It`s April. The time has finally come. Actually, that time of the year, since every year, usually at the beginning of April, H&M releases a special collaboration known as H&M`s Conscious Exclusive Collection . Let’s see now what makes it special and so appreciated worldwide at the same time.
A Red Carpet collection designed exclusively with limited pieces?
Amazing embroideries and details, long skirts and dresses, silk and lace and mesmerizing accessories… all these make my heart spin, as you know. However, the most important detail about this collection is that it is sustainable, while also being the perfect pick for our passion for fashion and one of the kind on the market.
Yes, you read it right. H&M`s Conscious Exclusive Collection means fashion created from recycled pieces. Take a look at my favorite pieces from the collection. The ones I`m wearing today are:
A two-piece ensemble combining a cropped top with high neckline and long sleeves and a wide midi skirt with a pleated waistline. Both items are made of jacquard fabric with lace intarsia. The jacquard fabric is made of organic silk and viscose. Lace is a mix of Tencel and polyamide.
A long sleeveless dress with plunging V neckline. Fluid and sheer, this piece features a striking placement print of Sandro Botticelli’s “Three graces” and it is made of pure organic silk.
A shapely pannier skirt in textured jacquard fabric with a worn-out, time-consumed patina, made of a mix of organic linen, silk and cotton.
A pair of wide tailored trousers with side and back pockets, in off white Tencel with ornate embroideries made of glass beads in recycled and new glass.
A sumptuous jacquard coat inspired by the XVIII century just-au-corps, the elegant men’s jacket with longer back. Devoid of collar and with outsized patch pockets, it is made of recycled polyester, silk, polyamide and metal fibre.
A long kaftan with plunging V-neck, long sleeves and side slits, with a slightly longer back. Adorned with an all over placement print culled from Gustave Moreau’s painting Jupiter and Semele, it is made of pure organic silk.
It gives me great joy that one of my dearest fashion brands, H&M, has this unique collection (did you know? This yearly collection is unique at the level of the whole fashion world- no other fashion retailer has a similar collection in its portfolio). A Red Carpet collection that gives us the pleasure of wearing glamorous pieces made with care and respect towards nature, from recycled materials.
Are you feeling me now?
For this year`s Conscious Exclusive Collection H&M collaborated with Musée des Arts Décoratifs from Palais du Louvre, and they came up with a collection inspired from the paintings in the museum`s archives, particularly the works of Gustave Moreau.
The two printed dresses I`m wearing were love at first sight. Oh, and the white beaded pants…Even the beads are made out of recycled glass?!
The special lady we all felt inspired by at some point, Julia Restoin Roitfeld is the image of this new Conscious Exclusive collection.
You, my virtual friends, are the ones who should firstly read this interview with her, but before I leave you with it, I`m telling you this:
I think this world can be saved. And I think humanity stands a chance. Every positive change is possible with the power of example. My story and H&M’s just started. If you can take a moment to read this chapter maybe you can also get involved by taking your old clothes to the Garment Collecting points (here you can check out the closest H&M store to you).
The power of being an influencer/change-maker stands for this. Speaking about your passion while mixing it with your influence in order to turn the world into a better place. One in which I plan to walk dressed in sustainably crafted long Red Carpet dresses.
Photos by Emil Costrut
Julia Restoin Roitfeld, ladies & gentlemen
Julia, what led you to be the ambassador of the new Conscious Exclusive collection and how do you feel about this role?
I was chosen by H&M for this role, and I feel flattered and proud about it. I think it is a great idea to use fashion as a way to create awareness around the topic of sustainability. We all have to be more careful with the way we inhabit this world, and fashion can be part of the plan. Sustainable fashion is creative, inventive and responsible: as such, everybody can enjoy it while doing something good for the planet.
How much is sustainability important in your life?
Sustainability is more and more important, and not only in my own life. It’s not simply a matter of how we deal with trash and recycling: sustainability is an all-surrounding lifestyle that encompasses the way we consume, the way we behave and also the way we dress.
Can sustainability be fashionable?
Yes, definitely. Sustainability is a creative way to make fashion and also to use fashion. Making new clothes from old ones, turning recycled glass into embroidery is wonderful, just like mixing and matching old with new and being responsible about what we buy and consume.
You come from a family with a deep involvement in fashion. You think that style is something you are born with or something you acquire?
I think that style is a little bit of both. For a large part it is innate, but it is also something you acquire as you grow up. Style is just like everything else in life, in fact: you learn from other people as well as from yourself, or from mistakes. As such, it is really a never-ending process.
How would you define your own style?
Defining one’s own style is not an easy task. I’m very instinctive and I’d say that my own style is minimal and classic. I am certainly not as fashionable as my mom: I am quieter and less ahead. I never go for something over the top, I wear what I like and feel comfortable in.
What, in your opinion, has made French fashion so enduringly charming over the centuries?
The Conscious Exclusive collection is a fantastic journey through history held on a resolutely modern tone. As such, it captures the extravagance, flamboyancy and great sense of detail that have made French fashion enduringly relevant over the course of the last few centuries. Contemporary French fashion is probably a little less outré now than it was before, but we always keep having care for the little things that make a substantial difference.
How would you describe the Conscious Exclusive Collection?
The Conscious Exclusive Collection is a mix of historic feelings and modern shapes condensed into a wardrobe of separates that every woman can wear in her own way, making it truly unique. Old paintings and allover classical motifs are splashed onto clean-cut pieces, to striking effect. It makes for clothes thar are fun to wear and different from everything else you see around, which is always another plus.
What are your favorite pieces from the collection, and why?
As I said, I am not the most extravagant dresser, so I would go for the classic pieces. I like the white lace gown, which can also be worn as a wedding dress: it is totally worth of the red carpet, in an effortless kind of way. I also like the sleeveless top with the asymmetric marble print, and the blouses, either the poudre pink one or the painter’s smock, because of their versatility and streamlined design. I chose these pieces because they are easy to wear and easy to interpret.
How would you wear them?
I’d keep the white lace gown shining by itself, with a minimum of accessories. As for the blouses, I’d mix them with a white skirt, or the black trousers or the deco skirt, which are also in the collection. As an approach to style, mix ‘n match is totally sustainable: you expand the possibilities of your wardrobe without consuming more products.
You live a very hectic style and are also a mom. How do you manage to be always so stylish?
Being stylish is not my priority. I am simply being myself. I keep everything simple, and wear always the same clothes. I like black in the winter because it’s perfect for the metropolitan environment, but feel more bohemian in the summer. Which is also why I like the collection so much: it matches my summer self.
What you cannot live without, style-wise?
A pair of black stiletto pumps, a perfectly-cut pair of jeans and a little black dress go a long way with me.
Does something like a French Touch truly exist? Do you think the Conscious Exclusive Collection has it?
A French Touch certainly exists and people keep talking about it, yet I think it is very hard to define. There is an an effortless put-togetherness that is very French to my eyes: a trait that the Conscious Exclusive collection captures in the idea of the arty wardrobe.
Do you like the idea of affordable exclusivity?
Absolutely: style and fashion do not depend on how wealthy you are. It all comes from within. The collection is certainly affordable, but I like that it is limited edition, too: you won’t end up seeing all your friends in it.
Do you have any sustainable style tips?
Washing is very important: detergents pollute a lot and washing machines consume tons of energy. I try as much as possible to wash my clothes in the sink, by hand, at night, and hang them to dry so that they are ready to be worn the next morning. Especially with wool and delicates as they last longer being handwashed. It’s become part of my routine, just like brushing my teeth and washing my face before going to bed. Another sustainable style tip I’d give is to donate for recycling what you do not wear: there is no reason to keep occupying space in the closet, and donating will activate a virtuous cycle.
H&M Conscious Exclusive collection will be available in the H&M store from Baneasa Shopping City and on hm.com starting from the 7th of April.