Paris fashion week got into its swing on Wednesday evening at the Musée Rodin, not with conceptual couture dresses but with clothes costing as little as £9.99.
H&M, the Swedish high street brand known for its blockbuster designer collaborations, made its Paris catwalk debut with a largely monochrome autumn collection, featuring furry jackets, embroidered tunic dresses and fancy capes, worn with fishermen's caps and knee-high boots.
Despite showing on the catwalk, this was a wearable collection with no gimmicks. The style of garments shown will retail at similar prices to the normal H&M range, except for some of the showier pieces – made from slightly more expensive fabrics – such as the black wool flared miniskirt with embroidery and a black velvet cape featuring epaulettes.
Similar attention to detail elevated other pieces, such as the black wool cropped peacoat, finished with a vintage cuff, and the grungy long black bias-cut dress with leaf appliqué and embroidery.
"When we started thinking about this collection we talked about drama – a kind of modern drama," said Ann-Sofie Johansson, head of design at H&M, during a preview of the collection. "There is a lot of tailoring but with a little bit of a bohemian feeling."
Tomboy and Russian elements were also thrown into the mix, though essentially this collection was about "a gang of girls dressing up", Johansson said, adding: "Borrowing things from their boyfriend's wardrobe, maybe their grandmother's, and mixing them together to make an effortless and cool look. It's nothing new really, but it makes fashion fun."
This is the first H&M catwalk show for its mainline label since a 2005 show in New York. But the brand is no stranger to high-end fashion opportunities. Last weekend it dressed actor Helen Hunt in a blue strapless gown for the Oscars, and it has also staged collaborations and events with Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld, Versace, Maison Martin Margiela and Lanvin.