Isabel Marant at the Paris launch party of the collection

In less than 14 days, the Isabel Marant pour H&M collection will hit H&M stores worldwide.

A carefree Parisian chic style is associated not only with her eponymous brand but also the French designer herself. Her winning combination of bohemian and masculine tailoring has earnt Marant a loyal following – she is a style rebel who goes against mainstream trends to set her own – think wedge sneakers and embroidered jackets. Androgyny, sportswear and comfort are signatures of the fashion house and the world is waiting with bated breath to see how those will translate to her collaboration with H&M.

In an exclusive interview, Marant gives us a peek into her psyche and the much-anticipated collection.

herworldPLUS: Your work is very personal so how would you describe yourself?
Isabel Marant: I am an Aries, so I am quite stubborn. I’m also energetic and discreet – I don’t like to be under the spotlight and prefer my work to speak for itself. I like criticism because it gives me a chance to progress. I am loyal and think being loyal is an essential quality. It is the way I deal with my friends, collaborators and customers.


Lou Doillon and Daria Werbowy in the Isabel Marant pour H&M campaign

HWP: How do these qualities translate into the collections?
IM: Fashion is a natural extension of my personality – I fell into it because I wanted to dress myself. When I design, I do not work on a fantasy but on reality. My aim is to dress real women in their everyday lives with clothes that have a function but also give an attitude. As a woman of today, I know their needs and what they look for in a dress, but I also know how they feel in front of the mirror – their insecurities. I constantly try to solve these problems while creating pieces that express the energy of the moment. I work instinctively, but I am also a perfectionist, because I think that the simplest pieces need to be perfect. Not a single stitch can be overlooked.

HWP: Were you surprised when H&M approached you for a collaboration?
IM: I was flattered. H&M always works with the best designers so being part of this project felt like recognition of my work. I don’t belong to the school of creative geniuses capable to let their imagination run wild. I am more of the Coco Chanel or Sonia Rykiel belief – I want to dress women of my time. H&M is an expression of the time, too. I’m also happy I’m able to reach women and teenagers everywhere with this collection.


Milla Jovovich and Devon Aoki in the Isabel Marant pour H&M campaign

HWP: How would describe your style?
IM: It has a certain carelessness, which I think is very Parisian. It’s about being perfect, with little imperfections – you dress up but do not pay too much attention and still look sexy. My collections are infused with this kind of easiness. Everything can be mixed in a personal way, even with pieces from previous collections – I can’t stand the habit of throwing things away seasonally and mass consumerism.

I work a lot on the way clothes fall around the body and fit: this is crucial and extremely time-consuming. I won’t let anything go until the proportions are right. I want my pieces to have a certain lived-in air too, like those “old friends” you keep constantly in your cupboard and never get rid of, interpreting them in new ways every time.

HWP: How would you describe the Isabel Marant pour H&M collection?
IM: The collection is a synthesis of my style. I included all the iconic pieces, from outerwear to jewellery and accessories. Embellishment – prints, piping, jacquards – gives character to many of them. I have a bunch of clothes in my own wardrobe which I love and wear all the time. I bring them with me when I travel, always thinking, if they lose my luggage, I will be lost.

So, when I started working on the collection, I assembled it thinking of that selection. I picked up the best from my career and put together what is actually a small wardrobe. Of course nothing is the same the second time round, so I have reinterpreted all pieces in a way that suits the moment.

As for the teen wardrobe, the difference is mainly a matter of sizes and a stronger stress on prints. I like mums and daughters to exchange their wardrobes.


The menswear collection of the Isabel Marant pour H&M collection

HWP: Tell us more about the accessories and the jewellery?
IM: They add the finishing touches and are as easy and carefree as the rest of the collection. There are skinny scarves, beaded belts, necklaces and bangles – which is where everything started for me, even though I hardly wear any. Plus, conical-heel boots, a pair of stiletto pumps. I love shoes, way more than bags, and do my best to create great footwear that mixes attitude with comfort. The success of our trainers is a recognition of my hard work in this sense.

HWP: Can you describe your creative process?
IM: I’d say it is instinctual. I have a feeling for a silhouette, proportion and details, and go for it. Texture is very important, too. I like to experiment with the way different fabrics can work together. I am like a cook, in a way: I know my ingredients, and I mix them. The starting point of a new collection, however, is a feeling of rejection for what I have done before. From there on, I pick up and go.

HWP: How would you explain the success of your label?
IM: I think my collections respond to certain needs with clothes that are easy to wear, easy to mix and well made.


The teens collection of the Isabel Marant pour H&M collection

HWP: What does style mean to you?
IM: Self-confidence and being at ease with oneself is a good definition of style. I am intrigued when I see women on the street interpreting my pieces in unexpected ways. I find it a bit uninspiring, on the contrary, to be faced with exact replicas of the catwalk in real life.

HWP: Did you have to compromise on something for this collection?
IM: There was no need or pressure to compromise on anything, otherwise I would not have accepted this collaboration. Working with H&M has been great: they delivered something that is high in quality and finishing. I am surprised by how they make it and am very happy with the results.

The Isabel Marant pour H&M collection will be available on November 14, 2013 at 8am at the H&M Orchard Building.

For more information about H&M, go to www.hm.com. Follow the action leading up to the launch by following the hashtags #HMIsabelMarant and #HMSingapore and on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/hm, on Twitter @HMSingapore and Instagram @HM