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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 over 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.
Image via the Thread
So: Marni for H&M. The collection went on sale this morning—but last night at H&M's Fifth Avenue flagship in New York, there was a party and a pre-sale. As I've previously noted, Marni is one of perhaps two or three brands that I'd wear a mass market collaboration-version of. Those collabs? They're just not my thing: I want it real. I want to feel like I'm the only person who has it (or, maybe more accurately, I want to not walk into, like, the supermarket and be wearing the same shirt as the cashier). And, I just can't fight and elbow and claw for something from Target or H&M—that just seems dopey to me, and a little sad. I don't have that in me.
But: Marni! Anything for Marni! Which is why I found myself standing in line outside that huge H&M flagship an hour and 45 minutes before the party started last night. This is my story, in a convenient time line format:
5:45pm Fifth or sixth in line, and of course I'm the only guy.
5:47pm The jewelry in the window looks really, really awesome.
6:00pm Ropes are going up. I've been here for 15 minutes and there are only two people behind me in line including a girl speaking much too loudly on her phone.
6:10pm There are now about 20 people in line including two other guys. Back off, bitches!
6:18pm Why are they putting the carpet down at 6:18? There are like 50 people in line and now we're being ushered backward and forward so they can get the thing in place. And, people are not getting it—it's amazing how so many people are just incapable of listening or comprehending simple things; especially if they don't want to be bothered with listening or comprehending said simple things. Buncha mules! Also—that girl is still on the phone.
6:21pm A guy in a yarmulke and knock-off Givenchy. That's new ?
6:26pm Someone just asked me if Marni is a designer.
6:30pm The line is officially around the corner; the sad and the shameless are grubbing for early entry and better places in line; that girl is still on the phone. In short, this is not my cup of tea.
6:35pm Of course I end up in line right in front of the shopping schedule for tomorrow so people have been leaning around me and glaring and snapping photos that I'm sure I'm in since the second I've gotten in line. Also not my cup of tea.
6:43pm Robert Verdi is here. Big gay whoop.
6:46pm A very tall girl just showed up behind me is literally having an asthma attack from running to the store and rabidly frothing over the jewelry.
6:48pm Oh god, tourists on the top of one of those double-decker tour buses are taking photos of us.
6:54pm I officially can't wait to leave.
6:55pm Omigod, seriously? Can't you just wait in line like human person? These poor publicists—they're getting bum-rushed by salivating monsters who are just showing up now. Shameless.
6:56pm Um, there are small men in fez hats carrying huge tambourines inside! Also, some lunatic in the front of the line is here now for tomorrow! That is either pure crazy or utter devotion (I feel like it's the former). She has a folding chair and a huge stocking cap.
6:57pm They're letting us in, warning us to take it slowly. The women's stuff is on the left with the menswear right behind it. It's merchandised beautifully; the whole section is immaculate. Also: I've never seen so many people not accept free drinks.
7:01pm Okay, all bets are off. People are swarming. Racks are already clearing out. The jewelry is essentially gone.
7:04pm People are hoarding, it's really unattractive. Someone I vaguely recognize from Fashion Week who needs a lesson on shaving is literally carrying around five full shopping totes—we've been in the store for seven minutes. There are raised voices. A tall wicker something-or-other, some prop, has hit the ground. All that said, I've managed to get all the menswear I've come for barring a shirt and the swim trunks (I had an alternate size as a back-up but I wasn't giving up).
7:11pm Staffers are already restocking and are basically getting attacked the moment they emerge from the back. There are polka-dotted Marni hangers everywhere. Robert Verdi seriously has at least $3,000 worth of merchandise in a series of totes and shopping bags.
7:19pm The women's section is basically tapped—staffers are filling empty racks with menswear and tee shirts. Another staffer is carting that wicker prop to the back room.
7:21pm Got the shirt!
7:26pm If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Someone just came out with a stack of swim trunks. I harassed my way into getting a medium. Mission accomplished. Get me a drink.
7:27pm Ooooo, fizzy blueberry vodka mojitos!
7:29pm Might as well look at the regular H&M stuff.
7:31pm I can't wear any of this stuff.
7:34pm There's a bar of potato or plantain chips on skewers surrounding these odd bags of dipping sauces hanging from hooks. You know those carrot-shaped bags of Reese's Pieces that you see around Easter? They look like that but filled with pesto mayonnaise. The area around these chips is frenzied and the bags are swaying—in other words, there is mayo everywhere. Totally the appropriate snack food choice for such a party.
7:40pm Who needs a dressing room? People are changing everywhere. It's gross.
7:45pm Andrew Mukamal scored one of those mixed-print maxis.
7:47pm Another drink, in line to pay.
8:07pm Finally paying. $491 later (it wasn't all for me!), it's time to get out of this crazy nightmare.
8:16pm The giftbag includes half of a silk scarf—literally, a scarf that's been cut in half diagonally; and a very cute journal that includes most of the lookbook shoot. It's also worth noting that the shopping bags are sturdy tinted plastic, reusable and really cute.
So, my first foray into the monstrous world of high/low collaboration launch parties. And, it was awful. But, I have to say—the clothes are cute. They look and feel really nice. Shirts include really lovely piping, contrast buttons and are seamed beautifully. Some tags actually include words like "silk" and "Made in Italy." And the yellow shorts are amazing. Was it worth it? Just barely.
· Love, Frank [Racked]