I won't be the first person to say this, but time has taken on a strange quality over the last 12 months. It was only five months ago that I tried on H&M's showstopping Simone Rocha collaboration (which, unsurprisingly, went on to be a sellout success), but it's fair to say that it feels like a lifetime ago. So I couldn't quite believe it when I found out that the high-street brand's next big designer collab was imminent, and naturally, I had to be the first to get a sneak peek. Oh hello, H&M x Toga Archives.
As per usual, H&M has opted for a brand that will, most likely, not be known by the masses but is sure to get fashion lovers' hearts racing and deliver on insider appeal. Designed by Yasuko Furuta, Toga was first conceived in Tokyo in 1997, but it wasn't until 2005 that it began presenting its collections in Paris and then London in 2014. Furuta's deconstructed aesthetic is centred on dramatic silhouettes that are, in part, inspired by Japanese design but also pay homage to her training in Paris. All of this is packed into her collaboration with H&M, which presents an avant-garde twist on traditionally polished pieces.
Blazers are embellished with XXL brooches and finished with waist-cinching tabs, trench coats elevated with panels of high-shine patent, and pretty floral dresses given an edge with colour-contrasting sequins. Most notably, I feel this collection points to the move towards a more unisex approach to design. A fair chunk of my edit is made up of items from the menswear collection, which is packed full of oversized tailoring that feels undeniably chic when paired with separates and accessories from the womenswear collection. I, for one, am wholeheartedly here for this more free-flowing approach to clothing categories.
I haven't included every piece from the collection, as I only wanted to feature items that I am truly invested in and would happily wear myself. I know the high street gets a lot of flak (and I acknowledge that it has a long way to go), but I have to say that the quality of these pieces is impressive, and I have no doubt that they will stand the test of time. But as always, make sure you think carefully before you make a purchase, and hopefully, my edit can help you to make a more informed decision.
From perfect party dresses to head-turning blazers, scroll down to see my favourite pieces from the H&M x Toga Archives collaboration, which drops tomorrow morning. Just remember these collections don't stay in stock for long.
Style Notes: This is definitely one of the showstoppers of the collection. Coming in a heavy silky fabric with a striking marbled print and an unusual embellished cut-out at the knee, it honestly looks (and feels) like it could've stepped right off the runway. The shoulder padding, full skirt and long sleeves only add to the premium finish. This would be a stunner for any autumnal party or wedding.
Style Notes: This tunic top may well be a divisive one with its side-scooped detail, but for fashion lovers craving something a little different, this will be the one for you. Decorated with an XXL teal brooch and finishing at the knee, this very much lends itself to the dress-over-trousers trend. I've worn it alone with the collection's fab checked trousers, but I can imagine it looking very cool over a colour-match ribbed roll-neck knit and trousers when winter arrives.
Style Notes: Perhaps it's the oversized look or the expensive-looking waist-cinching tabs, but either way, I am a big fan of this blazer, which is sure to be serious catnip for those who enjoy tailoring with a twist. Throw it over party dresses, jeans or tailored trousers for an It girl–worthy ensemble.
Style Notes: Surprise, surprise—another winning coat from the collection, but this time it comes in the form of an achingly cool layered trench, complete with high-shine patent panelling. The sleeves come with a buckle so you can adjust the fit, but obviously, you have to embrace the oversized look with this one. This is exactly the sort of piece that I'll be using to add interest to my basics this autumn. All it needs is a white tee, jeans and boots, and you'll be good to go.
Style Notes: I couldn't help including this blazer from the menswear line, as this classic navy iteration makes for a perfect minidress. (Note that I'm around 5'7", so it might be a little short on anyone taller.) It features a similar waist detail to the grey blazer, so you can create more or less shape depending on your desired fit. I've added a little sparkle via the collection's cute sequinned tote. Party-ready perfection.
Style Notes: I'm not usually a massive fan of floral dresses, but there was something about the sequin back detail and statement shoulders on this item that makes it feel a little more interesting. Made from a similar satin fabric to the swirl dress, it feels suitably expensive, and, again, the longer sleeves are perfect for those who prefer to cover up in that area.
Style Notes: This is another look that can happily be filed in the "fashion girl" category. Sequinned trousers are not exactly for the faint-hearted, but I would say that they're a fun alternative to a traditional party dress and will have definite Scandi vibes when juxtaposed with a tailored shirt or casual white tee. I also have to give a shout-out to the boat-neck blouse, which would look equally as fab with slouchy denim.
Style Notes: For a polished cold-weather outfit, a checked midi skirt will be a godsend this autumn. This monochrome iteration features another signature circular cutout, but it's quite subtle within the fine pleating of the skirt's fabric. I've styled with the collection's slouchy, bow-tie knit, but I would probably add knee-high heeled boots to increase the warmth factor for winter.
Style Notes: This menswear trench is all business in the front and party in the back thanks to the cool vintage-inspired silk-scarf panel. I find that trenches tend to look better when oversized, so the bigger menswear sizes lend themselves well to a more dramatic silhouette. This is a classic coat that is bound to look good with all your autumn staples.
Style Notes: For anyone who needs an antidote to the sequinned trousers and patent trenches, I've included these classic tailored separates. The shirt is from the womenswear line and the trousers from the men's, but together they are both pieces that are sure to stand the test of time. I love the blouse's neck-tie detail, which would look cute peeking out of a layered crew-neck knit. The trousers, meanwhile, are a versatile shade of blue and have a flattering straight-leg fit—just double-check the measurements to make sure you get the right size.