Tuesday, November 22, 2005
I know I’m a bit slow off the mark about the whole Stella at H&M thing. BUT most of the other blogs I read who mentioned it were not actually there at 10 am on the 10th of November. Noooo. They were in Kansas or Saskatchewan or somewhere thousands of miles away from an H&M looking at thumbnail pics of it on the internet and wishing, wishing…
I wasn’t there at 10 am either, I got there at 5 minutes past thinking ‘what does it matter, this is Bluewater, who the hell in Dartford/Essex has even heard of her? Ha, I am so sneaky! No one else will come here. It will be just like last year when I had the entire Karl Lagerfeld collection to browse at my leisure (Karl’s effort was un peu disappointing actually. That is a diplomatic way of saying it was boring and crap and probably took him about 3 minutes to design.)
I live in London but I thought I was SO CLEVER going all the way to Bluewater where usually you find all the sold out in London pieces languishing. So anyhoo, I strolled in to the sight of empty rails, a few size 18 bikinis left dangling, women with a mad gleam in their eye pouncing on others cast offs from the changing room. Most disturbingly I spied dodgy looking men, either husbands sent by their wives or professional ebayers stockpiling anything they could get their hands on. One man had 5 huge bags of clothes already and was grabbing anything else he could.
I almost walked out thinking I do not need more clothes that much. But then I realised if I took something, anything to the changing room I would be in just the right place to peruse the rail of clothes people had tried and not bought. Hysteria is contagious. So I stood in line for about 25 minutes with all the other Stellaholics – there was a strange kind of camaraderie, most un-British displays of strangers chatting about the collection, choosing to share changing rooms to save time, and one girl on a mobile phone relayed reports of how Oxford Street was ‘carnage’, people had camped overnight, 3 lorries had apparently been unloaded and the clothes sold before getting to the rails.
Finally I got to try on the three items I had managed to snatch in my size. A black silk tulip shaped skirt with a tuxedo waistband – great fabric and finish – sold! A bikini in my very favourite teal blue colour – sold! A pale pink satin wrapover dress was quite lovely and I was impressed that it was real silk satin but alas, it really did look like a bathrobe. Now of course the same dress is selling on ebay at 3 times the original price. See, I am just not business minded.
I must explain that on my birthday this year I wore what I thought (and still do think) was a beautiful silk satin grey dress with kimono sleeves by Danish designer Naja Lauf. A friend of a friend asked me in all seriousness if I was wearing a dressing gown and was I going to take it off to reveal my outfit? One was not amused and the experience has scarred one tremendously. It’s not easy being fashion forward sometimes you know.
I kept seeing people with some kind of knitted top which came in blue or pink with big long satin ties at the waist and cuffs. I knew this would be mine but I didn’t know how. I knew if I didn’t get it I’d have to go on a mission like the Vanessa Bruno dress mission, like the Gap skinny jeans mission, the Clinique black honey almost lipstick mission and then I would get obsessive and crazy and search every where until It. Was. Mine. But there were none left. There was none of nothing in fact.
Considering every other red blooded woman in Hennes that morning was exhibiting symptoms not seen since the gold rush fever of 1800 and something I didn’t feel the slightest bit of hesitation about lurking at the entrance of the changing rooms for ten minutes until a lady came out with said top. When I squawked ‘ooh that’s the top I want!’ she handed it to me and I was off. Off to the 45 minute queue to pay. After all the excitement and hysteria of the previous half hour fatigue had set in and the troops were restless. One woman said she’d gone into a trance like state. The man whose wife had already bought the whole bleedin’ collection 50 times over and who had positioned him in the till queue with the bags while she ran off to get more goodies began to get on my nerves.
I started to think about Krispy Kreme doughnuts whilst counting the inordinate number of Chloe Paddington and Mulberry tassel bags in the queue. I’m sure the sight of that will never be seen again in Bluewater. Unless of course H&M can cut a deal with Marc Jacobs, Nicolas Ghesquiere or Stella’s old mate Pheebs.