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Alexandra Sinderbrand

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Don't Do the Choo

Posted: 11/17/2009 11:22 am

Before discussing the individual offerings of Jimmy Choo for H&M, I'm going to attempt to rationalize the pricing scheme behind the line. To be fair, no trace of blue blood entitlement seems to have resulted from company Founder and President Tamara Mellon's upper crust upbringing: She's a kickass businesswoman who clearly didn't view marrying into a highbrow family as an excuse to stop working. Respect, for reals.

She's also never been broke a day in her life. And when you're designing for the masses, that's a serious problemo.

Mellon describes Jimmy Choo for H&M as "a sophisticated, fashion forward, accessible and glamorous collection -- the perfect party pieces to buy now and then wear out that night!"

Firstly: Most twentysomething urbanites don't have hordes of holiday parties to attend -- we're too strapped for cash to rent out a space, and our apartments are too small to service a soiree.

Nextly: While some of the individual pieces are more Wet Seal than high fashion (jewelry and belts, specifically), most of Mellon's assessment holds true... except the part about them being accessible. That's a PR-friendly way of saying affordable, and the collabs - on the whole - is decidedly not.
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Peruse the itemized price list with corresponding images and it's easy to see why. Yes, over a third of the collection falls into the $24.95 - $49.95 range, but it's all jewelry, scarves, belts and coin purses - most of which are trashy as hell, but that's to be expected of cheaply made accessories.

What's unexpected is that piece of blue fabric masquerading as fifty dollar neckwear. You want a trendy, jersey-knit scarf, go to a fabric store and buy a $6.00 yard of t-shirt material. Doneskies.

The $50.00 - $99.00 section is the realm of the not-cool-enough-to-be-featured-in-the-ad-campaign shoes and bags. It offers some kinda meh, Tory Burch-wannabe flats for around $70, laughably overpriced things like $99 sequined t-shirts and $60 studded belts (please - you can DIY that shit for ten bucks), and animal-print shoulder bags of questionable taste level.

It also boasts cotton-blend leggings which, somehow, retail for $49.95. If you specialize in legwear a la American Apparel and/or Members Only, maybe, MAYBE, you can get away with that. But H&M? Don't even.

Now we move to the $100.00 - $199.00 block, where some of the refreshingly un-stripper-like shoes start to appear, and I mean that sincerely. They're def more sexy than slutty. They're also, from the looks of it, completely un-walkable.

If I hadn't broken my ankle in a stilletto-related incident years ago, I might not have a problem paying $149 for a pair. But I still trip up flights of stairs in flat boots, so I'm not about to tempt fate by blowing my dough on blister-inducing five-inch heels.

Admittedly, I'm bonkers for the studded snake boots, which are technically part of the men's line (the very metro men's line, as it were). I'm not quite so nuts about the $199 beaded, drapey debacle below them. This dress appears to be inspired by Forever 21. Weird ... and not in a good way either.

Onto the $249 fringey suede dress ... what happened? Did someone try for Stevie Nicks and end up with a Melba toast version of goth rock instead? Sadface. The cowgirl uncool number brings us to the last and most abhorrent rung of merch: The $200 - $299 group.

At places like Bloomingdales or Saks -- places where you walk in prepared for the numbers -- $300.00 buys you one pair of over-the-knee boots, or one pair of leather leggings, or one handbag, or one weekender tote. But at H&M? COME ON.

As I understand it, this line is inspired by the holiday season -- a time when we're supposed to buy gifts for others, and then scrape together whatever's left to buy something for ourselves. I'm sorry, but a $200 piece of festive, mass-produced party garb isn't a satiating material fix; it's a rip off that will inevitably leave you feeling like a Scrooge for having spent that much on one item.

If you're used to wearing $900 stilettos and $3000 dresses, then yes, $129 strappy sandals and a $249 dress seem like a steal. Alas, for the other 98% of the population, an outfit costing upwards of $400 isn't a throwaway purchase. It's a splurge, an investment ... a number that possibly puts us into credit card debt. Shocking, I know.

To be fair, the boutique-esque price points of Choo for H&M are a byproduct of the over-enthusiastic use of real leather; unfortunately, this collection needed a hearty helping of perspective more than an abundance of cowhide. My hunch is the bulk of us don't give a rat's ass about material authenticity -- we're shopping fast fashion, for fuck's sake. We just want to know we're browsing things we can realistically buy.

Jimmy Choo for H&M will probs sell out in select stores carrying it, if only because 'select' tends to mean 'in or near major shopping cities.' I'm south of New York at the moment, and was planning on viewing the collabs tomorrow at the chain's Atlantic City location. Turns out they're not even carrying it.

Good decision, H&M. Us Jersey girls are too fiscally savvy for sartorial scams.

 

Follow Alexandra Sinderbrand on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cheapjap

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