Thursday, 5 November 2015

Balmain x H&M - Irish Pre-Launch

I imagine lots of people are, by now, already disappointed. Compared to others years of H&M collaborations, this was, by far, the most chaotic that I've ever seen and stuff is selling out fast.

At the pre-launch party last night, I waited in line for an hour and a rather well-known Irish television personality stood behind me for the same length of time. No exceptions were being made to skip, no matter how pretty the face or convincing the sob story. As we neared the top of the queue we were regretfully informed that everything in the womenswear collection had already sold out and wouldn't be restocked until the morning. We could return then to line up again but no guarantees could be offered then either.

Cue the bonding moment when you're so outraged (mostly with ourselves for lining up to give people our money), that you suddenly have ferocious conversations with the strangers around you, all nodding in agreement at how outraged you are and, for one moment, utterly on the same page.

After so long in a queue - something I never do for anything, mind you - I decided to persevere and head inside, even just for a look. Wonderfully, however, the menswear collection still had a sizeable amount of stock (by comparison) which suited me as they were slightly more restrained and really more my cup of tea.

The bustling chaos inside wasn't any better than out and the crowds meant that decent blog photos weren't going to happen and I quickly became far too warm. I grabbed a long-sleeved black tee and a pair of sweat pants and paid for said purchases before promptly leaving.

When I stepped back out into the cool air outside and the adrenaline dissipated, I suddenly questioned everything I'd just done. I was once a devoted Balmain fan but, in the ten years since then, my style has changed considerably. I don't really do body-con or sequins anymore. And, originally, when I heard of the collection, I wasn't particularly interested. This was a sharp contrast to last year's Alexander Wang (to whom I remain utterly devoted, even all these years later) collection, for which I went insane and spent the whole pre-launch party running around the shelves like an utter lunatic.

Then more images of the clothes came out. The hype built. And, I'll admit, I fell for it. I also wanted to cover it for the blog. To be "relevant".

I walked down the street with my purchases, which I had spent rather a lot of money on for what they were and which I had lined up for an hour to buy, and I wondered if I even wanted them. When I'm trying to be better about ethical shopping and waste, had I just gotten so caught up in the madness that I had forgotten myself entirely?

I considered this as I walked home and the second I arrived at the flat, I threw off my clothes and tried the new pieces on. The tee is an overly-long men's large and, therefore, fits like a dress. The thin, soft fabric fell gently against my skin, skimming over my body but giving me room to breathe, just the way I like it. It looked great, was something I instantaneously knew I'd wear to death. I let loose a breath, not a waste so far. In fact, I was rather enamoured.

The pants are, surprisingly, 100% wool. This made me consider them with a slightly different eye. Close inspection proved them to be rather well-made and throwing them on with a white tee and navy blazer was a super-easy way of getting the effortless, somewhat masculine, French cool girl look.

I relaxed again. Both pieces were utterly me and things I know I'll wear until they fall apart as I did with the Isabel Marant collection and am continuing to do with the Alexander Wang collection.

I still feel a little like I let myself be brainwashed and I'm not proud of that. And I can imagine that were the line shorter or I further ahead, and the full range before me, that the same chaotic environment might have encouraged me to spend more money on things I wasn't completely sold on. My saving grace, really, was circumstance that meant my limited options happened to be the simpler pieces others were overlooking but which were far more "me" than the flashy, super-eighties pieces.

So, what do I take away from all this? It basically underlines and emphasises what I've been realising lately, that blogging can open you up to becoming a slave to what's trending and what people want to read about, rather than what you're passionate about. And, the thing is, I started all this because of passion. That passion is what first drew people here and I can't forget it or lose myself.







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  1. I have to say I agree with your concern about getting 'sucked in' to the fashion frenzy. Last night was insane, I've never seen people so frantic for clothes - and so many empty rails. But I also agree that the quality was worth the price points. So funny my Mother is in your photo of the cash points paying! x

    1. Hah! No way, that's gas! It was utter madness alright!