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H&M X Rokh Vogue Verdict: I Tried On Everything And Here’s What You Should Buy

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I remember feeling giddy after attending Rokh’s first Paris Fashion Week show in 2019. It was inside a gritty concrete basement that South Korean designer Rok Hwang – who was raised in Austin, Texas and then Nottingham in the UK – presented a decisive catwalk debut that revelled in deconstruction, the splicing and dicing of ubiquitous shapes like trench coats and men’s shirting and head-turning prints. As someone, then, who has followed the career trajectory of Hwang for a number of years – a talent who won the LVMH Special Prize in 2018, before he even showed a collection on a runway, and trained most notably under Phoebe Philo at Céline – it was with a feeling of renewed lightheadedness when I learnt that Rokh was to be H&M’s latest designer collaborator, with a 58 (!) piece women’s and men’s collection.

It’s a notable vibe shift for the Swedish retailer. In recent seasons, H&M has teamed up with Mugler and Paco Rabanne on hotly anticipated sellout collections, that have dipped more than a tinselled toe into out-out party wear, complete with spandex bodycon leggings and lashings of disco sequin and sparkle.

This designer collaboration revels more in silhouettes that are “intelligent” and in the know, with a wink to masters of the avant garde like Martin Margiela (remember his surprising 2012 H&M collaboration?) and Helmut Lang. It’s more about masterful tailoring than metallics, the feel of surprisingly luxurious leather and premium cotton on the skin and a wardrobe of 24/7 pieces, from sharp buckled blazers to perfect LBDs, that you’ll want to wear forever. Plus, there’s more than a soupçon of skin to bare, as Hwang is well versed in an underwear-as-outerwear lingerie detail.

Cheeringly, this collection is available in a diverse range of sizes from UK 6-22 (XS-XXL) in womenswear, and when all 5’7” of me ventured to H&M’s central London showroom to get to grips with every piece in its collection, I tried on pieces that were a UK size 8, though I am sometimes a UK 10 bottom. I generally found that the collection’s sizing was accurate, but some of the corseted pieces came up a little small, and some of the waist-sitting pieces a little big. As someone who is far more often seen in baggy denim and oversized shirting than crop tops and pretty pleats, I also couldn’t help but gravitate towards the men’s pieces in the collaboration. My advice? Mix and match from the women’s and men’s department, as, really, what looks better than oversized boyfriend jeans, a white tee and a razor-sharp tailored jacket?

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