When news broke last week of the forthcoming collaboration between Swedish fast fashion chain, H&M, and high-end Parisian queen of urban, boho-luxe, Isabel Marant, stylish girls globally tweeted, scribbled and set their alarms for the early hours of November 14th 2013. I took only a vague interest when the high street emporium was stormed in the name of Versace in 2011, or when death-by-elbow was christened as the Alber Elbaz/ Lanvin collection was unveiled in 2010. However, like all other die hard Marant fans out there I am already wishing summer away for the moment when the brand that combines effortless French chic and glamorous, ethnic influences becomes deliciously affordable.
The Marant girl is cool, exuding a head-turning but understated French allure. The designer founded her label in 1994 with just a jewelry line. However with the assistance of childhood friend, current French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt, the label blossomed. In recent years mascara-ed fashion eyes have honed in on particular elements of her collections, and these have then gone on to become certified fashion hits. First it was fur. Marant made us realise that leopard print when worn with black skinnies and glossy hair could prove tres chic, and that colourful fur was not merely the reserve of Sesame Street. Next came her revolutionary ‘Dicker’ boots, which, though essentially glorified cowboy shoes, reminded women that boots are made for walking. Naturally, Kate, Rosie, and the whole world caught on to what has become a wardrobe staple (or at least for me!). Around the same time Marant’s exquisite and luxuriant tribal-esque pieces, including skirts, shorts, jeans and knitwear reached the attention of editors and celebrities who loved their eco connotations. Finally, last year it was the wedge trainer that spawned a thousand high street copies. These leg-lengthening, high-heeled sneakers were so genius, yet also so blatantly simple it was a mystery no one had thought of them before. Being able to see the wood for the trees in fashion, the wearable from the frivolous, is a talent that Marant holds, and it is this natural business nous that makes the collaboration ideal. Indeed, she has the ability to identify the next most covetable clothing item in the same way that Mulberry’s Emma Hill can select the next must have tote.
Kate Moss in an Isabel Marant campaign and fur coat.
Autumn/Winter 2011/12 Catwalk Goat Hair Coat
Former and current French Vogue editors, Carine Roitfeld and Emmanuelle Alt, in Isabel Marant fur.
My Marant-inspired boohoo.com fur coat.
A blogger in Isabel Marant’s famous multi-coloured fur gilet.
Spring/ Summer 2012 Catwalk Tribal Knit
Navajo jeans from the Autumn/ Winter 2011/12 Collection
The popular Wedge Trainers.
A blogger and Miranda Kerr in Marant’s designs.
The sell-out ‘Dicker’ boot.
Kate Bosworth and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in theirs.
My £20 ebay.co.uk Marant-inspired steals.
My personal adoration of season after season of Marant catwalk creations are their effortless mixture of luxe bohemian with urban chic. Runway to Rue de Rivoli, all pieces are ultimately wearable. “I aim to create something real, that women want to wear in their everyday lives, with a certain carelessness, which I think is very Parisian”. And born and bred in the French capital boy would Marant know. The designer shies away from the pretentious ostentation and circus that surrounds and can occasionally ruin the collections of other labels. Unlike Chanel and Yves Saint Lauren, Isabel Marant is relevant to the youth and the Street, and is accessible in a way that the traditional French fashion houses have long ceased to be. Simple but clever is why Marant and other newer French brands, particularly Balmain, and let’s admit it, the whole female French population, do sartorially so well. In an interview for the collaboration and dressed in a casual paper white sweater, leather side-popper leggings and hair elegantly in a chic bun, Marant notes, “I am a very representative French girl. My clothes are speaking better about me than anything”.
Isabel Marant’s Spring/ Summer 2013 and Autumn/ Winter 2013/14 collections may provide some clues to what we should expect to be buying come November. In addition to well-designed footwear, my bets are on luxurious knits, peasant blouses and cropped trousers. Here are Muse For Fashion’s favourite looks from her previous two collections.
Spring/ Summer 2013
Autumn/ Winter 2013/14
So how will this much anticipated joining of forces actually pan out for both parties? Despite previously denouncing the high street, and particularly its designer imitations as “vulgar”, Marant claims she was “flattered” to be approached, and follow in the footsteps of an impressive roll call of haute designer names, including Karl Lagerfeld. The appeal is of course no doubt commercial on all sides, including that of the customer who can now spend tens of pounds on a swathe of Marant rather than thousands. Expect the usual long snaking queues and sell-outs before noon, oh, and clothing and accessories for men for the first time in Marant’s career. Expect, also, true Marant-ites to get to the tills first, in their low-heeled, but ultimately fabulous ‘Dickers’.