Late Friday night/early Saturday morning, my partner-in-crime J and I climbed out of our respective cozy, warm beds to venture out into the frigid cold to join our fellow shopaholic Torontonians in the line-up for the Lanvin (hearts) H&M collection. The original plan was not to head out until closer to 5am, but on our way home from work at 5pm on Friday evening we saw that over 20 fanatics had already camped out (literally – there was a tent pitched and sleeping bags rolled out) outside our local H&M, so we moved our schedule up to avoid disappointment. In line before 3am, we had over 5 hours to kill before the doors opened at 8am. When the adventure finally ended around 11am, we’d devoted 8 hours to the whole endeavour.
J and I spent the bulk of our non-shopping time deliberating the merits of lining up so early, hashing out our plan of attack once the doors opened and – when we tired of the first two activities – people watching. When the doors finally opened, we found ourselves right in the eye of the hurricane that was the Lanvin for H&M menswear section, which was cleaned out in what felt like 10 minutes flat. Having witnessed how quickly the menswear had been snatched up, our anxiety levels rose 10-fold as we waited impatiently for our 9am time slot to shop the womenswear.
When our 15 minutes finally arrived, J and I were the shopping dream team, bagging most of what was on our joint wish list. The rest we managed to pick up in the change rooms. When we finally left the store, we were lugging around 2 dresses, 4 t-shirts, 3 pairs of shoes, 4 belts, 1 skirt, 4 lipsticks, 1 bow tie, 1 cardigan, 4 charity bags, our backpacks, and our lawn chairs. It’s been over 3 days now and my shoulders are still sore! But it was all worth it.
For those eyeing my spoils of war with envy and hoping to score when the next collaboration rolls around, I present to you my top 5 observations from the backseat-slash-pieces of unsolicited advice for H&M designer collaboration shopping. You can thank me later for these gems:
1. Study like it’s an exam.
A woman behind us in line confidently and unknowingly spread false information to our fellow linemates throughout the wait. She declared that she was waiting for “Lah-vin” to inquiring passersby (at least know the name of the design house), and informed everyone that 100 wristbands would be handed out (try 320) and that each shopping time slot was 10 minutes (actually 15). I’m surprised she managed to show up on the right day and in the right place. I reviewed the lookbooks and price list and read up about the shopping rules in advance; knowledge is power, even where shopping is concerned.
This one is self-explanatory. If you want that yellow dress that badly, take matters into your own hands. I’m not by any means a morning person, so crawling out of bed at 3am sounds like hell to me, but that dress was worth sacrificing a few hours of sleep. My friendly suggestion is, then, get out of bed at the ungodly hour the rest of us did, or forever hold your peace. If your excuse is that you didn’t know the line-up would be that crazy, see #1 above.
3. Come prepared.
Some of our linemates made makeshift beds out of free newspapers they found nearby. Others donned shorts with patterned tights to join the cue – cute, but definitely asking for a nasty case of frostbite. Check the weather forecast before you head out for a 5-hour wait outdoors in the Canadian winter – you can’t buy a thing if you’re being treated for frostbite at the local hospital. I wore my Canada Goose parka and brought a chair, which didn’t require a whole lot of pre-planning, but made a world of difference to my comfort level during that frigid cold wait.
4. Play nice.
We had another linemate – a cast member of Lake Shore– who (a) left the line to grab a delicious breakfast in a warm and toasty diner nearby and then inserted himself back near the front of the line by wowing some other linemates with his impending super stardom, and then subsequently (b) yelled loudly in the middle of the menswear section “I got everything I wanted! I got everything I wanted!” at everyone he budded in front of, who I’m sure didn’t get everything they wanted. His behaviour was beyond obnoxious (and I’m sure the precise reason he was cast on Lake Shore). My advice? Play nice, boys and girls. The salesperson holding the yellow dress I wanted wasn’t technically allowed to give it to me, but she threw me a bone when I smiled and asked nicely (and quietly)…thank you!
5. Buy now, think later.
You’ve waited 5 hours in a blizzard and it’s finally your 15 minutes to shop the collection. By this time you’re mentally and physically exhausted, but hang in there! Grab everything you might even be remotely interested in and don’t let any of it go until you’re absolutely 100% certain you don’t want it. Now is not the time to make rash decisions about those gorgeous bow pumps. If you’re not sure, take them home and strut around the house in them. You can always take them back for a refund if you decide they’re not for you once you’ve settled down from the excitement of it all. Thanks to J for reminding me of my own mantra that day! I may be returning 3 pairs of shoes later this week, but I have no regrets about what I left behind at the store.
So there you have it – what I saw, what I bought and what I learned, all rolled into one neatly-packaged blog post. Hope everyone got what they wanted - whether it was a fancy faux fur coat or a good night’s sleep!
P.S. An exciting tidbit for those of you who have diligently read up to this point in the post – stay tuned for a Lanvin for H&M giveaway coming soon!