I attended the media launch of the Johannesburg branch of H&M last week, which officially opened in Sandton City on Saturday, 7 November. The Balmain X collaboration with H&M has been a worldwide success, if the international media is anything to go by, with the Paris, New York and yes, the local branches, having sold out in a matter of minutes.
I witnessed this first hand, at the launch evening last week. The doors opened at 19h00 and by 19h27 the Balmain racks were empty!
But I was lucky enough to get my hands on the last Balmain skirt in this design.
This Balmain X collaboration has distinct embellishments such as pearls and beading, as well as intricate gold brocade embroidery, on the more expensive pieces, and then simple monochrome (and less expensive) pieces like the one above.
Here is the official video of the Balmain X campaign that launched globally on 5 November 2015, featuring Kendall Jenner.
The media has put so much focus on the Balmain X Collection, that people seem to have forgotten that H&M, which stands for Hennes & Mauritz, is a Swedish multinational retail-clothing company, known for its fast-fashion clothing for men, women, teenagers and children. There was obviously loads of other merchandise in store, but the focus was on Balmain X, with celebrities and ordinary folks, like me, in a state of frenzy to get their hands on anything in the collection.
I eventually opted for this H&M summer maxi dress …
… and this H&M bikini bottom (for some reason, they did not have the bikini top).
The red carpet was laden with the who’s who of Jozi celebs including Bonang Matheba and Somizi Mhlongo, and I am sure there must have been some awkward moments when Bonang passed by the DJ box that was erected inside H&M, as DJ Zinhle was the first DJ of the evening, followed by LCNVL and then Black Coffee.
Pär Darj, Country Manager of H&M South Africa was on the red carpet, on Saturday, 7 November, to cut the ribbon and to welcome the first eager shoppers along with Store Managers Clayton Dyer and Vela Mohale. The first lucky person in line received a R2,500 gift card and the following 500 people received a R200 gift card. The first 3000 people in the store received a limited edition gift celebrating the opening of the store.
The opening marks the first of many Gauteng-based stores as H&M rolls out Mall of the South, Clearwater and the new Mall of Africa within the first half of 2016.