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Since its was confirmed back in May, the news of H&M's collaboration with French fashion house Balmain has been met with much anticipation from fashion insiders and fast-fashion devotees alike. Pieces of the 100+ piece collection have already popped up here and there — on Kendall Jenner and Jourdan Dunn at the Billboard Music Awards and on Gigi Hadid at a Harper's Bazaar NYFW bash — and were showcased in a larger-than-life runway event earlier this week, complete with voguing dancers and a Backstreet Boys performance. Now that we're thisclose to the collab's November 5 release, Racked has exclusive, detailed photos of the collection shot yesterday at the H&M showroom.
Admittedly, we weren't too impressed at the runway show. The fabrics looked stiff on the models, and the jewelry looked a little too much like costume. But at the showroom, we were pleasantly surprised by how stunning most pieces were up close.
The biggest standout just so happens to be the most expensive. The heavily embellished, deep-V minidress worn by Gigi Hadid clocks in at $649 — a pretty penny for H&M shoppers, but a reasonable deal for a Balmain dress. The hand beading is so intricate it could compete alongside a $4,000 Balmain version. It's also surprisingly heavy, which usually equates to quality materials and hardware.
The runner-up for most impressive item is the silk-velvet embellished blazer, which comes in at around $549. Seen on Kendall Jenner at the Billboard Music Awards this past May, it seems pretty well-made. The pearl-and-diamond embellishments may be fake, but the stitching is solid.
Out of the entire collection, the mulberry silk skirt was one of the most unexpected winners. Up close, the brushed silk feels luxe. Sure, the draping is not on par with a French atelier's, but coming in at around $99, it's a pretty good buy.
If you're more interested in accessories, consider the roped heels. They're a more luxe alternative to the matching top and at $199, only cost a little extra. The $50 gold earbuds are fun, too. If all you want is a mere memento that this collab happened (and the Balmain France shirts are sold out everywhere), then these are probably your best bet.