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The H&M x Balmain collaboration launched in New York at 8am — which of course means that shoppers dying to get their hands on Olivier Rousteing's designs for a fraction of the price had been waiting in line for hours (like those at the flagship store who watched VIPs ransack the store last night). See below for what the scene was like at Manhattan stores this morning.
Back at the Fifth Avenue flagship, Racked reporter Linda Yang says that there's "easily 150" shoppers who were still waiting for their turn an hour after the collaboration's launch. It might look pretty chill from the outside:
But inside, the line was weaving through the store:
"Shoes are going fast," Yang added at 9am. "The strapped heels are sold out, and the boots are going fast." As for clothing, items in "brighter colors are still here, but the classic Balmain-looking (the dresses, blazers) [pieces] are all snatched up." Bags were still plentiful at the time, with "lots of red clutch bags and the big green satchel left over."
Like in Soho and Brooklyn, men's merchandise is going even faster than the women's. But restocking at 9:10am was swift:
It looks like all of the women's clothing was put out (minus a few shoe styles), and maybe three-quarters of the men's racks. But just a couple minutes after the next group of shoppers let in, much of that was cleared out:
For those still waiting in line, it's kind of luck-of-the-draw when it comes to restocking. Yang reported that shoppers in earlier groups who stuck around to watch the madness were upset when certain blazers and dresses were restocked after their time was up. Still, it's looking like this store might have the best restocking overall throughout the day — it certainly did last year.
Things you'd never thought you'd hear: The Times Square store is a "less stressful environment," Yang said at 10am. There was a line of about 50 shoppers with wristbands outside:
But there was another line inside, so don't get your hopes up just yet if you're planning to shop later in the day:
And even though the collaboration shopping area was smaller than in some other stores, it was still pretty well-stocked late into the morning, and more merchandise was being added while Yang was there. Shockingly, it was a "much better selection and much more low-key vibe." This might be the other place to go once shoppers with wristbands have had their turns.
As the day goes on, the crowds have been calmer — but that's probably because a lot of the most sought-after stuff is gone. At least that's what Yang noticed when she headed into 111 Fifth Avenue this morning:
While restocking was occurring, it was a "much smaller selection," with a couple of each boot style remaining. While men's was expectedly all but wiped out, there was a "greater selection of lower-priced items, [and] none of the stunner pieces" like those jackets, coats, and bedazzled dresses.
Don't go to 515 Broadway:
As of 9:30am, 515 Broadway was almost completely wiped out, Racked reporter Kathryn Lindsay told us. "The only restocking they're doing is anything people tried on that they didn't want." Men's merchandise went fast, and staff started stacking their racks with women's items once they were gone. "No one is buying these booties apparently, so there's a ton of them," she added.
Shoppers were headed up to the registers with armfuls of merchandise, Lindsay said, as the first group finished shopping. The green dress, along with the other beaded dresses, were the most popular, and things got heated as the selection dwindled: "These two women were fighting for the display piece, the last one left, and so the saleswoman just had them pick a number between one and ten and the closest to the number she was thinking would get it. Like children!"
There were just a few items left for those still waiting to shop. "There's still green velvet pants, the black vertical-striped blouse, the black velvet blazer with a zipper, the white blazer with gold buttons, the white and black colorblocked skirt and top, two leather pants, and four green purses."
Bracelets were first handed out here around 7:40am, and they're highly coveted: Some people were even trying to scalp them.
Surprisingly, things were a bit better just up the street, at 558 Broadway: "People should definitely come to this one if they struck out" at 515 Broadway, Lindsay advised at 9:45am. The "green sequin dress and tee-shirts are still here, and it's still mostly stocked." But who knows for how long...
Meanwhile, at the massive Herald Square flagship:
The line ended about midway down the block on 33rd Street around 7am, Racked NY associate editor Channing Hargrove said, with well over 100 people being corralled by some very serious security guards. As more and more people showed up (about a person a minute), patient line-waiters were told to move in closer to each other so that they take up less room on the sidewalk.
The store won't let shoppers in other parts of the store until 9am, but at least they gave out coupons to those still waiting:
Hargrove finally got in to shop shortly before 10am, and had a simple verdict: "Nothing is good." Restocking was taking place between shopping groups, but many of the pieces were already sold out. Popular pieces that remained at the time included the green beaded dress and the men's green and black hoodie, but both of those were in short supply. Accessories, including headphones, and shoes were going fast, too. It's the less-coveted pieces that you'll be able to snag:
As items sold out, employees began taking apart the collaboration displays. And as Hargrove exited the store, she witnessed shoppers swapping sizes for the pieces they wanted most.
Earlier today, we received the following tip from Fulton Street:
@rackedny in line at Fulton st. Second group in, mostly guys buying menswear. H&M has not given out wristbands so unclear what is happening.— alisha bhagat (@AlishaBhagat) November 5, 2015