From the looks of it, H&M has been busy in quarantine. In August, the Swedish fashion brand announced a collaboration with Beirut-based designer Sandra Mansour, followed by a sustainable partnership with Italian fashion house Giuliva Heritage and a autumn fashion collection made using organic and recycled materials. On Thursday, came the big finale: H&M AW20 Studio collection. If you aren’t familiar, H&M releases two Studio collections a year — one in the autumn and another in the spring — each of which includes the brand’s most quality and fashion-forward offerings of the season. And despite their busy schedule, no boxes were left unchecked for this latest release.
For the autumn Studio collection, Linda Wikell, H&M Studio’s Concept Designer, had two muses in mind: ‘80s superstar David Bowie and 19th-century British writer Violet Paget. Together, their influences brought forth “The Refined Rebel,” a fictional H&M shopper “whose style is as daring as their attitude,” the press release states. “[David Bowie’s] Rebel, Rebel track was on repeat in the studio and we wanted to capture his fearlessness and his gender-bending style in this collection,” Wikell tells Refinery29. “Violet Paget, too. Her style was polished and slick but she was a total rebel — wearing menswear in the 19th century! Both are beacons of self-expression and we loved their rebellious energy, as well as their style.”
The collection features a combination of tailored suiting with signature styles from glam and punk. Oversized blazers with cut-off sleeves, red leather pants, a sequin sweater vest, and a glimmering ‘70s-esque two-piece set are all included in the 44-piece selection, which also houses knee-high go-go boots, a multicolored Florentine silk scarf, and a pair of moss-green padded sandals.
According to Wikell, the autumn Studio collection was already under way when lockdown started. “Luckily for us, the fabrics — recycled Italian wools, Italian leather, organic cottons — we’d chosen for this collection were unaffected,” she says. Her team’s biggest challenge, though, came after the collection was complete. “The Studio campaign had to be styled and shot remotely, which was a completely new format for us,” she says. “But it worked perfectly. Our collection is about self-expression and identity so it was fitting to have our talents (who were all over the world) create their own image and looks.”
For the campaign, H&M gave the reins over to Euphoria actress and model Barbie Ferreira; Berlin-based fashion editor Veronika Heilbrunner; British-Jamaican soul singer Celeste; American fashion model Alton Mason; French visual artists and couple, the Young Emperors; and Mia Kong, Dazed China’s Style Director, by allowing them to style and shoot pieces in whatever way they choose.
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