While Balmain x H&M customers may not have had the most efficient shopping experience on Thursday, the Swedish mass retailer is pleased with the collaboration's performance. In fact, it's the company's most successful to date. Håcan Andersson, a spokesperson for H&M, told Bloomberg that "the interest for this launch has exceeded all previous collaborations, both in-store and online." (A second H&M spokesperson was able to confirm that statement, but said it was against company policy to comment on sales figures.)
Following months of promotions and a supermodel-packed launch party late last month in New York City, anticipation hit a worldwide fever pitch come launch time at 8 a.m. ET on Thursday. Per previous collaborations, H&M's website crashed immediately, leading many e-commerce shoppers to take their frustrations to Twitter and Instagram, as well as Balmain Creative Director Olivier Rousteing's own social media channels. Customers also turned to the H&M mobile app in their time of need, which, much like the in-store experience, placed shoppers in a virtual queue.
Certain stores were stampeded once their doors opened, while at others, including the New York City location on E. 59th Street, groups of shoppers were allowed entry only in small groups and for 15 minutes at a time. Even so, much of the in-store #HMBALMAINATION goods sold out promptly, though Andersson told Bloomberg that "there can still be returns in the following days."
The first in line at the retailer's E. 59th Street location, Roberto Graham, 28, waited outside for 12 hours. While he described himself as a longtime fan of Balmain, it's H&M that held the most sway. "We all shop at H&M, so when it has a collaboration, you have to come out here and do your time," Graham told Fashionista. "It was a cool experience. I'm glad they did Balmain this year. I want to see what they do next year." (And for those less dedicated, a double-breasted wool jacket is now going for $5,000 on Ebay.)