Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lanvin x H&M Insanity Review

iPhone shot: In the beginning...
I may regret this but I'm standing in line for Lanvin x H&M launch at the Westfield Century City Mall. Line is projected at 3 hours but hoping to move in quicker. Not sure I even want anything. I do love Lanvin though...

Update and Review (now that I'm safely and happily home): that took years off of my life...  I wasn't even really planning on going; I was just going to stop by before a yoga class at Equinox; figuring even if I had to wait half an hour, I would have enough time to pick up a few things and make my class. Wishful thinking from a total novice... With the exception of a Phillip Lim collection for Uniqlo, this was the first time I ever waited in line for a diffusion line launch at a place like H&M.  I've seen photos of other collaborations, but they never made me want to go to the store to check them out, unlike this collaboration.  Lanvin just makes the best party dresses and it seemed to have translated well to the collaboration, at least in the weirdly gorgeous Mike Figgis video and various fashion blog photos.  Lanvin is known for above-the-knee cocktail dresses that are a little quirky and a lot of fun, figure flattering with identifiably Lanvin detailing like gatherings, poofs, cinched waists, exposed zippers, raw edges and the best part is that they are seasonless / timeless and never look dated or out of style.  They are pieces to be worn and treasured forever.  For evening / cocktail wear, Lanvin is probably my favorite brand along with Marc Jacobs; I love the intellectualism and fashion forward-ness of Marc Jacobs, but Lanvin is generally a little more fitted, flirty and figure flattering.

Starting back at the beginning, I arrived a few minutes before 8am, which is when the store opens.  I was excited as I walked to the front door as there was no line.  Alas, the security guards at the door told me that the line was in the back of the store.  Indeed, there was an endless queue; I walked for quite a few minutes before finding the end of the line. At the end of the line, I was handed a lime wristband, with a time slot of 11:25-11:40, I think I was person #197.  They were letting groups of 15-20 people in for 15 minutes at a time.  I was feeling quite deflated, but the lady next to me said they would be restocking and replenishing from the back continuously and have plenty for a couple of hours.  I decided to wait a bit since I had time before my 9:30 class.  I was again buoyed as they let us all into the store; I thought maybe the 11:25am estimate was conservative and that we would be let in earlier.  However, as a couple of time slots came and went, it appeared that they were running things on schedule.  Since I had now been swept up by the mayhem, I decided to forego my yoga class.  It was indeed insanity in the stores; women were grabbing everything they could see in every single size: you couldn't even see the person buried by all the dresses in her arms.  People were buying armloads of clothes; several thousand dollars worth, easily.  I wish this wasn't the case, but I'm sure a lot were buying with the intention of selling on EBay; I already see dresses being listed for 2x retail.  I find it deplorable, but it is what it is.  I decided to leave and go to Trader Joes to do some more Thanksgiving shopping since I really didn't want to stand around H&M for 3+ hours.  I got back at 10am, still 1.5 hours before my time slot, and was shocked to see all the empty racks.  They were no longer replenishing from the back, only restocking clothes discarded from the dressing rooms.  Things were starting to look pretty bleak.  Based on another shopper's advice, I went to the upstairs dressing room and waited patiently and surreptitiously picked up a couple of items that people tried on but weren't buying.  I ended up buying two dresses, including the black one shoulder dress.  After an eternity, it was my time slot, and I went in, but there really wasn't anything left in my size.  I saw a salesgirl restocking some dresses from the dressing room and went over immediately to get it, but another girl beat me to the gorgeous pink floral ruffled silk dress that happened to be exactly my size.   I pleaded with her to give it to me in case she didn't want it, and she agreed.  I tried on a couple of things that just didn't fit and just happened to catch the girl as she was exiting her dressing room.  My first good fortune of the day; I was so elated, the dress didn't fit her, she gave it to me, and I ended up buying it.  I ended up returning one of the dresses that I bought in the first go around, but I'm really excited about two dresses I got which are really different from one another, but both very "Lanvin" in my opinion.  I don't know if I just got swept up in the mayhem or whatnot as people were buying everything in sight and several girls were eyeing the dresses in my arms, but I'm happy, although I will never do it again.  After watching the awesome video (directed by Mike Figgis) and in reviewing the collection again online, I think the two dresses I got are my favorite pieces from the collection anyway, even if I did have no choice and most everything else was completely sold out.  I bought and returned the bronze metallic dress (I have two gold / bronze party dresses from 3.1 Phillip Lim), and tried on a few items.  By the time I left at noon, there was maybe half a small garment rack left with half dozen odds and ends.  Insanity.

Lanvin did an amazing job designing the collection (I love Alber Elbaz, most adorable man in the world) and everything looked great: even the garment bags and shopping bags were so cute.  I have two regular Lanvin dresses and comparatively quality-wise, the H&M collection is quite good.  The zipper details are similar, the fabric seems decent quality, the fit and styling was really good.  It doesn't feel like the dress might come apart after a few wears and the fabrics feel nice, not synthetic or scratchy.  I like H&M accessories like hats, but I haven't purchased much of their clothing.  I'd say its similar in quality to lines like 3.1 Phillip Lim, Diane Von Fursternberg and Marc by Marc Jacobs.  The quality is much better than that of diffusion lines at other mass retailers.  It depends on the dress but sizing is on the smaller side, which was surprising; I was wearing on average one size larger than I normally wear, even in designer collections. My regular Lanvin dresses have fancier details like ostrich feathers, fringed beading, pearl beading, and more substantial linings, but all the dresses, including the H&M versions, are really special each in their own way.  Out of all my purchases, it's really difficult to pick a favorite piece; they are all great for different purposes.  I'll probably wear the zebra trench coat the most, as it's such a great shape and can go over everything from jeans to party dresses, the black sleeveless wool dress is great for winter and more conservative events with the high neckline, the floral dress is great for spring and weddings, and I just love the pop of color of the mustard one shoulder dress for both spring and fall, which can be dressed up or down. I've been wearing the faux fur coat everywhere as it's been an unusually cold LA winter. I love them all and can't wait to wear them.
Launch day purchases (black dress has been exchanged for a smaller size since these photos):
Pink floral ruffle dress with tulle sleeves
Black one shoulder ruffle dress one size too large (I've given this one away to my brother's GF)
Post launch purchases (jacket and t-shirt have been exchanged for smaller sizes since taking photos):
Purchased in Feb for 50% off

Latest find! Black sleeveless wool ribbon dress (one size too big)
I love the packaging details of the collection:
Vs. the real thing
 Pieces that I tried on but didn't buy:


  1. you dont know how lucky you are, you can buy the real lanvin! congrats on your purchase..itll be worth much more in a while! me and my aunt waited at the weho location. we were the first people inside, we waited for 10 hours. unfortunately, my experience was quite unfortunate. my aunt got what she wanted..i wanted to help her get her stuff, so i did..but the mens collection wasnt off limits, so all the men hoarded it within 5 minutes. by the time i got there, i had only found the tshirts, the glasses, and the bowties. when i went to check out, i realized i didnt bring my credit card, only my debit! and since I had deposited some money only hours before and my account was signed up for "overdraft protection" i couldnt pay! and my aunt was maxed out. really sad. lanvin has more appeal to me than any other french fashion house, and im a fashion student! i almost got teary eyed when they couldnt approve my card. so much sacrficing for nothing. eh. maybe next year they'll do something extravagant.

  2. That's too bad that you weren't able to get what you wanted, especially after all that time waiting! You might want to check the other stores like Century City for remaining stock / returns. The Century City men's section didn't look that busy. I regret not taking a look since I had 3+ hours to kill. At least your aunt got what she wanted! I expected to leave empty handed. Were you at the Bev Center store or Sunset Store? I heard Bev Center had the longest line, but the most stock. Century City said they were surprised at how quickly they ran out of stock; unfortunate planning on their behalf. As for affording the real thing, I've had the most luck during the last days of the Barney's NY Warehouse sales. Since Lanvin often has ornate embellishments, the dresses can look in really rough shape towards the end. With a little patience, fringe and feathers can be untangled and loose beading can be secured.

  3. Hi, am the new follower
    just wonder what size do u normally wear amd what size did u get for the floral dress
    i'm planing to get one from ebay :))

  4. Hi, I got a size 4 for the floral dress. I generally wear a size 0/2, euro 34, or xs. HTH. I love the floral dress!



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