They Love It

The amazing sell-through of Mugler X H&M in less than a day meant only one thing: a success

A S$299 Mugler X H&M oversized, lapel-less wool blazer

We are not enamoured of Mugler X H&M, so we did not join the queue, which, according to social-media shares, was not that long. But we were curious about the collaboration, so we thought we’d take a quick peek. But when we arrived at the sole H&M store in Orchard at about four this afternoon, the space on the ground floor dedicated to the line was reduced to one wall (more like a pillar, in fact). When we looked carefully, the collection (of about 100 styles, including accessories, one staffer told us) was very close to sold out. Only about half a dozen pieces were left, hung messily, looking undesired. All the men’s pieces were nowhere to be spotted. A guy in a fitted shirt standing nearby had the occasion-specific, baby blue paper bag with the logos of the two brands on the front placed next to him on the floor. We asked him: You managed to scored something? He answered somewhat reluctantly. “Yah, was here this morning.” What did you buy? He turned to his friends and continued looking blankly inwards of the store.

What was interesting to us was not the well-hyped merchandise, which was not quite the Mugler that we remember. Rather, we were curious to know who the fans of the new Mugler, led by American designer Casey Cadwallader, were. There is no denying the clothes in the collaboration veered towards the sexually-charged or the visually aggressive. Although wearing revealing, body-conscious clothing is not quite something many on our island adopt for their daily get-up, there seemed to be fervid demand for the Mugler X H&M as seen in the first-to-sellout of the bodysuits and every piece with mesh panelling. We had thought that the second-skin pieces would appeal to clubbers or karaoke bar hostesses (clichéd as that may sound), but as it turned out, many of the shoppers were very young, and they came dressed without any ambiguity that seductive costume is very much their thing.

…as it turned out, many of the shoppers were very young, and they came dressed without any ambiguity that seductive costume is very much their thing

It is possible that due to the bigger sizes available for the fitted pieces (mostly in jersey), more women than we had imagined were considering (or had bought) them. At the store, there were many girls, including trans women (that they would find the collab irresistible is understandable), who were seemingly delighted that there were, at last, designer-linked fashion that could allow them to express their sensuality (and sexuality?) with confidence was finally available at an accessible price. But, the Mugler X H&M collection was not cheap. A pair of leggings with mesh panels was S$129, a mesh top dotted with rhinestones was S$159, a pair of jeans with ‘spiral’ panels was S$229, a ‘body chain’ (try wearing that on it own!) was S$259, a wool jacket with corset-style waist (apparently, the most targeted) was S$349. Outside the store, a full-figured girl was showing her friend her hefty haul, among them a corset top with mesh panels. When we asked her if she thought the clothes were expensive, she said, “You can’t find such sexy pieces at this price elsewhere.” Where would she be wearing that top to? “A date with my boyfriend, lah.”

As we did not get to see the collection at the time it was available this morning (purportedly at 8am), we were not sure if the entire collection was made available. Some of the styles, according to the H&M website, will be available later. The separates for men were completely sold out in the afternoon as not a single item could be seen. We overheard a petite chap say to his companion that the menswear “habis dulu (was the first to sell out)”. Most of the male shoppers (and there were many) were very young, too. Quite a few were seen in tank tops, with small crossbody bags strapped to their heaving chests. Others more delicately attired. One male shoppers, who looked like he just stepped out of an auditors’ convention, was looking for the jeans and when he was told they were all gone, let out an audible “shit”. On our way home, we scrolled through social media to see some of the shoppers wearing what they scored. An SOTD reader sent us a clip of a chap togged in the waisted denim trucker and the ‘spiral panel jeans’, complete with the scarf, (atrocious) belt, and ankle boots. The effect was hard to describe in positive terms. This was, regrettably, what Mugler X H&M did to both ordinary—and not-so-ordinary—folks.

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