Dubai: There aren’t many things which will have 200 people queuing patiently outside a store from 5am. Versace for H&M apparently will.
Not a sleepy eye or weary body in sight, the prospect of snapping up principal items from the collection designed specifically by Donatella Versace for the high street store, was plenty enough to keep everyone bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
After much anticipation for its arrival, the limited-edition pieces were placed carefully on racks at The Dubai Mall store, skipping the giant Abu Dhabi outlet this time.
Launched globally on Thursday, the entire collection was available for just 30 minutes. Not because there was a time limit but because it sold out in record time. Shoes started from Dh499, dresses from Dh599 and jackets from Dh999, a fraction of the cost of a genuine Versace design.
Women and men from across the emirates rushed through the doors as soon as the security panels were lifted at approximately 8am. A polite cat fight is probably the best way to describe the events which then unfolded. Ladies bartered; dresses for skirts, size 36 for a 38; while others went for the “grab-five-of-each” type of approach.
The collections, available in around 300 stores worldwide, as well as online, were expected to sell out in their entirety, and Dubai shoppers didn’t hang around.
“I was not going to miss this,” said 24-year-old sales executive Marty Gunner. “I knew what I wanted and I have managed to find it. It doesn’t fit perfectly but it’s Versace so who cares,” she said before heading back into the melee.
The line debuted at a major fashion show in New York on November 8, attended by celebrities who enjoyed performances by Prince and Nicky Minaj.
Dominated by colour, print and cut, the brand’s creative director Donatella Versace has gone back to the archives to bring some Versace classics to a whole new audience.
Student Aisha Abdullah said never in her wildest dreams would she be able to afford Versace. “This is the only way I’ll ever own anything with a Versace label on,” said the 18-year-old. “While I’m at college anyway. Maybe one day I’ll buy a real piece which will be nice because I’ll always remember this day.”
Iconic dresses are the focus of the women’s collection, while menswear is centred on sharp tailoring. Floaty black and purple short dresses priced from Dh699, perfect for the holiday season, seemed the favourite as well as a leather jacket range with gold studs.
A classic black silk crepe dress with gold Grecian buttons on patent straps was at one point taken from a model in the window. Nobody stood a chance.
Bright pink suits for the men didn’t stay on the rack for long and sought after pink shoes were nowhere to be seen from just five minutes in.
Jam-packed changing rooms
The changing rooms were jam-packed and were also the place much of the negotiation and exchange deals took place.
“This is the best place to stand,” said Kristen Fitzgerald. “I didn’t get anything I wanted in the store because it was so scary. Instead I’ve just stayed here and taken all the things people aren’t taking after they’ve tried it all on. Fabulous.”
Accessories were a favourite with local ladies including embellished beanies, patterned caps, embellished or print scarfs from Dh149, bags, choker necklaces and giant golden floral rings.
Hi-top trainers were the first of the shoes to sell out completely closely followed by dress shoes in silver and black.
The Versace collection was also the first time an H&M designer collaboration has included homeware pieces with pillows and a bedspread resplendent in the multicolour floral Japanese fan print,
“The collection for H&M is the essence of Versace,” Donatella Versace said last week in New York. “For the collaboration we’ve brought back some of the icons of Versace, such as the bright prints, the Greek key and daring cuts. I can’t wait to see how H&M’s wide audience will make these pieces their own.”