Welcome to Runway Matters, where we're delivering notes straight from the runway so you can quickly digest the most important trends and noteworthy moments from the shows.
The H&M show during Paris Fashion week completely transformed the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. As guests arrived, they were asked to remove their shoes and place them inside cubbies for retrieval after the show. Then, guests were handed a pair of traditional Japanese Tabi socks to change into. As guests walked up the museum's grand stairs, giant paper lanterns hung overhead and horigotatsu tables set low to the ground. Guests were then served sake and sushi and an assortment of other Japanese culinary specialties.
The entire experience was pretty spectacular and left no question about the inspiration behind the Studio Collection. When the show began, models (with big smiles across their faces) weaved through the tables to debut the pieces—big names like Adwoa Aboah among them. And as it ended, paper cherry blossoms fell from the ceiling. While I could go on, I’m going to boil the whole experience down to two important takeaways, below.
Speaking to the development of the collection, H&M’s head of design and creative director, Pernilla Wohlfahrt, explained how Japan became a source of influence. “Japan itself is so inspirational. The whole city of Tokyo is, with the energy, and also the landscape in a place like Kyoto with mountains. As a country, it’s really inspiring.”
The design team took a trip there a year ago to begin the creative process. The Japanese inspiration, while undeniable, wasn't literal but observed in nuanced ways. The prints were developed from broken-up letters in the Japanese alphabet done with brushstrokes—a tribute to the history and heritage of Japan. And current street style also inspired the design team, which carries through to the silhouettes and styling. There’s an emphasis on layering with dresses over pants and fringed pieces over tops and trousers. Wohlfahrt added that she thinks that “fashion needs to be a mix of old things and new things,” which is why you’ll find evidence of each in the collection.
In a step many fashion brands have been taking, H&M’s Studio Collection became available for purchase immediately following the runway show. Instead of the six-month gap that has traditionally existed between first viewing a collection and actually being able to buy it, customers can order the pieces on the spot. Which means, if inspiration strikes you, it’s only a matter of days before you can wear the fashion plucked straight from the runway. Shop our edit of pieces from the collection here.