In the grand scheme of things, no, the world probably did not need a be-frilled, metallic minidress with a matching velvet ribbon-trimmed cape in the midst of a pandemic. And yes, it's safe to say that we won't be seeing shoulder-padded lace maxis grace the aisles of your local Sainsbury's any time soon. But is there something inexplicably appealing and just a little bit escapist about H&M's collaboration with The Vampire's Wife? Yes, yes there is.
Courtesy of H&M
As a brand, H&M has become known for its well-chosen designer collaborations, with the likes of Stella McCartney, Marni, Isabel Marant, and Erdem all joining forces with the global fashion powerhouse over the last 15 years. This year, H&M has selected The Vampire's Wife, a brand that might not have the mass recognition of past collaborators but that is highly prized for its red carpet–ready, vintage-inspired dresses by the fashion crowd and style-savvy celebs alike.
Naturally, those of us who covet these dresses but could never afford to own one were beside ourselves when we got wind of the collaboration, and I was lucky enough to be given a preview of the pieces before they hit the stores (and inevitably sell out within hours).
All in all, this is a thoroughly feel-good and fabulous collection for those who want a slice of The Vampire's Wife action without forking out the four-figure price tag. But unlike some of the other collaborations H&M has hosted, this one is definitely at the affordable end of the spectrum, with pieces starting at £10 for a frilled collar and going up to £50 for a lace midi dress. In truth, this is reflected in the quality. However, I would say the dresses feel similar to any other dress you might find for the same price point at H&M.
Certain pieces stood out more than others. For example, my hero buy has to be the ruffle-sleeve lace minidress, which perfectly pays homage to The Vampire's Wife's flattering cuts thanks to the waist-cinching bow that ties at the back and the delicate lace sleeves that flare at the elbows. The matching cape was fun to try on, but I can't see myself throwing it on to go for dinner with my husband. Well, maybe give it a few more months of social distancing…
The velvet minidress with voluminous lace sleeves was another standout item, and I can imagine it looking very chic with the detachable collar, tights, and black loafers. Fit-wise, as someone who has tried on the real deal and found the proportions tricky (tiny waistlines and roomy busts), the H&M collection is definitely more accommodating. However, the one thing I would say is the minidresses come up very short, so if you're on the taller side (I'm 5'7"), you might want to bear this in mind. All the dresses are true to size (I'm wearing a size 8), but if you're bigger in the bust area, you might want to size up.
So if you want my two cents before you shop the collection, which goes live tomorrow, please do scroll on. Now, please excuse me while I boil the kettle in my lace cape.
Shop the Collection
Style Notes: Lace! Ruffles! Velvet collar! Statement shoulders! The brand really has thrown everything at this piece, but the effect is oddly chic. No, I won't be wearing it out any time soon, but if you like a little bit of "extra" in your wardrobe, this baby is for you.
Style Notes: This cute minidress has everything I love about The Vampire's Wife's dresses: puff sleeves, a nipped-in waist, and a flattering high neckline. It's definitely the piece I would buy from the collection and wear to my (Zoom) work party.
Style Notes: This is the only long dress in the collection, and while it wasn't the most flattering on my body shape (I think it's a little too clingy on the hips), I did fall in love with the balloon sleeves and ruffled hemline.
Style Notes: Velvet lovers, this one is for you. Coming in more of an A-line fit than the other minidresses, it falls beautifully and was made for swishing round the dance floor or, you know, your living room. It's hard to see here, but it features an oversize bow, which sets the whole thing off nicely.
Style Notes: Sometimes, the devil is in the detail and, in this case, in the ruffled detachable collar. I'm certain that this will be a sell-out, as it can be added to everything from a minidress to your favourite crew-neck knit. A fun and versatile autumn accessory.
Style Notes: This is my second hero piece of the collection. It has the statement sleeves, the adjustable waistline (again, thank you bow-tie fastening), and the scoop neckline. I would've liked the shoulder pads to be a little bigger, but that's just me.