When you think of H&M, it’s easy to think only of its retail chain locations, but there is more to it than that. The H&M Conscious Exclusive lines feature higher-end looks, and this season there are even some bridal looks included in the collection. But the most significant aspect of this branch is that each piece is constructed using sustainable materials; more so than the standard branch of H&M. The latest H&M Conscious Exclusive 2016 collection was inspired by the archives of the Arts Décoratifs museum in Paris, and consists of 33 pieces of clothing and accessories in total. It was at the museum where this line was staged on Thursday.
This collection is a prelude, of sorts, to “Fashion Forward –Three Centures of Fashion,” the next upcoming exhibit to be hosted in the museum, which is being sponsored solely by H&M. The exhibit is such a beautiful concept, as it will be showing how fashion has changed from 1715 to 2015, and will be featuring a look from H&M’s 2004 collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld, as well as a coat and dress from this most recent line.
“It will be amazing to be part of such an exhibition,” said H&M creative adviser Ann-Sofie Johansson. “I think the exhibition will have impact on fashion for a few seasons to come.”
So the collection is making an impact on the mingling between art and fashion, but also on the world, due to its eco-friendly intentions. For instance, a great deal of the fabric from this collection has been recycled.
“The jacquard is from an 18th-century textile and the cuttings are from an old riding coat,” Johansson said, speaking of the coat that was selected for the exhibit. “We had to make it a modern piece. That’s the tricky thing: to take something from another century and make a modern shape.”
And the other selected piece was an organic silk wedding dress inspired by the Art Déco period. There were only three bridal pieces in the collection, which was a first for the brand, and all embroideries were made by using recycled glass – an astounding realization, with what the finished product is. And the best part about the H&M wedding dresses is their surprising level of versatility.
“We call them wedding dresses, but you don’t have to marry to wear them. I don’t want to marry, but I want to wear the lace dress anyway,” said Johansson, of the high-necked Edwardian dress. The dress is quite lovely, and would look great in a more casual wedding, but as such would look cute as a springtime dress as well. From a well-known clothing retailer, such could be expected.
Other than these select pieces, there are some fabulous shoes and accessories in the line, as well as other art-inspired garments. A pair of black slip on shoes is casual without a heel, while earrings are also on the same page. Made of recycled denim – or Denimite – they look as though they would be heavy, but are remarkably light. “The fiber is made with old denim that is shredded and mixed into an organic resin,” said head of sustainability Anna Gedda. “You would think that it’s heavy. … but it’s very light.”
The H&M Conscious bridal 2016 collection will go live on April 7 in 180 stores around the world, as well as online, and will happen at the same time as the exhibition’s debut. There is a wide array for the prices, as you will find a pair of the clip earrings for $16.65, or one of the bridal dresses for $554. And with a new collection, of course we can look forward to an ad campaign. Julia Restoin Roitfeld looks stunning in each of the looks, and her campaign will hit magazines later on in March, before being seen in stores when the collection is released in April.
Photos courtesy of H&M