Generally speaking, H&M is where you go when you want to co-opt a cool, contemporary trend without paying designer prices. The sensibility leans modern—you need look only to their newest home collection, which is chock full of sleek, minimalist finds, for proof of this. But the brand’s latest collection is a step in the opposite direction; and for anyone whose personal style is more classic-inspired, it’s a welcome shift.
In a joint womenswear/menswear line that launched October 4, H&M teamed up with iconic British interiors brand Morris & Co. It’s pretty much autumnal perfection; subdued hues, soft fabrics, and romantic, non-restrictive silhouettes round out the collection.
But for fans of Morris & Co.—an interiors company founded in 1861 by William Morris—the real draw is the prints. Morris, a trained architect who went on to become one of the most influential designers of the late 1800s Arts & Craft Movement, was a poet and activist in addition to being a prolific artist—his tapestry, wallpaper, fabric, and furniture designs remain amongst the most recognizable for hardcore design fans. The prints Morris & Co. is best known for feature heavily in this H&M collection, specifically centered around floral and animal motifs.
Examples include “Lily Leaf” and “Marigold,” both botanical patterns that are among Morris & Co’s most famous. “Snakeshead”, one of Morris’ alleged favorite chintzes, is among the most prevalent print in the collection, re-imagined into fitted turtlenecks and knee-length dresses in a crêped fabric. The references to Morris extend beyond his design capabilities, however; there’s a basic white tee with the words “Love Is Enough” emblazoned across the chest, an homage to a book of poetry of the same name he wrote in 1834.
“As custodians of William Morris’ original company, we keep his legacy alive today through the creation of beautifully crafted fabric and wallpaper collections inspired by our archive and all aspects of his work,” said Claire Vallis, creative director of Morris & Co., in a statement. “This collaboration enables us to show the relevance of Morris’ iconic patterns today.”
The capsule collection will surely bring Morris & Co.’s storied prints to an entirely new generation. Aesthetically, it’s a mix of classic British style—plaid cashmere scarves and burgundy faux leather Chelsea boots are included in the mix—and the prairie-chic trend that seems so pervasive in fashion right now. The latter arguably got its footing with Erdem’s SS16 collection, and has since been everywhere, both off the runways and on, in several iterations—Galliano most recently sent a punk rock take on the prairie vibe down the runway at Paris Fashion Week.
The prairie trend hasn’t fully seeped into the realm of home design yet, largely because decor indicative of Little House on the Prairie-era homes tends to be at odds with 21st-century amenities we have come to enjoy a fondness of, like hot water and flushing toilets. Instead, we’re calling it grandma-chic—and the print-heavy, soft silhouettes of that particular style seems in line with H&M’s newest collab. With the Morris & Co. collaboration, the retailer is tapping into that overarching theme of maximalist prints and soft lines made for comfort that is a refreshing change after seasons of sleek, minimalist designs in interiors. The partnership takes the high-fashion motif of prairie chic, and makes it high-street.
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Taking time to admire this Arts & Crafts beauty of the Standen House designed by Philip Webb and furnished by Morris & Co in 1894. . . . . . . . . . . #obsoleteinc #welike #inspiration #gettaway #artsandcrafts #philipwebb #williammorris #interiordesign #standenhouse #countrylife #englishdesign #mood #light #interiors #pattern
“At H&M, we continuously look at collaboration ideas as we strive to give our customers new and exciting experiences,” Pernilla Wohlfahrt, H&M’s design director, told Vogue in an interview. “William Morris once said, ‘I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few.’ This hit home for us and is exactly what we’re all about.”
Shop the H&M x Morris & Co. collection in-stores and online now.
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