A couple of weeks ago at 4am on a Thursday morning I was sitting on a pavement with 300 other women. Was I staging a sit in, or some form of camping, I hear you cry? Don’t be ridiculous- it was Versace for H&M.
I am fanatical about fashion and a self confessed shoe maniac and yet cruelly I was not born as a princess or one of the girls from TOWIE, and therefore my budget for all things sartorial is more modest than I would like. I have long drooled over the majestic creations of Versace in the pages of Vogue, and on the lithe limbs of supermodels and stars, but as a student could only dream of such finery whilst having to shell out for textbooks and rent. However, as if sensing my anguish Donatella and the good folks at H&M decided to create a limited edition collaboration- one that poor folks like me could afford!
Of course, it was love at first sight- the famous edgy Versace prints and timeless elegant tailoring. The divine silver strappy heels, beautiful silk skirts… and the drop- dead gorgeous red dress that screamed “WEAR ME TO YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY SOPHIE”.
And so, with that very dress etched on my memory I hailed a taxi at 3:50am in anticipation of the huge crowd, despite my boyfriend’s protests that I was the only person crazy enough to be at a store five hours before the doors opened. How very wrong he was.
Already, an impressive queue of fashionistas had formed, sporting a unique brand of ‘camp out chic’ designed to simultaneously battle the bitter cold of sitting out in November and also to prove themselves well dressed enough to deserve a piece of Versace. FYI, the dress code for such an occasion included; faux fur (and lots of it), Barbour jackets, UGGs, and for one brave camper- Christian Louboutin stilettos!
Surprisingly, there was a fabulous atmosphere. Everyone had a mutual love of fashion to talk about and there was much sharing of blankets and snacks, it was like a Girl Guide sleepover (only with Mulberry handbags and credit cards).
However, when the time came to receive colour-coded admittance bands I looked at the Versace-devotees who had been my companions and the camaraderie melted away. I was faced with the reality that these women had morphed into evil dress stealers, intent on nabbing my chosen style before my eyes. I was sleep deprived, and deliberated punching the man ahead of me in the queue who boasted that he was only buying to later make a fortune by selling his purchases on Ebay.
Thankfully, my turn to shop was early enough to ensure that I got my mitts on my dream dress, despite tears springing to my eyes when I didn’t immediately spot it (I promise I am usually much more rational). To other fashion lovers out there, be aware that H&M do a different designer collaboration each year, with previous big names including Jimmy Choo, Lanvin and Roberto Cavalli. It’s a chance to bag an item of catwalk quality at a high street price, and also to meet other people crazy enough to camp out for a pair of shoes!