While you may have heard some squeaks about H & M previewing to press in the Big Apple, it was Toronto’s turn last night to sneak a peek at the much anticipated offerings from monsieur Alber Elbaz at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario. There was a lot of debate about whether Lanvin should sacrifice its luxury branding for a capsule collection, but besides creating affordable clothes (read: still kind of pricey for H & M), the menswear options read – at times – expensive and unfortunately on occasion, rather dull.
Since the lighting was a bit grim, there were few opportunities to snap shots on the rack, but a mannequin display (which will be Toronto’s official window styling) showcased a number of the more well received looks to the hungry fashion-interested.
As you can tell, the emphasis – as usual – for H & M is the women’s range, which makes sense considering their profits likely reflect this thinking. Although the menswear market has seen rise in male spending globally, it still does not compare to the push from the female consumer. Which is a shame, because this bottom line thinking often results in what Lanvin decided to show – endless elefant bow ties ($29.95 CDN), metallic footwear ($79.95 CDN) and some suiting (blazers: $149.00 CDN + / pants $59.95 CDN +). All were somewhat elevated, but honestly, is a man’s sole purpose in life to dress formally? It is time H & M provided a wider range of options. Women can’t have all the capsular fun.
But when it was good, it was quite good. The shoes had a ‘polish’ to them, with holiday appeal given the range of sparkle. And although most looks were formal, there were options – including a trench, pair of sweats and a basic lightweight hooded jacket – that served as essentials for a working wardrobe.
A pair of tuxedo pants with a cummerbund waistband had little hanger appeal and it was told by an observer that when worn they did not really possess that luxury quality expected from Lanvin. But like most capsule collections, it is really a fight for what sells and with a looming launch date, there is a strong emphasis on formal party attire (read: holiday dressing) – the twist for men being some metallic detailing on a tie, an oversized bow or the sheen on a pair of new shoes. Each piece has a consumer in mind and I guess that is the variety Elbaz chose to showcase, but for me it wasn’t anything that fresh. It was generic. Plain and not-so-simple.
But you be the judge. Check out the look book below. What do you like? Like I said, it wasn’t poorly made. Everything looked expensive, but at the end of the day, aren’t we all looking for a little more?
preview images by Kevin Naulls, look book photos courtesy of H & M Canada