H&M Breaks Out Designer Undies, Inks Sonia Rykiel


Sonia Rykiel is scheduled to be the next guest designer for H&M, and for the first time, the partnership will extend to lingerie.

The Sonia Rykiel 2009 holiday line is scheduled to arrive in 1,500 H&M stores by Dec. 5. At the same time, the lingerie collection will also be launched in Sonia Rykiel's boutiques around the world, a tandem offering that is another first for the Swedish cheap-chic chain.

The deal includes a line of bright knits for 2010, for both women and girls. That collection is set to launch in a much smaller group of stores -- about 250 -- on Feb. 20.

"It is a hallmark of Sonia Rykiel to think of all women because fashion is about a certain spirit more than a question of means," says Nathalie Rykiel, president and artistic director of Sonia Rykiel, in the company's release. "This collaboration fits perfectly with our philosophy. The 'Sonia Rykiel pour H&M' lingerie collection is the ideal way to offer the essence of Rykiel to a great number of women around the world, and a beautiful way to close the year. The knitwear collection is perfect for welcoming a colorful new season."



Sonia Rykiel's style, christened "la démodé," or unfashion, back when it launched in Paris in the late 1960s, includes inside-out stitching, colorful stripes, plenty of black, and knit pullovers, and is a favorite of such celebs as First Lady Michelle Obama, Chloe Sevigny and Nicole Richie.

Past H&M guest designers for the Swedish chain have included Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld, Comme des Garçons, and Madonna. A small collection of shoes, bags and ready-to-wear from Jimmy Choo, the chi-chi shoe designer, are scheduled to go on sale Nov. 14.

While H&M has gotten a few bumps and bruises from the recession - August sales fell 3% in local currencies, and 11% in comparable units -- its fast-fashion formula has held up better than many other apparel retailers. In the nine months of its fiscal year, sales gained 18%, including a 5% gain in local currencies. (In comparable units, sales fell 4% for the period.)

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