Buro 24/7 Exclusive: Five minutes with Ann-Sofie Johansson of H&M
Let's talk about love
Last night marked a lot of first's for Swedish retail giant, H&M. Not only did they unveil their first see-now-buy-now show, the Studio Spring/Summer 2017 collection featured a menswear range for the first time. The iconic Tennis Club de Paris was transformed into a warm, inviting space for the Paris Fashion Week runway show—the perfect venue to broadcast messages of love and togetherness, which were the main touch points for the collection.
A stellar cast of models including Gigi and Bella Hadid, Adwoa Aboah, Amber Valletta, Jordan Barrett and Luis Borges were sent down the runway in sportswear and tailored pieces. Think ruffles and jolts of bright pink set against monochrome anoraks and reworked trekking sandals, voluminous silk and almost-sheer nylon and clean-cut wool pieces paired with fine knits. Of course, famous faces were not only spotted on the catwalk but off the runway as well. Among the 800 guests are Nicki Minaj, Alexa Chung, Lucky Blue Smith, Clémence Poésy and Sasha Lane, who along with a global audience (watching live on the brand's website and via VR on H&M's YouTube channel) were treated to an amazing performance by chart-topper, The Weeknd.
Following the show, Buro 24/7 Malaysia's editor-in-chief, Cai Mei Khoo managed to catch up with H&M's creative advisor, Ann-Sofie Johansson for a little chat backstage:
There was love all around for the H&M Studio S/S 2017 collection. What was the idea behind this concept?
When the design team started with the collection a year ago, they knew that they wanted to send a message of love, togetherness and positivity. We needed that message more than ever now. We, then, just built a story around that.
Can you tell us more about the collection, and how the message of love was translated into the clothes?
Well, we have the word, "love", printed on dresses and silk jersey tops, and on our earrings. The collection is dominated by black and white colours, which sort of served as a neutral base. We needed a flash of colour and we tried incorporating red and yellow but it was pink that felt so right—it looks good with everything and the fabrics used such as silk and linen. We think that the bright colour is very powerful, full of energy and revolutionary.
Tell us your thoughts on the see-now-buy-now approach.
I don't know, to be honest! We're giving see-now-buy-now a try and we'll see how things go. I believe it is a way of getting a little bit closer to our customers because everything that we do is for them. It's good, in a way, that the fashion business is shaken up a little bit because we live by being visionary and being ahead of times—that is what fashion is all about. But at the same time, the fashion industry is really conservative and traditional, so a little bit of change to switch things up is always good.
Does the new approach add pressure to you?
Yes, definitely! I think we raised the bar this time around but it was fun and I enjoyed it.
What do you think are some of the first few items that will get sold out?
That is hard to say. We actually just talked about this backstage. I think the pink coloured pieces are what most would definitely go for. Also, the nylon parka with the sequined collar.
Do you have a favourite piece off the collection?
Besides the nylon parka, I love the men's pieces. I'm actually wearing a men's jacket. It's got a very good fit. We want the collection to be cohesive, including our menswear pieces. They tell the story of love as well and I think we sucessfully sent the message across with the collection.
H&M Studio is the key seasonal collection from H&M, with its own dedicated design team. Shop the Studio S/S 2017 collection at hm.com, or at H&M Lot 10 starting today.