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Versace for H&M madness will officially begin in the U.S. on Saturday, but today, the collection debuted outside of the states. Racked London correspondent Ana Kinsella was on scene at both the H&M on Regent Street and Oxford Circus to scope out the hysteria. She spoke with several people who lined-up the night before, some who were just there "for the thrill," and one very committed woman who took a few days off work and traveled three hours just to shop it. Check out the rest of her first-hand account, below.
Versace for H&M managed to launch at H&M's London flagship on Regent Street this morning without stampeding, hair-pulling or tears, and even included a guest appearance from Donatella herself. By 7am, the line numbered over 200 people, with the first in line—a student named David—queuing since 4:45pm the day before. He told us he wanted "the jacket with the palm trees, the T-shirt to match that, the crocodile trousers and the T-shirt to match that, the palm tree shirt with the crocodile sleeves, and the black and white t-shirt as well." So, everything.
100 meters around the corner at the Oxford Circus store, the line was headed by a man who claimed he had queued since 2:30am for the varsity jacket. "I saw Kanye West wearing it and thought, I'm gonna get that."
Many of the customers we spoke to at both stores were looking for the same few coveted items: the black studded leather dress, the men's bomber jackets, the leopard-print skirt, and almost anything available in that palm-tree print. Several we spoke to had camped out for H&M collaborations before, mostly for Lanvin last year and Jimmy Choo in 2009. Some were just there for the thrill. "I expected the queue to be worse," one woman, who joined the line at 7:30am, told us. "I might get some boots, but I'm just going to look around."
By 8:30am the wristband system was in place, whereby customers would be let in in 20-person groups to shop for ten minutes at a time. With the queue now stretching around two street corners on to Argyll Street, the store was ready to open—once Donatella Versace arrived. After a quick photo opp (which left some shoppers cold: "I don't care about her, as long as she doesn't hold up the queue.") and a manic scrum of fashion paparazzi as she made her way back into a waiting Maserati, customers were brought into the store in their groups to shop the collection.
One of the first out was a woman who had traveled in from Skegness, a three-hour drive. She came out with four large carrier bags. "I got everything I wanted," she confirmed. "I thought it was a really good opportunity, so I booked a few days off work." Several minutes later, David came out, having spent $315. "I found everything I wanted. Three T-shirts, one shirt, one pair of trousers, and the varsity jacket." That same varsity jacket everyone had been talking about since Kanye West wore it to perform at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show last week? "I hate that Kanye wore it already! Everyone's been calling it the 'Kanye jacket', and I hate the hype that celebrities give the clothes. The clothes should be hyped for what they are."—Ana Kinsella