Empress Isabel’s new clothes

Like everyone else with an iota of fashion sense, I got caught up in the excitement ahead of the Isabel Marant for H&M launch. I even toyed with the idea of going along for the 8am opening but then I remembered: I don’t get up early and I don’t do queues.

Also I noticed “the rules” on the H&M website: being given a coloured wristband for a shopping time slot, having only ten minutes to shop (although it was 15 minutes in London and New York). H&M, WTF? Shopping is meant to be enjoyable, who wants to be treated like cattle when they’re spending money on lovely clothes (although from the pictures, some of them looked hideous – definitely a case of emperor’s new clothes)? It sounded worse than the treatment you get in BA economy class. All and all, I’d rather pay a squillion quid for a linen T-shirt in the Ice House Street store.

But as it happened, I would be in Singapore with Mr J for the Isabel Marant launch date and our hotel was temptingly close to H&M on Orchard Road. It’s a sign, I thought. I should go along.

Better still, no Singaporean girls will buy Isabel Marant, I let myself dream further. It’s too tomboyish, not anywhere near revealing enough for them. There’ll just be a few expats to contend with and they’ll all want that beady jacket and the silk tea dress that looked hot on Rosie Huntington-Wotsit but frumpy on Kirsten Dunst and neither item was on my hitlist.

But as we walked past the store at 8.30pm the night before on the way to dinner I noticed the ominous sight of crash barriers in place. Already people were queueing up – or rather sitting down on the pavement, in readiness for the long night ahead.

“That’s when a maid comes in handy,” said Mr J. “You could get them to queue up for you.” When I went to bed that night I was still intrigued. If I wake up early, I’ll go, I told myself. I woke up at 9am.

Never mind, I thought, despite the collection not being sold online in Hong Kong and Singapore I’ll go online at 9am UK time and have everything delivered to my parents’ house. Ha! At 8.50am the site went down. At 9.30am it went down again. Then again at 10am. The four items I had triumphantly squirreled away into my bag came to nothing.

Admittedly I do own a few, crazily priced Isabel Marant pieces (including a tweedy jacket that Mr J says looks like it comes from a flea market and something a granny would wear) and no doubt will buy more but this still irks me.

Seriously, after so many designer collaborations why are H&M so rubbish about this? Why do they allow “VIP” guests to buy in advance when they are brazenly selling the goods on ebay? They must know who they are. Why don’t they limit purchases to one size per style so “fashion scalpers” don’t snaffle everything and sell for profit on ebay? Why can’t they produce more clothes so cash-challenged designer fans can enjoy wearing them? And why can’t they sort out their bloody website?

Incidentally, as of this morning H&M Orchard Road still had the fringed ankle boots in size 35, the charcoal wool coats (natch), dodgy looking black leather pants with side ties and that hideous silvery bomber jacket on sale. Just so you know.


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