THE swanky launch party of Hennes & Mauritz in the capital on September 30 was a star-studded affair, with the likes of Ranveer Singh and Lisa Haydon spotted on the red carpet. The beloved fashion brand from Sweden had finally opened its first store in India. Amid a sea of champagne glasses and hors d’oeuvres, the crowd stayed upbeat with live EDM and, most importantly, discounted shopping for the evening from a range that included tops, trousers, lingerie and shoes. The Swedish brand understandably seems to be making up for lost time. With Inditex favourite Zara together with Mango and Forever 21 having established strong customer bases here, with launches as early as 2010, H&M is joining the high street party a little late. However, Janne Einola, H&M’s country manager, is confident. “We know for sure that when you combine fashion, quality, sustainability and competitive pricing, we have something really strong. This is our business idea and we will ensure that the store will offer the same collections as available worldwide.” H&M, for the uninitiated, is acclaimed for combining the latest trends with accessible prices. And if early customer reactions are an indication, then Einola is right. The 25,000 sq ft retail space spread across two floors in central Delhi was greeted with frenzy and delight by fashion enthusiasts, who reportedly started lining up at Select Citiwalk mall a day prior to the official opening last Friday.
Chic yet practical
The launch collection did not disappoint. What we liked was that although the brand’s Autumn 2015 collection featured somber hues reflecting the season, as promised, most of the pieces were exactly as we had seen them in stores in Europe a few weeks earlier. Of note are the chic separates (trousers and tops) for ladies, the limited but well-curated lingerie selection, some fun transitional party dresses and T-shirts for men. The trendy yet practical children’s collection was the most sought after—replete with tights, tops and dresses for girls, and shorts, tees and shoes for boys, among other things. Full-figured ladies and expectant moms can also rejoice, with a limited range of maternity and curvy wear that includes jeans, jeggings and dresses. “In November, the designer collaboration with the fashion label Balmain will also be available,” Einola assures.
Positive that they are in India for the long term, she says, “We are looking at many options currently and we will expand when we get the right location.” The end of 2015 will see another store in Delhi, and the first store in Bengaluru (at VM Mall) in early 2016. Chennai fans need not despair.
At Select Citiwalk, Saket. From Rs.299. Details: hm.com
— Shibi Kumaramangalam