When the pavements around the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets were pounded by the higher than usual count of Louboutin heeled and designer bag toting denizens of style, you knew something quite remarkable was about to unfurl.
The scene was the highly anticipated launch of the new full concept flagship store of Swedish fashion and lifestyle retailing colossus, Hennes & Mauritz AB better known as H&M.
The new H&M store, a first for Australia, takes proud location at the imposing and grand Melbourne GPO on Bourke Street in the heart of the CBD and the store encompasses all 5000 square metres of this important landmark Melbourne building.
H&M have dangled the prized apple for the Australian consumer with the full concept flagship store showcasing apparel, underwear and accessories for Men, Women, Kids and Baby as well as an extensive Home concept.
Invitations for the launch were highly coveted with the curated 1100 guests representing the chieftains of media, PR, fashion, captains of business and industry, the fashion aficionados, the influential and most definitely the taste makers of Melbourne and the rest of this fair country. A specially chartered flight from Sydney flew in near 300 luminary guests from that city including editors in chief of several important fashion glossies.
Onlookers gaped in awe and admiration as the incandescent guests paraded up the red carpet before being being ushered through the grand portal behind which lay the land of H&M.
Arming their guests with a Tiber-esque flow of Champagne Mumm, cocktails and oodles of tasty treats designed by sensational Melbourne chef Adam d’Sylva, the powers that be at H&M had decided that this would be an upbeat grand party and not an official stuffy event.
Thus sans speeches or cutting of ribbons, attendees were able to eat, drink, gossip, compare notes and air-kiss their way through the space and glamourous throng whilst simultaneously being able to shop.
And shop they did, for the ringing of the cash register was as loud as the excited chatter and fabulous music provided by disc jockeys and later in the evening by guest international act HAIM.
This H&M rendition of the Melbourne GPO space is clever, comfortable and conducive to shopping. Bright, airy and well lit spaces are coupled with comfortable changing rooms. Displays and visual merchandising as well as the general layout of the store is calculated to encourage spending in that particular Swedish nuance.
The H&M offering including the specially designed capsule collection for the Australian market is stylish, well made, on trend, displays good quality but most attractively is price sensitive in favour of the consumer…….one might even say it’s extremely affordable and will attract a varied demographic target.
The entire offering is designed to appeal to a wide range of consumers and tastes, and those that hold the power at H&M had thoroughly done their research.
The luminaries, the celebrated, the fashion and business pundits and even those that had arrived in a haze of scepticism did conclude after much mirth and merry making……Hennes and Mauritz AB had done it all correctly. If bells and whistles was what they had intended with the launch of their H&M flagship concept store, then in abundance they had definitely delivered.
Congratulations H&M and welcome to Australia!
H&M will open to the public on Saturday 5th April 2014 and is located at the Melbourne GPO, 350 Bourke Street Melbourne.