H&M Among Europe's Top Clothing Retailers

We’re big fans of designer collaborations with more affordable stores–it gives designer fans access to luxury items which were previously completely inaccessible. So I was pretty excited about Isabel Marant‘s H&M collaboration which is due next month, but Liz Jones over at The Daily Mail seems to think that the collection is only made for skinny people. If you’re above a size 4, or god forbid, a size 12, the collection may not be for you. Given that designer collaborations should theoretically make designer clothing accessible to more people, it’s disheartening though perhaps not surprising that the collabs are only accessible to some people.

Jones writes (and she always seems outraged about something, so I’m trying to take this with a grain of salt) that “Marant is a designer who only knows how to dress very thin, very young women,” and I can’t disagree there. I love most of Marant’s aesthetic, but know that it could never apply to my body type. Jones takes the Marant x H&M collection to task piece by piece, pointing out that the items only a very narrow range of bodies.

Take the zigzag print, almost sheer sack dress (£69.99) that will be part of her H&M fare: it only works belted over narrow hips, the loose fabric cascading over bare brown legs and cowboy boots. It just won’t work if you wear it conventionally, over tights, heels and a tummy. A peasant blouse with silvery beaded embellishment will look a bit Earth Mummy on anyone over 21, and who is not flat-chested.

Jones continues to do the same with multiple other pieces, and it seems clear that this isn’t a collection for everyone. Here’s my favorite piece from the collection:

isabel marantI’m just not sure how this would look on someone who’s under 5’8” and has some pretty substantial hips to contend with. Looking at the rest of the collection, I can’t help but see Jones’ point. This collaboration isn’t made for most women. It’s made for a few women.

This isn’t the first time H&M has been embroiled in a controversy over their collaborations and catering to a range of sizes that expands past 0-2. Their very first collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld way back in 2004 was marred by his explicit comments about keeping the collection for a specific group of people. He said the designs were made only for “slim, slender people,” and spoke publicly about his annoyance over the fact that H&M produced his collection up to a size 16 (hardly inclusive, but Lagerfeld is particularly out of touch).

I’ve criticized H&M in the past for its lack of plus size options, and it’s certainly true that Marant’s eponymous line is very specifically designed for tall, slender people with a very specific look and frame. I can’t find any information about the sizes that the Marant collection will be produced in, but I’ve never seen an H&M collaboration go above a 16. Even if they surprise us and produce the clothing in larger sizes, does it matter if it’s explicitly not designed to do so? And when do we think designers might figure out that consumers with very green money come in all sizes?

Photos: Getty Images, H&M