October 15, 2015

there are some things we can’t easily explain: the desire to travel the world, what love at first sight really feels like, or why a fresh, crisp waffle is particularly enticing at 4pm in the afternoon. well, h&m’s latest genius collaboration, with french fashion house, balmain, isn’t one of them. and it’s clear to see why we’re so intrigued too. powerful silhouettes, luxe fabrics and embellished details make for a collection that’s all about one thing – standing out, in the boldest way possible.

You’ve already seen it, we’re sure. We’re talking about sneak peeks of the Balmain x H&M collection, on our girls (yes, we’re totally claiming them), Kendall Jenner and Jourdan Dunn. Before anything official was announced, they had hit the Billboard Music Awards red carpet with some stunning pieces from the collection. For Dunn, a braided rope top and a red satin skirt, while Jenner donned a heavily-embellished and embroidered black velvet blazer. Needless to say, the execution was flawless, especially when the leggy beauties had on matching thigh-high boots.

Why, exactly, is that so amazing though? Well, it’s one thing to wear the likes of Prada, Chanel and Versace on the red carpet, and more often than not, celebrities rely on these classic luxury houses. But here, we’re talking about a fast fashion brand. The kind that sells a plain jersey top for $9.90, and isn’t afraid to admit it. We love H&M’s affordable wear, yes, but we always, always look forward to their designer collaborations.

They’ve done it before, with designers and labels as esteemed as Karl Lagerfeld, Victor & Rolf, Lanvin, and Marni, just to name a few. There’s even a coffee table book that looks back on the past ten years of this creative tour de force. What Balmain’s creative director, Olivier Rouseteing, brought to this table though, are pieces steeped in rich details and craftmanship, basically, the sharply-tailored looks that the brand’s known for. “I wanted to stay true to the DNA of Balmain, richly detailed, powerful and yet effortless,” he says.

A flip through the lookbook certainly tells us this. There are many standout pieces: the fitted look of a velvet blazer, shoulder pads included, and figure-hugging dresses with gold detailing, metallic ropes, and intricate beading. These luxurious details are elevated with their choice of fabrics. Satin’s everywhere, on a dark green silk satin blouse, on a baroque jacquard dress, and so is velvet, seen on a long-sleeved mini dress, or flared pants. Everything is, of course, accessorised with rope sandals and heels, necklaces, as well as crystal drop earrings and decorative high-waisted belts. They even make the 1920s flapper style look minimalist.

If you’re wondering how these go with any other item in your wardrobe though, you’re not alone. Understated pieces, mostly those in black, play with texture to keep consistent with the rest of the collection. Then, there are versatile options as well: a leather jacket with gold zips and buttons, silk harem pants, or the more graphic pieces, like monochrome stripes and the red and black panels of a knit dress. Still, we suspect that the people who’re drawn to Balmain aren’t the ones looking to fade in the background – they’re looking for walking perfection, as effortlessly as possible. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Balmain x H&M collection, priced from $24.90 for a ring, $88.90 for a skirt or top, to $899 for a sequin dress. Available from 5 November at H&M Orchard Building and H&M ION. hm.com/sg