H&M Studio SS18: Big in Japan

Sushi, sakura petals and the season's most beautiful collection. See all the pics from the runway show at Paris Fashion Week here.

Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Rue de Rivoli, Paris, France. On one of the coldest nights in Paris Fashion Week's history, the fifth annual H&M Studio runway show brought fashion's finest together to enjoy beautiful things while temporarily escaping the arctic winds. Having spent a night at the H&M House – better known as Hôtel National Des Arts et Métiers – guests arrived at the west wing of the world’s most famous museum, The Louvre, for a dinner and full presentation of the hotly anticipated collection.

After removing shoes and slipping into tabis (Japanese ankle socks, that is) the theme of the night became obvious. We had travelled from Paris to a traditional Japanese tatami room, clearly referencing the core inspiration of the collection.

Drawing inspiration from origami, Japanese folklore and art, and the urban grace of Tokyo, the design team has looked to the country in both subtle and obvious ways – from kimono-detailed dresses and wrap tunics to colourful prints inspired by the writing system.

"The look is all about strong statement colours and prints. It's relaxed and chic dresses worn with sandals and flared trousers. Minimalism meets bohemia with crispy whites, beautiful neutrals and strong primaries," H&M Studio designer Angelica Grimborg says about the collection, continuing: "The inspiration came on a trip to Japan and was born in the urban vibe of Tokyo, referencing the tradition of Japanese folklore."

The collection nods to other trends of the moment as well, including workwear tailoring, oversized knits and A-line shapes.

One of the most discussed topics of the night was the strict no-shoe policy, which
required everyone to remove their exquisite footwear and step onto the tatami mat in socks.

"I travelled through Asia for months and basically lived barefoot the entire time, so this isn't something new to me," Berlin creative and it-girl Vanellimelli says while looking for her seat, which is submerged into the floor.

With Naomie Harris, Alexa Chung, Alek Wek, Winnie Harlow and Joan Smalls arriving, sushi, sashimi and saké were brought to the guests as a star-studded model line-up featuring Amber Valletta, Adwoa Aboah, Edie Campbell and Maria Borges strutted around the maze of tables to a soundtrack including Alphaville's Big in Japan and Siouxsie and the Banshees' Hong Kong Garden. For the finale, cherry blossom petals rained down over the room, reminding us that spring and summer aren't that far away. 

“It was exciting to see our strong statement of print and colour with clean lines inspired by Japanese design. Together with the authentic setting, tableware, decorations and other details, there was a quiet grace that really shone through, and we can’t wait to see how our customers around the world will be styling their favourite pieces,” says Pernilla Wohlfahrt, H&M’s Design Director.

H&M Studio SS18 is available online and in selected stores now.

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