STREET CHIC Is­abel Marant on her new col­lab­o­ra­tion with H&M.

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FWool cardi­gan, RM499, Is­abel Marant for H& M

Is­abel Marant rench de­signer Is­abel Marant is the pa­tron saint of go-to pieces. From per­fectly fit­ting tees and sweat­shirts to easy, eth­nic-in­spired dresses and em­bel­lished jeans, what­ever she cre­ates in­stantly be­comes es­sen­tial. So, nat­u­rally, her first fash­ion col­lab­o­ra­tion, a col­lec­tion for H&M launch­ing Novem­ber 14, is one of the most an­tic­i­pated of the sea­son.

Her in­spi­ra­tion, she says, came from her cat­walk ar­chive. “It’s a mix-up of my favourite things, pieces you put in your lug­gage and say, ‘If I lose my suit­case it’s go­ing to be a dis­as­ter.’ I fig­ured out what I wouldn’t like to lose, things I never get tired of.” The sen­ti­ment comes through in the clothes: T-shirts and sweats, tribal-chic jack­ets that ref­er­ence Spring 2010, and del­i­cate em­broi­dered dresses rem­i­nis­cent of the doily lace num­bers from Au­tumn 2012 all make an ap­pear­ance. Marant can’t pick just one favourite from among her hits. “It’s like ask­ing which one of my ba­bies I pre­fer,” she says, laugh­ing. “And my style is also a lot about mix­ing, so they’re re­ally meant to work to­gether.”

Marant says that the process of work­ing with H&M felt sym­bi­otic. “It was clear from the be­gin­ning that we didn’t want to just do a cheap ver­sion of Is­abel Marant, so we worked around keep­ing a high level of qual­ity in the fab­ric and the man­u­fac­tur­ing, do­ing things by hand,” she ex­plains. The part­ner­ship of­fered a chance for the de­signer to push her cre­ative bound­aries. “I’m a big fur lover, but for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons H&M doesn’t use it. So I tried to work with a new idea of mak­ing some­thing fur­like that is not fur, and we did a kind of knit­ted ‘fur’ in wool, which is su­per cool.” Pic­ture shaggy sweaters en­hanced with loose loops of yarn— over­size and cropped ver­sions that pro­vide the ideal an­ti­dote to win­ter drear.

“I’m very in­spired by peo­ple I see on the street, both how women are dressed and by their ges­tures or at­ti­tudes.” Mu­sic, too, is in­te­gral to her de­sign process. “I like to lis­ten to rock to have a tempo and get en­ergy when I’m de­sign­ing,” she says. “I es­pe­cially love songs by women, like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Kills, PJ Har­vey, or Cat Power.” That sen­si­bil­ity is ev­i­dent in her stageready em­broi­dered jeans, stud­ded shoes, and red leather pants. But it’s more than just rock ’n’ roll. “I try to think of many kinds of women, many dif­fer­ent styles,” Marant adds. “I love it when peo­ple can cre­ate their own look with my clothes and not just be an Is­abel Marant ro­bot.” Printed trousers, RM299, Is­abel Marant for H& M

Neck­lace, RM119, Is­abel Marant for H& M

Jacket, RM1,299, Is­abel Marant for H& M

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