Jeff Koons Dresses Up H&M

H&M is puttin’ on the dog for its largest U.S. store, dressing its new Manhattan flagship up in the work of artist Jeff Koons.

Opening next month, the Swedish fast-fashion retailer says the new store is part of its sponsorship of the Whitney Museum of American Art's "Jeff Koons: A Retrospective." And as part of the event, it’s featuring a “Balloon Dog” leather handbag designed by the American artist at select locations throughout the country. While H&M has long partnered with leading fashion designers for capsule collections, it says this is the first time it has partnered with a contemporary artist.

The new location also includes a five-floor atrium, a 26’ x 20’ LED screen, and marble finishes with distinctive herringbone woodwork. It’s also the first in the New York area to include a home department, as well as separate "store within a store" sections for accessories and lingerie, and a complete collection of children’s clothes, from newborn on up. And, also a first -- it will have concierge shopping services.

"It is such an honor to have the vision of this prolific and world-renowned artist on display and as the storefront facade of the new H&M Fifth Avenue," says Daniel Kulle, H&M’s U.S. president, in the announcement.

Koons has partnered with marketers in the past, including a car for BMW, and wine labels. Currently, he holds the record for being the most expensive living artist: Balloon Dog (Orange) recently sold for $58.4 million.

After it finishes in New York, the Koons exhibit travels to Centre Pompidou, Musee national d'art modern, then to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (June 5, 2015 - Sept. 27, 2015).

Separately, H&M Group reports that May sales rose 19%, buoyed 3 to 4 percentage points by calendar shifts, and that sales for its second quarter rose 16%.

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