H&M is going over to the dark side. According to Women's Wear Daily, the Swedish retailer has selected Maison Martin Margiela as its latest designer collaboration, making it one of H&M's most avant garde partners yet.
Although H&M would not confirm nor deny the report, telling The Huffington Post simply "Unfortunately we do not comment on rumors," it is about that time of the year: since the landmark Karl Lagerfeld collection in 2004, H&M has worked with about two design partners a year, including Stella McCartney and Viktor & Rolf in 2006; Roberto Cavalli and Kylie Minogue in 2007; and Jimmy Choo, Matthew Williamson and Sonia Rykiel in 2009; and most recently, Marni in Spring 2012.
But Maison Martin Margiela for H&M seems most reminiscent of the store's 2008 collaboration with Comme des Garçons, the avant garde Japanese label designed by Rei Kawakubo. In contrast with H&M's earlier collabs with flashy household names like Cavalli and Lagerfeld, Comme was less shiny, less glam and less well-known -- "arty and cool" was how H&M's creative advisor described Comme at the time.
The collection was filled with creatively constructed black coats, dark skirts, polka dot blouses and loose black pants. As many expected, the collaboration inspired less frenzy than its predecessors, with certain stores seeing lines of hundreds (rather than thousands) and few chaotic incidents reported.
Not that that's a bad thing. Margiela does have a cult following, meaning the diehards will turn up no matter how edgy or unconventional the styles may be.
As previously noted, H&M will not confirm nor deny the new partnership. But it's worth pondering: would you queue up for Maison Martin Margiela for H&M?
Read more at WWD.com and see who's collaborated with H&M in the past, below.