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H&M x Balmain might be the biggest fashion collaboration ever




Some of the clothes available from the collaboration between H&M and Balmain, shown at the H&M showroom in West Hollywood.
Some of the clothes available from the collaboration between H&M and Balmain, shown at the H&M showroom in West Hollywood.
Leo Duran/KPCC

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Apparel is one of the biggest economic industries in Southern California, and the holidays are naturally one of the most important times of year for clothing companies.

But it's not all about socks in your stockings and ugly sweaters underneath the tree. It's also when H&M debuts a collaboration with some of the biggest names in fashion.

This year, it's all about the label Balmain. The collection hits stores Thursday morning, and it could be one of the most successful collaborations to date.

Balmain is helmed by French designer Olivier Rousteing, who is both young and one of the few black couture designers in the fashion world. 

"Rousteing did something very clever early on and he cast both reality star Kim Kardashian and her musician husband, Kanye West, in one of his campaigns," says Michelle Dalton Tyree, co-founder of the site Fashion Trends Daily. "This elevated Rousteing's visibility immensely and also gave her a new level of fashion cred."

That celebrity endorsement is the rocket fuel powering the demand for this collection. 

"For the generation of social media users, it's really, really exciting to see all those images and celebrities that are supporting and wearing it," says H&M spokesman Noah Gonzalez.

The women's dresses are intricately detailed pieces layered in embroidery and beads to create lush patterns; on one dress, the beads form a 15-pound "armor."

Meanwhile the men's wear —  inspired by naval uniforms and motorcycle gear — broadcasts intensity and cool. Check it out. 


The anticipation for this fall's line from H&M x Balmain had people lining up since Monday.

"Collaborations between sought-after designers and retailers such as H&M or Target, are fashion’s equivalent of Black Friday door busters," says Tyree. "It’s particularly exciting here when you have a young designer who was not on the global radar four years ago."

They are also important for the stores themselves because there's pressure to deliver style at an affordable price.

The collection goes on sale in 8 a.m. Thursday in Los Angeles at H&M stores at the Beverly Center and 7th and Fig downtown. It'll also be available online starting 5 a.m. PST.