Lagerfeld's mass market garb zips out of H and M

12th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 12 (AFP) - Across Paris, clothes-lovers were queuing up in their hundreds as the highly anticipated collection by Karl Lagerfeld for mass market retail chain Hennes and Mauritz (H and M) took the world's capital of haute couture by storm.

PARIS, Nov 12 (AFP) - Across Paris, clothes-lovers were queuing up in their hundreds as the highly anticipated collection by Karl Lagerfeld for mass market retail chain Hennes and Mauritz (H and M) took the world's capital of haute couture by storm.

The new low-cost line of clothing for women and men by the high-profile German designer, the creative force behind Chanel, Fendi and his eponymous Lagerfeld Gallery, went on sale Friday in 20 countries.

"It's quite an event - finally affordable luxury," said Tony, who works for a Paris nightclub and who slept just two hours to be sure of not missing the opening of one of the H and M stores.

Along the Parisian boulevards, including the legendary rue de Rivoli, queues of mainly women and stretching several dozen metres (yards) long, began forming well ahead of opening hours. Up to 400 people were camped outside one store.

With temperatures dipping to wintry lows, shoppers held takeaway cups of steaming coffee, read their books or chatted on their mobile phones or to friends to pass the time.

"Lagerfeld is today giving everyday people the means of dressing couture," said the already trendily dressed 24-year-old Hassen at the Les Halles shopping centre in Paris' former market.

Teenagers Norma and Flora skipped school to join the enthusiastic crowds seeking to snap up the first items to hit the rails from the Lagerfeld collection.

"It's good because all social classes can be dressed in haute couture," Norma said.

Described as "modern, elegant and flattering", the collection comprises some 30 garments for day and evening wear, the "Liquid Karl" eau de cologne, as well as accessories such as sunglasses, belts, gloves, purses and jewellery.

Even before the doors opened, many eager shoppers already knew what they were after with jeans on sale for just under EUR 50 (USD 65), a shirt for EUR 39.90 or sequined jackets at EUR 99.

As the doors opened, the crowds stampeded towards the rails of Lagerfeld clothing and in a matter of minutes the displays emptied as shoppers grabbed items, barely looking at what it was they were buying.

The most determined managed to collect numerous items; others left with several identical things for friends or family; one clambered on to the display to get the last evening jacket off the model.

Within five minutes, not a single button-up jacket remained at one central H and M store, by 9:40 am (1040 GMT) all the sweaters had been sold and in another five minutes no black lingerie remained.

Announcements made over the speakers attempted to calm the fervour reassuring shoppers that stocks of Karl Lagerfeld would be replenished during the day.

All financial details surrounding the collection have been shrouded in secrecy, including its budget, Lagerfeld's fee - astronomical according to the Swedish press - and its sales targets.

Founded in 1947 by Swede Erling Persson, H and M has over the past two decades gone from a small Scandinavian retailer to one of the world's largest clothing chains.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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