While doing press for Versace for H&M, Donatella Versace said many times that she wanted to make Versace accessible to a new, younger customer. “I wanted to give it to a whole new customer, especially the younger crowd, through H&M,” Versace said at a press conference about the collection moderated by Style.com’s Tim Blanks. “I know that with the H&M collection I’m going to reach a much wider audience than usual,” Versace said earlier in a video filmed during the shoot for the commercial for the H&M line. “When I’m going to see young people in the street wearing these iconic pieces it’s going to be fun.”
But perhaps not just any young person in the street. The New York Daily News reportedly tried to arrange a shoot featuring the Versace for H&M collection on ‘real New Yorkers’–according to the reporter working on the shoot, the models are all recent grads at high profile jobs, billed as ‘New York’s new power players.’ The reporter was cautioned by H&M that “Donatella will likely not approve shooting the collection on real women.” After the reporter sent over photos of the ‘real girls’ for approval, one didn’t make the cut because she “doesn’t fit [Versace’s] branding.”
Getting approval from a brand for a shoot is pretty standard–brands need to control their image. But the Daily News makes the point that H&M is supposed to be accessible in a way that designer brands like Versace are not. That’s why H&M collaborates with designers–to give ‘real girls’ the chance to wear Versace and Lanvin.
Were Versace and H&M just doing their jobs or is there cause for outrage here?
UPDATE: We received the following statement via email from Versace x H&M about the story: “We are very surprised by the NY Daily News article and do not understand how they came to this conclusion. We can only explain it as a misunderstanding and a series of miscommunication. H&M is a democratic fashion brand and it is not our policy to decide models for fashion features in media. Both H&M and Versace have, over many years, cast from a wide and diverse pool, not only of models, but of celebrities and personalities reflective of all ethnicities, gender, ages and sizes.”