LOS ANGELES--Sofia Coppola, Winona Ryder, Freida Pinto, Lou Doillon, Jessica Chastain…name a fashionable young starlet and they were there at Friday night's launch party for H&M's latest collaboration with Italian label Marni--decked in the new collection. So was Mel Gibson but he wasn't wearing Marni for H&M. He just crashed because, we were told, he heard it was a really good party.
And it was. We may be in the middle of fashion month with London Fashion week in full swing, but Los Angeles stole the fashion spotlight this weekend.
The setting was the John Sowden house, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright's son, Lloyd Wright, and known in LA as the "Jaws House" because the angular appendages on the front of the house looks like a shark's mouth, ready to chomp. (It's also the house where the model's live on America's Next Top Model, but the new cast mates weren't around.) The house is located in LA's Los Feliz neighborhood, a hipster-y Brooklyn-ish nabe, and so a fitting place for Marni's un-flashy un-LA aesthetic.
There was no fashion show for H&M's latest designer collaboration like there was for Versace and Lanvin--but why put on a runway show when you can enlist all the hottest young actresses and It-girls to serve as models? Seeing Rashida Jones having a tete-a-tete with Jessica Chastain in their printed silk frocks, Lou Doillon wafting about in the printed pajama set cinched at the waist with a red belt, and Elisa Sednaoui head-banging to Bryan Ferry in printed pants and a leather jacket (his music provided the soundtrack to Coppola's commercial for the line), made the clothes come to life in a way that a runway never could.
We stopped one such starlet, Brit actress Imogen Poots, to ask her about her turn as model for the Sofia Coppola directed commercial and print campaign for the line. "I'm not someone who's very educated in fashion and that's probably through choice actually," she confessed, seemingly wary of the fate that befalls actresses who become known more for their fashion sense than their acting. Working with Sofia Coppola was the selling point for Poots. "This Marni project appealed to me because Sofia Coppola is really a hero of mine and that was an immediate draw." Coppola, she added, "captures boredom better than anyone."
Coppola herself looked glowing in the matching gold print Marni for H&M top and pants, and said she was intrigued by the project because she "loves Marni" and "had never done anything for fashion before." It seems an odd thing to say coming from Coppola who has directed Dior Cherie commercials before, designed for Louis Vuitton, is besties with Marc Jacobs, and is someone whose all-around style (and hair!) is revered by fashionistas like us. But when we mentioned this to her, about how much people love her style, she seemed totally surprised and a bit flustered--and gracious, of course.
Marni designer Consuelo Castiglioni said she had never considered designing a collection for a mass retailer until H&M approached her last March, but had "no hesitations" about going ahead with it. "I think it was a nice experience and you can reach the young generation," she said. "I think this is very nice that they can afford and appreciate what we do." Castiglioni said she didn't have to change her design approach at all and made sure all the key elements of her brand--"the mix of fabrics and prints"--were there and that the quality is "really really really good." Trust us, she's right.
Click through for pix of every young starlet under the sun in Marni for H&M, Marni's main line, and Mel Gibson's random appearance.