I don't know about you, but as soon as the news of the H&M x Rabanne collaboration was announced, I immediately got excited. Paco Rabanne, or simply "Rabanne" as the fashion house is now known, has been enjoying a revival as of late as part of the same Y2K renaissance that brought back Diesel, Coperni and low-slung jeans, and nothing says "noughties" quite like Rabanne's specific brand of statement partywear. Take for example the chainmail minidresses that Paris Hilton would have worn, or the sequinned bags that have been spotted on the arms of everyone from Kate Moss to Emily Ratajkowski.
Even before the first teaser video dropped, we began to speculate in our Who What Wear UK group chat just how Rabanne's take on high-octane glamour would translate to a high-street collection. Well, the good news is, we no longer have to wait. Should the thought of a H&M collection comprising head-to-toe sequins make you feel a little nervous, allow me to reassure you—there is far more to this collab than glitter (but the showstopper pieces do lean into what Rabanne does best). From military-inspired jackets and coats to heady prints, leisurewear and plenty of party accessories, this eclectic collection covers all bases from impactful evening dresses to casualwear for the morning after, all with the unmistakable Rabanne flair.
So, now we know what the pieces look like, how do they wear? I headed into H&M HQ for a sneak peek of the collection ahead of its release on 9 November to try on my favourite pieces and give my honest review.
Those who weren't sold on H&M's collaboration with Mugler in the spring may find what they were looking for here instead, as the collection focuses less on sheer, bodycon moments and more on head-turning prints and embellished details to garner attention. Minimalists, this may not exactly be the launch for you, but if you're after elevated, well-constructed pieces, check out the latest drop from H&M's Premium Selection—it is second to none.
Instead, this is a maximalist playground that managed to convince this restrained editor to embrace the "more is more" mentality of Rabanne and load up on as much sparkle as possible. I even made a foray into the collaboration's menswear offering, which I find interchangeable with the women's, if, come launch day, your favourites are already sold out.
So, should your interest be sufficiently piqued, keep scrolling for my picks of the best dresses, tops, coats, knits and accessories from the new Rabanne H&M collaboration, along with why I believe they are truly worth buying.
RABANNE H&M EMBELLISHED MOHAIR CARDIGAN AND VEST
Style Notes: Despite the fact that I'd seen pictures of the collab before it dropped, this fluffy pink co-ord had completely passed me by, and seeing it for the first time in person made me audibly squeal. This is beyond cute. The soft pink colour, the fluffy mohair finish, the subtle crystal sparkle… everything is ticking my boxes, and it's the kind of Miu Miu, fun-fashion energy that speaks to my inner child. I know what you're thinking, and no, the mohair isn't scratchy, but yes, it is incredibly warm, so you needn't buy both pieces to layer up. The cardigan or the vest top would look great on their own with either jeans or a black miniskirt and knee-high boots. In fact, that's a Christmas-Day or NYE outfit idea that I'm bookmarking for later.
RABANNE H&M DISC EMBELLISHED SHOULDER BAG
Style Notes: Onto our first accessory pick of the collection and my personal favourite—a deceptively roomy shoulder bag with supersized sequin palettes. The temptation is to relegate this classic Rabanne bag to strict evening-only use, but I'd suggest that it looks just as good with a white T-shirt and jeans as it does with an equally sparkly knit. Well done to H&M for giving us a designer bag at a much more accessible price.
RABANNE H&M FUZZY COAT
Style Notes: Sure, we knew what we'd be getting from Rabanne partywear, but when it came to outerwear, I didn't know what to expect. It makes sense though that this big, shaggy, faux-fur coat would pair well with everything in the collection. The '70s vibe helps to dress up all of the sequins and prints to Studio-54 levels, and in the 10 minutes that I wore it, I was not only toasty, but having the kind of fun that I did dressing up as a child. And who doesn't love clothing that makes you instantly feel happier?
RABANNE H&M SEQUINNED FLARED-SKIRT DRESS AND SHIMMERING METALLIC STRAPPY SANDALS
Style Notes: Now this is exactly what I was looking for from a collaboration of this calibre. An unfeasibly comfortable (and well-lined) dress that feels like wearing liquid metal. No matter how you move, this dress catches the light and looks completely incredible, with the weightier sequins towards the hem creating a pleasing amount of sway and movement that I honestly believe will flatter everyone. Whilst I don't currently have any events in my calendar that require such a head-turning dress, I'm tempted to create one just for a reason to wear this again. If you're bored of relying on a little black dress to get you through party season, allow me to float this as an alternative. It's a guaranteed conversation starter.
RABANNE H&M SEQUIN DISC TOP AND SEQUINNED FLARED SKIRT
Style Notes: Granted, this isn't a look for everyone, but in the spirit of embracing the aforementioned Rabanne more-is-more mentality, these are the pieces that I had the most fun with. The skirt has the same incredible fit as the silver dress, and although the top takes a couple of attempts at getting into, the pay off is there. If you don't fancy showing quite so much skin (the top isn't lined), I'd happily wear it under a blazer or over a tank top to the same effect. The surprise hero of this look is the earrings, which are absolutely huge but also incredibly light, so even if you don't manage to grab one of the RTW pieces when they land, know that these earrings will elevate even the simplest outfit to Rabanne levels. Now, just point me to the nearest dance floor.
RABANNE H&M JACQUARD-KNIT CUT-OUT DRESS
Style Notes: This dress deserves a special mention for the fit alone. The floral print is great and the button details are cool (zoom in to get the full effect), but it's the thick, stretchy fabric that makes this truly special. It hugs curves to a smoothing effect and the flared skirt creates perfect balance (as someone who is bottom-heavy, it's exactly the silhouette I always look for). I didn't think I would love a piece as bold as this quite so much, but in the end I didn't want to take it off. Who would have thought that one dress could convince me to be a card-carrying fan of acid florals?
RABANNE H&M GLITTERY JACQUARD-KNIT MINI DRESS AND TROUSERS
Style Notes: Again, it shouldn't make sense but it does. Apparently, graphic, '70s prints are back. Or at least, they will be after this. This was the print I was most sceptical about, as the majority of my wardrobe comprises block colours and pinstripes at a push, but here I am making the most of what I can only describe as a "retro wallpaper print", and not entirely hating it. The micro-minidress would look chic over a black maxi skirt, and the trousers would be great with a black blazer, but it's wearing this co-ord together that helps the pieces come to life. It's a stretchy, comfy and easy instant outfit, and given the amount of times I've seen it on Instagram already, it looks like a fan favourite too.
RABANNE H&M FUZZY DETAIL WOOL COAT
Style Notes: Another coat from the collection to make use of shaggy faux-fur is this double-breasted military coat (but a quick word of warning: on first wear, the fur has a tendency to shed a little in a way that the collection's full fur coat doesn't, so be prepared to brush it down). Fluff-shedding aside, this feels like the kind of piece that would appeal most to those who aren't into print and sparkle, as it's a timeless, elegant cut and colour that would work in just about any wardrobe.
RABANNE H&M EMBELLISHED CHAIN MAIL TOP
Style Notes: Ending with a piece that I spotted in the men's collection, this chain-mail top was just too good to ignore. It's surprisingly easy to get into, and just like the other metallic items in the collection, as soon as the light hits, it looks like a million dollars. Be aware that this is an online exclusive, so I can see it flying out in a matter of minutes, but whether you wear it over a dress, with tailoring or even with dark denim, this is the kind of quintessential Rabanne look that turned the brand into a household name. Now, you can get it at a fraction of the cost of runway. Bravo, indeed.
SHOP MORE OF OUR FAVOURITE NEW-IN H&M PARTY PIECES:
The Rabanne H&M collection is live in-store and online from 9 November, 2023. Prices start from £28.