Cheap Thrills

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 March, 2007, 12:00am

What is the world coming to? Fashionistas are flocking to the high street to fight over the limited-edition collections at H&M and Uniqlo.

FASHIONISTAS (AND THEIR WALLETS) can breathe a little easier. This year, high fashion will be hitting the high street.

It started in sportswear with Puma recruiting Neil Barrett, Alexander McQueen and Philippe Starck to design exclusive sports fashion lines. Adidas soon followed suit with Stella McCartney for what has become its most successful female yoga and sportswear range. The idea behind these designer collaborations was simple: big bucks style at an affordable price. It was only a matter of time before the rest of the fashion world caught on.

Last November, H&M made headlines with its one-off capsule collection by Viktor & Rolf. At H&M stores all over the world, many items sold out within hours of the collection's launch. Hong Kong may have missed out on the Dutch design duo's high-street debut, but we can look forward to the premiere of the M by Madonna collection two weeks before the rest of the world when the store opens here on March 10.

Not to be outdone by its high-street rival, British fashion institution Topshop has enlisted London's current golden boy, Christopher Kane, to design an exclusive capsule collection for its stores. Kane's intricate and sexy signature style, which catapulted him to the forefront of Britain's new generation of designers, will be adapted to suit the masses.

The collection will consist of pleated chiffon dresses in delicate tea, blush and grey shades. And if you love the neon colour schemes he used in his recent spring/summer 2007 showing, then you'll be pleased to know that it will be picked up on the zips of the dresses. Pieces will start at GBP110 (HK$1,689) - a definite improvement from his main label.

Last year, New Look - known for its value for money (GBP10 ballet flats, GBP8 basic knits) - announced an ongoing collaboration with 2006 British Designer of the Year, Giles Deacon. Rather than producing a one-off collection, Deacon will design four full seasonal collections a year for the retailer. The first one, Gold, will launch this month in stores across Britain and in Paris, Dublin, Antwerp and Dubai. The 35-piece collection is set to include Deacon's signature prints, dresses, jackets, shoes and other accessories, and prices start at GBP20.

Proenza Schouler, once hailed as the Future of Fashion at the Annual Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards 2002, is about to be the future of fashion at American superstore Target. The pair are the latest to join Target's GO! International Flights of Fashion initiative, inviting designers to create a women's limited-edition collection. Hip, modern and light the collection includes fuchsia-print bikinis, bold-coloured belts and tops, grey skinny jeans and the label's signature bustier tops. The best part: not a single piece costs more than US$50.

Last month, Japanese clothing store Uniqlo launched its Designer Invitation Project to coincide with the opening of its New York flagship. Each limited-edition capsule collection, of which there are five women's and three men's, will be available at Uniqlo stores worldwide for one month each.

Lutz & Patmos was the first collection to be featured. This month will feature a men's collection by Japanese designer Halb and a women's collection from Japanese designer Kino. In April we can look forward to Alice Roi's separates and dresses and Alexander Plokhov's menswear line. Uniqlo will launch the women's capsule collection by 3.1 Phillip Lim in May, as well as menswear by Satoru Tanaka. Completing the spring/summer portion of the project will be a women's collection from the Japanese brand GVGV.

Price might no longer be a factor, but as limited-edition runs go, you'll still be lucky to get your hands on a piece.