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Couture Collaborations Are Now Affordable and Mainstream



The fashion runways are full of edgy garments that few of us could dream of wearing to the office. Those outfits can be a bit crazy sometimes, admit it! Truthfully, Paris fashion week is only meant to be an artistic celebration and a little innovative publicity. So we got the message, and we’re sold – but the ready-to-wear lines by these companies each season are also priced far above the limits of our disposable income! And perhaps, intentionally so. Who can really shell out $800 for a sweater at a time when 40% of Americans report they do not have any emergency savings? This disconnect has been a tragedy and a creative death at the mall time and time again. Oh, the injustice!

H&M / Balmain

Never you worry, because a totally très chic trend has been brewing in the garment business. Couture and high-end designers have accepted collaboration deals with mainstream retailers, with collections designed to be affordable and accessible for the average consumer. And it’s about time! A little bit of high fashion flair is now entirely within reach, and designer partnerships are increasing. More, please. Let’s take a glance at some of the newest offerings on the market for real fashionistas on a budget. Ooh la la!

Giambattista Valli / H&M

Giambattista Valli is an Italian designer based in Paris, the obvious choice for those who want to immerse themselves in the world of haute couture. A staple at fashion week, he regularly outfits celebrities you know and love. Jessica Biel, Demi Moore, and even the iconic Sarah Jessica Parker proudly wear his designs at events to see and be seen! Beyond that, Queen Rania of Jordan and Princess Clotilde Courau of Venice are big fans. So what could an established royal outfitter be hoping to do next?

H&M is partnering with Giambattista Valli for its seasonal designer collaboration. And he seems pretty excited to try something new, like bringing his fashion sense to millions who may not yet be familiar with him. Exclusivity is great, but it’s nice to share things with the world sometimes! Those who haven’t heard of Giambattista will definitely get to know him a bit better when they stop by any mall in the coming season. It appears that his designs are going to be a real upgrade for date night across the world! Charmingly, he has spoken about his excitement in contributing to romance on a large scale through this H&M collab. It’s unclear if the language of love these days is actually French or Italian, but Giambattista has both bases covered. Trust him!

Alexander Wang / Uniqlo

Alexander Wang has collaborated with Uniqlo on a highly wearable collection for everyone out there, male and female alike. Why did he choose this partnership? Maybe it’s because Uniqlo is part of one of the most profitable fashion holding companies in the world right now, and he’s got some good business sense. He definitely has fashion sense! The idea of stretchy daily wear designed by Alexander himself is an easy way to secretly feel luxurious –  under your clothes, any time, any place.


The line of undergarments, bodysuits, and camisoles features technology the company is marketing as AIRism. What is that, you ask? They explain that it is actually an ultra-thin breathable fabric, which might be a welcome upgrade to whatever polyester garments other stores have sold you over the years. Uniqlo claims that this fabric releases heat as well as moisture, which sounds pretty comfortable! What’s more, it is anti-microbial. Maybe we never knew we needed that, but Alexander Wang has come to the rescue. And yes, he has branded each item with his iconic name. So far, he says his favorite items are the crop tops and bike shorts. What do you think of this highly affordable collection so far?

Balmain / L’Oréal

Balmain, baby. This famous French fashion house dates back all the way to 1945, and the founder was known for dressing Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich, and literal royalty during his time. The company has seen a number of creative directors since his death, like Oscar de la Renta from 1993 to 2002. And still, it’s just as difficult to adorn yourself in Balmain as it ever was. At $340 for a basic logo T-shirt, this new L’Oréal collaboration is a budget friendly way to get your hands on a little piece of the Balmain avant garde aesthetic without spending more than ten bucks!

Creative Director Olivier Rousteing has curated 12 L’Oréal lipsticks to mimic the edgy themes of the brand’s fashion lines right now, and the color scheme is divided into three “tribes”. The collection caters to all skin tones, with interesting shades in every direction. A matte swipe of this color really puts some high fashion sass into any basic outfit, whether it is a strange grey taupe or an intense royal blue. And with names like Domination, Liberation, and Power, these lipsticks are sure to be a hit for both companies. More trendsetting collections, please! L’Oréal has made haute couture affordable. How can we ever thank them?

AMBUSH / Converse

Yoon Ahn is the Korean-American genius behind AMBUSH, an up-and-coming brand that recently won some pretty cool style contests in the industry. She has been recruited to design special edition shoes and apparel for Nike, though she is probably pretty busy being a DJ and blogger as well. Somehow she found the time to get involved with a new project, and it’s going to be far more affordable than the rest of her super in-demand line. A new spin on the classic Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker is coming to a store very soon. And hopefully, near you!

Sneaker News

This edition will include all white rubber, and the names of both brands will be printed on the shoe along with the classic star logo decal. Yoon says the design was inspired by the Converse winter boots that the company actually used to make for the military. It sounds like the collaboration will include a broader collection besides the shoe, but we will have to wait and see! A little piece of AMBUSH will be definitely accessible to all this coming season. Very nice, Yoon.

Moschino / Sephora

Moschino is a luxury fashion house based in Italy, and they have had some pretty fancy deals in the past. The brand outfitted participants at the winter Olympics when it was held in Turin, and regularly designs for celebrities like Kylie Minogue, Madonna, and Lady Gaga! Moschino decided to partner with mainstream cosmetics retailer Sephora a few cycles ago for a makeup collection, and sold well enough for a second round. This time though, they are doing something really out of the box. Look at these highlighters shaped like highlighters!


The whole collection is meant to look like school supplies, and the range includes an eye shadow palette shaped like a laptop that opens and reveals “keys” made in every color. There are also makeup removers cleverly shaped like erasers, true to function. And white nail polish comes in a whiteout bottle! There are more goodies to talk about, but this off-the-wall design concept is an easy way for the average consumer to own a little slice of Moschino. With more than 700 Sephora stores in the United States right now, it won’t be hard to find!