H&M designer collaborations are known to evoke a shopping frenzy. Trying to get some Alexander Wang-designed sportswear last year was a feat of luck and patience, as were previous lines with Stella McCartney, Donatella Versace, Lanvin, and Karl Lagerfield (the first high-end design partnership back in 2004).
This year's highly-anticipated collection with Balmain will be no different. The Parisian couture house once led by Oscar de la Renta is now under the design direction of upstart 29-year-old Olivier Rousteing, bringing a sensibility that's “opulent and direct, sensual and energetic” in the words on an H&M creative adviser.
In preparation for select in-store releases October 20 (for lucky New Yorkers) and the rest of the world November 5 (including online), I shopped the line and found the standout pieces you'll want to buy as soon as they go on sale.
The Military Overcoat
This coat looks remarkably similar to something you'd see in the house's (much more expensive) main line—pops of military influence on strong silhouettes are quintessentially Balmain.
The Power Blazers
Balmain 101: Wear a sharp-shouldered jacket to add a dose of sex appeal, something these two blazers have in spades. Note the subtle uniqueness of these high-waisted silk satin harem pants, too.
The Double-Breasted Jacket and Biker Pant
Part blazer, part coat, this double-breasted jacket is both handsome and timeless—but far from boring. If you're open to trying the biker pant trend, here's your perfect pairing.
The Cropped Leather Jacket
Unless you hate shiny gold buttons, I can't think of a good reason why you shouldn't buy this. And if that's the case, you may want to skip this collection entirely. Balmain is for embellishment-lovers only.
The Lapel-less Blazer and Black Backpack
Add "little white blazer" to your list of things you didn't know you wanted but now covet—plus maybe a black-on-black leather backpack while you're at it.
The Jade Green Pants, Bag, Coat, and Earrings
Beyond black and gold, creative director Olivier Rousteing really favors jewel tones, like the rich jade green on this bag, suede biker pants, fur coat, and oversized chandelier earrings. All are standout pieces on their own, but together they really show off Balmain's trademark flair.
The Wide Belt
Bold and chunky accessories—like waist-nipping wide belts and enormous gold baubles—are a fun and easy way to feel out Balmain's whole "tastefully overdone" vibe.
The Beaded Mini-Dress
Your 'Balmain Army' look (after what Rousteing adoringly calls the models who walk in his shows) wouldn't be complete without a body-hugging, beaded dress. This one is the right balance between sex and glamour.