9 of Fashion's Most "WTF?" Collaborations (The Good, the Bad and the Hideous)

Over the years fashion, possibly more than any industry other than music, has produced some of the world's most talked about collaborations, though not always for the right reasons. 

With the rapid evolution of streetwear from being reserved for hip hop's elite to becoming de rigeur for basically everyone, collaborations have become an effective way for brands to target mass audiences without diluting their brand. Once looked down upon by fashion insiders, the high street is now the go-to for trend-led affordable pieces and high-end fashion brands have become quite savvy in developing mutually beneficial relationships. 

And it's worth noting that this doesn't always mean a collaboration between two fashion brands, collaborations with celebrities are a near-daily occurrence while some brands look elsewhere (e.g. home furnishings) to extend their reach. 

Some collabs result in sheer genius, others in disaster. I'm somewhat obsessed with the phenomenon so I decided to write about 9 of fashion's most WTF collaborations - or at least 9 of my favourites - the good, the bad and the hideous. Buckle up. 

Victoria Beckham x Target 

Rating: GOOD 

Ok, you guys know by now that I can't go more than a couple of hours without talking about Victoria Beckham but hear me out - without bias, this was a genius collab! Beautiful clothes, which gave a nod to "brand Beckham" but styled and edited so as not to make the Target shopper feel alienated or not catered for. Queen VB approaches her brand with the very simple mindframe of designing for herself and designing what she wants to wear. She's a style icon, undeniably, so if she wants to wear something, chances are millions of other women will too. 

The VB x Target collection launched last year and consisted of over 200 items (including childrenswear inspired by daughter Harper). Its launch was met with overwhelming demand and sold out within hours, with several pieces ending up on eBay and selling for up to four times the retail value. 

Adam Levine x K Mart 

Rating: BASIC

In the same vein as "popstar-turned-designer partnering with budget retailer" 2013 saw Maroon 5 lead singer and not-even-in-the-slightest-bit-a-style-icon Adam Levine design a 96-piece collection for American budget retailer K Mart. 

The result? BASIC. Plaid shirts, a sad camo jacket, saggy knitwear, dull accessories... I understand they don't want to scare away the precious masculinities of middle America's Trump-loving K Mart customer, but if you're just going to give us pieces we can already get at a million other stores - what's the point? 

The Adam Levine Collection was created by Kevin Christiana, a designer who came in ninth place on season four of Project Runway (I mean...). Staggeringly, the Adam Levine Collection STILL EXISTS and is still ongoing! With only one super awkward hiccup - when the brand hosted a NYFW runway show that Adam Levine did not even attend.

Jeremy Scott x Ugg

Rating: HIDEOUS 

Jeremy Scott and Ugg are easily two of the most divisive brands out there. They both have loyal fans and incredibly loyal haters. Love them or loathe them, something has to be said for their ability to... well, still exist. 

Unsurprisingly the result of this meeting of minds was a collection of tacky shapeless footwear that looked like they bought from a market stall (flames, sequins, slogans - oh my!). Although I have a guilty admiration for Scott, the same can't be said for my sentiments toward Ugg. But even overlooking that, who thought this was a good idea? Aside from being divisive, both brands have very little in common and nothing to benefit from each other. 

Sidebar: Do you think Ugg asked Moschino to collab and they were like "Ermm naahh..." so Jeremy was like "How about I do it on my own?" and Moschino were shadily like "Okay sis, you go ahead" because that's what I think. 

H&M x Versace

Rating: Good 

One of the most hotly anticipated of all of H&M's designer collaborations (and the first of two on this list) the high street giant's partnership with the house of Versace was met with generally positive reviews, and deservedly so - I think it's their best yet. The range was a perfect blend of both brands - the bold prints, acidic colours and baroque touches that are synonymous with Versace, married with wearable, comfortable pieces the H&M customer looks for. 

The launch (back in November of 2011) had some shoppers queuing overnight to get their hands on the collection's most sought after pieces. Internet traffic crashed H&M's website, the collection sold out in 30 minutes in both Dubai and Beijing, and it later got a huge stamp of style approval when Kanye West wore the men's bomber jacket on one of the world's biggest stages - to perform at that year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. 

H&M x Anna Dello Russo

Rating: Fuckin' Weird (I'm still obsessed this even happened)

Ok... so to me, this is a good one... a really good one. But even as it was happening I couldn't help but think "Wait... does the average H&M shopper, (or anyone who doesn't closely follow fashion for that matter) have ANY idea who Anna Dello Russo even is?!" 

For those unaware, ADR is an Italian style icon and editor-at-large of VOGUE Japan. Famed for her outlandish headwear, OTT jewellery and her playful approach to style, in 2013 H&M recruited her to create an accessories collection. This was a time when fashion editors were at a turning point in their celebrity. Since the documentary The September Issue was released in 2009, the camera was frequently turned on the editors attending fashion weeks just as much as the celebrities in attendance and no one - I mean no one - used that to their advantage more than Anna Dello Russo. 

Sequinned mini dresses, winged fascinators, and a headband with giant cherries attached became the norm for our beloved ADR and so she was, at the time, the perfect person to tap for an accessories collection. Also, it gave us one of the most unintentionally fantastic fashion promo videos of our time, complete with a sort of spoken word/half-rap/Eurodance track "Fashion Shower" with vocals from the thickly-accented Dello Russo stating her 10 Rules of Fashion. Watch above - what a thing of pure joy! 

Oh and speaking of weird Italian collaborations... 

Dolce & Gabbana x Smeg

Rating: Huh? 

Yes, you read that correctly. In 2016, Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana took some time out of bashing non-nuclear families in favour of designing a range of fridges for Italian appliance brand Smeg. The range of fridges was so successful (apparently) that D&G were invited back last year to extend their designs onto a kettle, a coffee machine, various mixers, and a toaster. 

Now, I'm not much of a chef and I can't say I've ever baked in my life, but I suppose if I was to shell out £400 for a kettle (yep, the RRP was £399.95) or £149 for a blender, then I'd probably want it to have been designed by the likes of Dolce & Gabbana. 

I can't quite decide whether this collaboration was genius or ludicrous or both, I'm sure it went down a storm in Italy and though the designs are a world away from my personal taste, the range is undeniably D&G (read: "Donkey punching you with their Italianness") plus, the element of the unexpected has to be commended, who would have thought that a Dolce & Gabbana citrus juicer with hand painted lemon details would ever be a thing?! Not a collaboration anyone asked for, but perhaps the one the world deserved. 

LV x Supreme

Rating: GOOD

Man I loved this collection. January of last year creative director Kim Jones showcased Louis Vuitton's mammoth partnership with streetwear brand/actual cult Supreme.

Vuitton, the world's biggest luxury fashion brand, partnering with a brand like Supreme was huge news - and they didn't do it by halves. An absolute smorgasbord of product was shown at the Paris Fashion Week show including - luggage, baseball caps, leather gloves, hoodies, bottle openers, sneakers, denim, bum bags, wallets, handkerchiefs, iPhone cases, shirts, badges, the list goes on!  

No stranger to attempting to gain some street cred (after Marc Jacobs successfully navigated a collaboration with deceased New York artist and designer Stephen Sprouse - which I also loved) Vuitton's partnership with Supreme is a perfect example of a mutually beneficial relationship. Louis Vuitton was perceived as being down with the kids, while Supreme was elevated to luxury cult-brand status. Happy marriage. 

Crocs x ... literally anyone 

Rating: No, no, just NO please make it stop 

I won't spend too much time on this but lately Crocs have been attempting to infiltrate the fashion sphere with a half-ironic, half-serious campaign to get us to wear the beloved footwear of dental nurses everywhere. 

Despite collaborations with Christopher Kane (fur-lined and Swarovski-studded - yum!) and Balenciaga (platformed and pinned - why not?!) the Crocs collabs have (thankfully) failed to take off, with Topshop and Zara wisely refraining from making knock-offs... let's keep it that way.

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