Welcome to the new gilded age: Rabanne H&M is out now!

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Fashion

The house of rabanne redefined contemporary glamour!

about the collaboration

H&M: The house of rabanne redefined contemporary glamour when it was founded in 1966 by the visionary couturier mr. paco rabanne. inspired by the kinetic art movement, unconventional materials, and making the impossible possible, he created innovative and provocative garments that equally scandalized and delighted society, pushing the limits of fashion.

Julien dossena, who took over as rabanne’s creative director in 2013, has led the brand into a brilliant new era. uniting futuristic concepts and meticulous craftsmanship, dossena dreams up stunning, unique pieces that celebrate the brand’s history while looking toward the future.

Together with h&m, dossena has designed an exuberant, dazzling selection of womenswear, menswear, and home decor. you’ll find a tantalizing and celebration-ready mix of signature pieces and brand-new instant favorites: silky chain mail, glittering disc dresses, swinging paillette-pumped maxi skirts and tops, sharp tailoring, folk-revival florals, bold ’70s prints, baroque details, romantic ruffles, dance floor–dominating accessories, and so much more. a truly unmissable collection from an iconic, groundbreaking house.

interview julien dossena

q:tell us about the rabanne h&m collection: the pieces, the details, the inspiration.

i wanted the rabanne h&m collection to create a luxurious mood of enjoyment. i envisioned a utopian gathering of strong people, with a lighthearted but electric atmosphere. it was important to draw out the inclusive and empowering side of the brand, with the archive-inspired chain mail and paillette pieces we are so known for offset by effortless 1970s tailoring and elevated leisurewear. i wanted the collection to feel confidence-boosting but easy to wear, too — it’s a balance i always try to strike with my designs. at the same time, we wanted to look toward more sustainable materials in order to make the collection as thoughtful as possible. i’m really thrilled that h&m has been able to develop a version of our metallic mesh containing a blend of recycled and conventional metal, which took months to develop, as well as sequins that contain recycled pet.

q:what are some of the key pieces in the collection, and which are your personal favorites?

as a designer, i’ve always been interested in exploring glamour and the way that it can empower and uplift you while recontextualizing it for a modern audience. the pieces i’m most excited about are the icons, which are adapted from designs in the archive, and to me feel very glamorous but also very effortless. the ready-to-wear and accessories that feature the famous paillette disc sequins capture the sensuality of rabanne, along with the recycled metallic mesh pieces. i also love the 1930s-style flowing dresses, some embellished with rhinestones — they’re very flattering and expressive. with the menswear, i was focused on making things feel fluid, and i personally love the silver suit.

q:craftsmanship is so important to rabanne. how did you bring that attention to detail to this collection?

rabanne is a brand built on radical materiality — paco rabanne was unique in the fashion landscape for his use of chain mail. the metallic mesh is such an interesting material to work with, and it’s extraordinary to wear — more sensual than silk but also protective, like armor. with this collection for h&m, i was very insistent that we maintain the same focus on materiality as we would for any of our mainline rabanne collections. as i mentioned, we really encouraged h&m to develop a version of our metallic mesh containing a blend of 70% recycled metal and 30% conventional metal, which took months to develop. some of the pieces feature hand-woven metallic crochet that holds together different sizes of metallic mesh panels — these are technically advanced pieces. the qualities of wool, organic cotton, and leather in particular are very high. working with h&m in this sense was a joy because they are so efficient and detail-oriented. they really listened to what we were asking for in terms of the fabrications and the qualities, and they pushed it really far. i felt that the team really put their heart into it, which was the most important thing for me.

q:could you talk to us about the process of designing homeware for this collection? this was a first for you, and it’s the most comprehensive interior offering yet for an h&m designer collaboration.

the home decor was definitely a fun part of the project for me, because i’ve never designed homeware before. our founder, paco rabanne, was obsessed with covering everything in metal, and he did some furniture in the 1970s, which was of course metallic, so it felt like an authentic extension for the house. i liked the idea of embellishing the lifestyle element of the collection’s ready-to-wear to incorporate items that might be used at a pool party — metal goblets that are a little reminiscent of the cups you get at american house parties, amazing silver side tables that shimmer like the dresses, or even a beautiful metal vase set on an angle to give a very modernist feeling to a mantelpiece.

q:how did this collaborative rabanne h&m collection come about?

i was very excited to work with h&m on a collection that would help to democratize the rabanne brand. we create luxury fashion that champions radical expression and exceptional craftsmanship. we know that our product is high-end and sometimes difficult to find. so to be able to introduce iconic pieces with incredible design integrity, at a price that is accessible to a larger number of people, felt inspiring to me. i’ve followed lots of the h&m designer collaborations in the past, and my favorites were always the collections where you had access to pieces that were key to the design identity of the brand. from the perspective of a young man, a fashion student, it was so exciting to be able to get your hands on one of those house icons. these are the kinds of pieces you cherish, and wear again and again — so i was excited to be able to create memorable rabanne pieces that felt more accessible. once we began the conversation, we were also excited to work with h&m on the materiality and to take advantage of their extensive sustainability knowledge. we learned so much in the process, and i’m really proud of the collection we’ve created together.

q:what’s the secret to a successful collaboration?

it needs to make sense from the beginning and to be properly thought out and executed. for us, the goal was to democratize our work and to learn from h&m’s expertise in terms of sustainability; for h&m, it was about going back to the principle of collaboration to deliver really special pieces that will resonate with their customers. but i think the thing that really elevates a collaboration, and makes it feel extra special, is when the teams have fun together and go the extra mile — and that was the case here. in the end, it creates a kind of magic that is very special.



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