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In Lagerfeld’s Footsteps: Designers Eager to Repeat H&M Hit

Karl Lagerfeld’s triumphant one-off collection for H&M might be a tough act to follow, but designers are waiting in the wings for the chance to try.

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PARIS — Given his triumphant one-off collection for H&M, is Karl Lagerfeld an impossible act to follow, or just a tough one?

It depends on which designer you ask. But the general consensus seems to be that, if the Swedish fashion retailer goes knocking, it will find plenty of designers eager to take up the challenge in “mass-clusivity.”

“I would do it,” Marc Jacobs said Friday. “To be completely blunt about it, I understand Karl was paid a great deal of money to do it and that would be a great incentive.”

But Jacobs said he also was impressed with Lagerfeld’s seamless execution and a powerful promotional effort that resulted in a feeding frenzy at H&M stores in the U.S. and Europe on Nov. 12 as customers lined up to snap up the clothes. The result was that some stores sold out within minutes of the doors opening at 9 a.m.

The lusty reaction suggests a large public is extremely interested in fashion “if the price is right,” said Jacobs.

“I think it would be a very exciting project to be involved in,” said Jacobs, who also is creative director of Louis Vuitton. “Of course, you think to yourself, ‘Oh dear, what if mine didn’t do as well as his?’ But then you have to remember, it’s Karl Lagerfeld. All I would hope for, really, is that it would be successful. It’s a bad idea to compare yourself to others.”

Jean Paul Gaultier, who just finished designing about 20 styles priced from 30 to 100 euros, or $39 to $130, for the forthcoming spring-summer La Redoute catalogue, said he’s also receptive to collaborations with purveyors of affordable fashion.

“I don’t know if I would accept [to do H&M]. The proposal has never been made to me and I haven’t really thought about it,” he said. “I guess it depends on my availability.”

To be sure, Gaultier has done inexpensive designs for catalogues before, “which proves I have nothing against it.”

Ditto for English designer Vivienne Westwood.
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