) and got talking to an elegant poised gentleman on the way out. “You’re ‘someone’ here, aren’t you?” I asked. We chatted for a while. Carlos was interested in my experience. “We never anticipated this sort of demand” he told me. I asked him if he realised how many Instagram followers Kendall Jenner had. It was quite the most human and refreshing experience I’d had all day: Very H&M, not so Kardashian at all.