Maison Martin Margiela: Too Edgy for H&M?

Maison Martin Margiela’s capsule line for H&M has set off quite the uproar in the fashion world. While the vast majority are thrilled about the collaboration, a handful have been snobbishly disapproving, decrying the move as "selling out." In their mind, Maison Martin Margiela is a brand so niche, so edgy and so insider that to team up with a fast-fashion behemoth with over 2,500 shops to its name is an unacceptable affront to its enigmatic roots. Business of Fashion posted a fairly provocative op-ed arguing that very point here.

Want to know what I thought when I heard the news? Meh. Sure, I’m a fan of Maison Martin Margiela – I think its Beijing shop has one of the coolest storefronts in Sanlitun Village North, even though it has the likes of Balmain, Alexander Wang and Lanvin to contend with – but H&M designer collaborations have by now ceased to excite me. People wait in line for hours before opening, and for what? There’s no chance in hell I’m that devoted, so I’m stuck with the pieces that no one else wants. The most I’ll do is check out the photos online, to ogle at the extent of design a high-end couturier can do on a mass-production scale.

And that is exactly the point. I love seeing innovation coming out of new confines that a designer may not have had the chance to work within before. But even more than that – despite the fact that designer collaborations are over-hyped and may not pay due "respect" to the fashion field – the concept is still brilliant in terms of attracting publicity for both parties involved. In China, where Louis Vuitton bags and fake bling run rampant, crowds will pack out the shops on the day of the launch, just like anywhere else in the world.

For those of you with more initiative and energy than I, here is a complete list of locations where MMM for H&M will be available in China from November 15 and on. (Beijingers, note that while previous limited-edition collections were limited to H&M's Qianmen and Xidan branches, this time they have been moved to the relatively unknown Glory Mall along with the less-popular Solana, which last I heard is undergoing an ambitious makeover.) Happy shopping!

Shanghai:  淮海中路店,  Nanjing Xilu (南京西路店),  正大广

Beijing:  Glory Mall (国瑞购物中心店), Solana (北京色港湾店)

Guangzhou:  中广

Shenzhen:  万象城店

Hangzhou:  万象城店

Chengdu:  太广

Chongqing:  北城天街店

Harbin:  金安欧巴广

Changsha:  悦方ID MALL


UPDATE: 5.29pm on November 15, 2012

H&M just sent me photos from earlier today at their Shanghai stores.


 According to their press release, eager patrons began lining up at around 7am.


This is the type of madhouse I was referring to earlier – totally not worth it, right??


The calm before the storm. The clothes look tantalizingly pristine. If you hadn't first seen the photo above, you would've been tempted to wait, no?