Designer/High Street collaborations have become something of a rite passage for the brands involved. For the designer it’s an acknowledgement that their brand has earned mass appeal that the general public wants to buy into. For the High Street brand  it’s is a way of flexing their fashion muscles, not only displaying the high calibre talent they’ve pulled, but also proving  they have their finger on the zeitgeist’s pulse.  For the shopping public it’s a chance to own clothes by designers whose usual  sky high prices are permanently out of reach.

However, oftentimes Designer/High Street collaborations cause a shopping riot that’s not worth the hassle. The recent Isabel Marant for H&M collection sold out in hours and the  store on Kensington High Street had shoppers setting up camping outside the store in freezing temperatures.  When H&M opened its pearly gates, bloodthirsty bedlam kicked off -like feeding time in a shark tank. Rabid consumers were foaming at the mouth to buy a little piece of Marant. Sadly, a lot of the Isabel Marant collection was bought by Ebay sharks who are now flogging it for three times the RRP. To be fair, the collection was rather lovely – I had arranged to work from home that day in hope that if I hit up the H&M site swiftly enough I might snaffle a pretty printed dress and perchance a slouchy wedge boot. Alas, the website crashed before I could get a look in. My fashion forward planning was thwarted.

Beyond the H+M hysteria, there’s a more subtle, less obvious designer collaboration that’s just as lust worth and rather more interesting. Georgia Hardinge is one of the most exciting young designers to come up in recent years, and her second collaboration from River Island  has an edgy elegance that’s intoxicating. Since her brand’s launch in 2009, she’s focused on avant garde, sculptural pieces whose canny folds and prints mould the female silhouette into it’s most pleasing form. I caught up with Georgia at SS14 London Fashion Week, and I can firmly attest to her loveliness; she is a breath of fresh air – both in personality and work.

Me and Georgia at LFW 2013

Me and Georgia at LFW 2013

The first time Hardinge teamed up with River Island back in April this year, the collection had Georgia signature sculptural feel with intricate prints that look like a fossil viewed through a kaleidoscope. This time round the monochromatic prints are extreme close up of the the pages of a book, which makes me feel rather smug and intellectual when I wear the maxi dress from the collection (I know a book print does not imbue intellect, I but enjoy the fleeting smugness all the same). Georgia’s brilliance lies in making interesting clothes that actually look good on a woman’s body. The direction of the prints point in on the the waist and and the extended, mirrored lines give the pleasing illusion of extra height. There’s no doubt in my mind that Hardinge’s star is on a meteoric trajectory and the next high street collaboration may well engender the same frenzied stampede as Isabel Marant, Meadham Kirchhoff, Mary Katrantzou or Stella McCartney.


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