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A High/Low Collaboration About-Face: Frank Hearts Marni

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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for almost two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.


Here's hoping Consuelo's silky printed pajama slacks are part of the collection!

Dear Cult of the Collaboration,

Gotta tell ya—never much cared.

I'm a bit of a purist: I want the Real Deal or I don't want it at all. And, at least in New York, every brand flagship you can think of and their seasonal markdowns, samples sales all the time, and a twice-yearly fire sale at Barneys means you can actually get some of the Real Deal without automatic destitution. Plus—clothing from H&M and Target don't always feel nice. And they certainly don't always last. I won't allow myself the heartbreak of falling in love with yet another garment and then watching it disintegrate over the course of two or three washes. It hurts too much.

Plus, let's be honest, it hasn't exactly been a challenge to keep away from the Crazy Collaboration Machine. As much as crazy prints and inappropriate color combinations are a hallmark of the Love, Frank aesthetic—Versace and Missoni are, well, gross. And most of the rest of those hot collaborations are for the ladies only.

So, you know, easier to scoff than join the party when the party doesn't fit you and/or involves a bunch of brands you don't care about anyway.

And, there was a lot of scoffing; a lot of " prefer natural fibers," a lot of "it's Jil Sander, not +J."

Then, yesterday, we read that Marni was up next. The Italian brand is getting the H&M collaboration treatment. It goes on sale in March.

And, as you might remember (MCH! It's happening!), Marni is a Love, Frank fav.

Granted, the one leaked menswear ensemble is basically straight out of the Marc by Marc Jacobs lookbook plus hideous man sandals: slim little khakis, a banded thin-knit sweater, some sort of parka-anorak dealie. But, you know, still cute. And the womenswear looks are stunning—that macro-dotted suit; that sort of Arts and Crafts peacock feathery geometric whatever? Beautiful.

So, I'll admit it, without even a touch of the usual scoff: I'm excited. Excited at least to see what's waiting in the wings. And, very probably, excited to buy some of it! At least as long as Marni's signature wit, print-clashing and brainy sense of humor manage to shine through H&M's relatively tiny price points and huge production numbers.

Now: Must find need access to the fashion show/launch party/pre-sale dealie like H&M just had for Versace. Shouldn't be a problem: Imma spend big.

· Love, Frank [Racked]