Here’s an unexpected one: Giambattista Valli is H&M's latest design collaboration. The Swedish fast fashion giant and the Italian-born Paris-based designer, who maintains a long list of celebrity fans of his ready-to-wear and couture collection, unveiled their impending partnership on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday with the help of Kendall Jenner, mega-influencer Chiara Ferragni, Italian socialite/model Bianca Brandolini, Chinese musician Chris Lee, and American singers H.E.R. and Ross Lynch.
A preliminary drop of the collection, consisting of just 9 pieces, will be available at 12 select H&M stores and on hm.com beginning on this weekend, leading up to when the full collection hits stores and online on November 7. According to Vogue, prices will range from $17.99 to $649.
The collection is the latest in H&M’s long line of designer partnerships, which have ranged over the years from collabs with Karl Lagerfeld, its first back in November 2004, and Lanvin to Alexander Wang and Versace.
H&M and other mass-market brands that have engaged in such collabs have reaped sizable benefits, including an influx of media impressions and the prospect of tempting both new and existing consumers into their stores and onto their websites. While at least some of these often-limited collections have sold out, more often than not, mass-market giants use the increase in consumer attention to pull something of a bait-and-switch and sell consumers their other, more traditional (and less pricey) offerings, whether it be affordable summer dresses or low-cost H&M jeans and household items and apparel basics in the case of Target.
Taking it a step further, Target, specifically, has used its glossy, big-name collaborations to help achieve its goal of raising the average unit retail prices in its apparel business for both collaboration and non-collaboration garments.
As for what is in such an unusual partnership for Mr. Valli: in exchange for lending his name and gigantic tulle dresses to the masses, he gets a big paycheck. In the past, H&M has reportedly paid its high fashion collaborations upwards of $1 million in exchange for the right to use their names and branding.