Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Versace at H&M Cardiff (or the day I got up at 4.45am for fashion)

Two of the lovely ladies at the Versace
for H&M opening, Cardiff
Editor's note: I know I promised I wouldn't talk about Versace for H&M anymore but...er...sorry!

One cold (bloomin’ freezing actually) day in November, I was given the opportunity to visit H&M Cardiff to report on the Versace collaboration’s first day in-store. This is the story of what happened to me the very first time I went to a high street collaboration opening.

At 4.30AM on Thursday 17 November, I dragged my poor other half out of our cosy bed and pushed him into the car, demanding that we hurry to catch the 6AM train to the bright lights of the Welsh capital. After much deliberation (and Twitter watching the night before) I figured 7AM was a safe bet to get to the Hayes’ store – I’d be, what, in the first hundred or so, right?

Wrong. I marched off that train, shaking with excitement and chilliness (it was prepare for the weather or prepare for 3 hours of queueing with fashion fanatics – guess what I chose). As I rounded the corner, I thought my eyes must have deceived me: there couldn’t have been more than 10 (10!) people outside. Where were the queues? Where were the maniacs crying that they wished they’d gone to London to see Donatella? How was I going to get photos of the massive queues of 10 PEOPLE?!

The 'queue'
Once I’d calmed down (and popped into a conveniently placed Starbucks next door for a caffeine hit), I realised what I was up against: three ladies who had camped out (more on them later) and a few younger girls wrapped up in cute winter jackets. Surely I’d be able to pick up some of the covetable accessories from the collab with only a few in front of me? Brilliant.

As time went on (and my mood improved with more hastily bought skinny cappuccinos), I began to chat to my excitable co-queuers about what they thought of the Versace/H&M pieces. Most were still hugely enthusiastic after seeing the window displays but some (er, apologies Donatella...) thought it looked kind of cheap. Like school skirt fabric cheap.

Cheap or chic?
Regardless, rumours were rife: would there be menswear inside? What sizes were available? Could anyone see any friggin’ printed leggings?? We whiled away the hours debating what to buy and comparing fashion sense and previous H&M collaboration buys (my Swedish Hasbeens were trumped by a model turned scientist who had picked up a Lanvin dress on sale).

The first group (the three ladies who had camped out to be at the front of a queue of what was eventually 25ish long) went in at 9.05AM. To say that they raided the place would be an understatement. I’m pretty sure they picked up one of everything. Each. I heard a sales assistant saying that one woman alone had spent £1600 on pieces from the collection – she said she was buying for her daughter, make of that what you will.

By the time I went in with the second group of five the shelves were looking a little sparse. I'd promised myself that I’d only pick up accessories and managed to stick true to my word – although that did mean I ended up spending £40 on what transpired to be some quite cheap jewellery. And when I say cheap, I mean cheap. They look amazing from afar but up close you can see the production marks in the base metal and I'm pretty sure they're going to turn my wrists green. That being said though, I still love them. L-O-V-E love them. Ah, the fickle nature of fashion.

My accessory of choice
Moral of the story? Go to Cardiff next time. They may not have the whole collection on display but you sure do beat the fashion traffic.

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