Sonia Rykiel For H&M: A Spicy Little Something Extra-------
There are a couple of significant firsts involved in H&M’s Christmas collaboration with Sonia Rykiel. It’s the Swedish giant’s first designer alliance for underwear. It’s the first time that the collaborateuse will be selling H&M product in her own shops. And it’s the first time there’ll be a gigantic all-the-trimmings launch. Tomorrow night, the Grand Palais (scene of many a Chanel extravaganza) will be transformed by show producer Etienne Russo into a Parisienne fantasia, through which nearly 80 models will parade in the kind of underpinnings that would—as Raymond Chandler memorably observed about the power of female beauty—”make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.” The Chandler reference isn’t (just) me being silly. There’s a real femme-fatale glamour to the Rykiel lingerie. As Sonia’s daughter (and artistic director) Nathalie said in Paris today, “The Rykiel woman has a very specific image: It’s St. Germain-des-Prés, sexy, excessive, very sophisticated…impertinent.” H&M already has a solid lingerie business, especially round Christmas, and, creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch was quick to point out, the company is no stranger to racy underwear advertising. But the Sonia connection added a spicy little something extra. “When I think about something feminine and a little bit luxurious, it’s nice that there’s a French feeling,” said van den Bosch. With the product in 1,500 H&M stores around the world, the whole planet’s going to be feeling a little bit French this holiday season. “But it doesn’t just have to be something that a man buys for a woman,” van den Bosch sagely added. “It’s something you buy for yourself, or for a friend. Or for your mother.” Now, I’d like to meet the boy who’s bold enough to buy a bra set for his ma after he’s eyeballed a brunette Lara Stone in the H&M ad campaign.