It didn't take long for a viral video released by H&M earlier this week to set off a wildfire of rumors over the company's next high-end designer collaboration. While most speculation—including ours—pointed to Bottega Veneta, today WWD reports that the mystery partnership will actually be with French fashion house Lanvin.
The 23-second teaser video gave us glimpses of a fashionable man in a dark, trim suit, sipping coffee and praising the beauty of smart women. Most experts pointed to Tomas Maier of Bottega Veneta, based on accent, voice, and what limited views we had of his appearance. Though Lanvin's creative director Alber Elbaz looks nothing like the video's mystery man—his signature bow-tie, or glasses would have been a dead giveaway—we should have known better. Elbaz has often waxed lyrical about the inherent beauty in intelligence: "The highest compliment a woman can receive is 'My God, she looks smart!' not that 'she's sexy,'" Elbaz wrote in his foreward to Lanvin, a 2007 retrospective art book.
While neither Lanvin nor H&M have officially confirmed the collaboration, Bottega Veneta is definitely out of the running—at least this time around. According to Vogue UK, the luxury label said that "Maier has no plans to launch a joint line."
For anyone who's familiar with Lanvin, this is huge news. As the oldest surviving fashion house in France, it's a label that everyone recognizes, most covet and few can afford. The brand received a major dose of revitilization when Albaz joined the company in 1999, and its popularity has only soared since. If members of New York's elite upper crust are willing to shop in candlelight at the city's first flagship after a pre-opening power outage, then just imagine the frenzy that a more affordable diffusion line with H&M will surely bring.
It's still unclear if the line itself will launch in stores on September 9, which would sync up with the start of NY's Fashion Week, or if it's merely the release of further details. It seems like H&M and Albaz are both happy to keep us guessing.