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SHOP the INSANITY VIKTOR and ROLF CONQUER HampM ...

By Beauty

Last week Dutch designer duo Viktor and Rolf debuted their luxe-for-less line at H & M—the Holy Land of discount designer style—and Marie Claire was there to brave the fashion frenzy. OK, we'll come clean: we were also there to snag the red taffeta skirt and ruffled black knit shirtdress we'd shot for the November issue! What good is insider information if you don't reap some rewards? Of course being a Marie Claire editor didn't mean we didn't have to line up like everyone else! Line up, in fact, behind 50 others who'd had a better shopping strategy than ours. We started out well—arriving at 8 AM for a 10 AM store opening…but then “stumbled” when we saw we were the first to arrive and confidently went out for a morning coffee. Big mistake: we returned to bodies snaking around the corner of 34th. With 90 minutes still to go til doors opened, we drank in the scene and immediately scoped some eye candy: men! Attractive men! Attractive men who knew who Viktor and Rolf were! But alas, the kind of attractive men more interested in the peacoats than girls…. The first two young women we interviewed said they had the same fashion agenda: to score a Viktor & Rolf's trenchcoat—something the designers excel at. We never saw them again—but wish them well! To our pleasant surprise a few H & M employees came out to hand out goodie bags of gloves and scarves to the first 75 people in line. A sneak preview swag bag—how fab was that? Boosted by the free stuff, the crowd starts running full force through the opening doors and the next half hour is a blur. Amidst the clatter of falling hangers, door alarms going off and battle cries of “I got it, Catherine, over here! I got it!” A store manager shouted to us: “This is worse than Stella,” She said this time employees were braced for injuries—which has happened at openings when customers charge them as they re-stock with fresh merch. 10:12am. Everything is gone. But Wait! By 10:14 Here's more! 10:17 am. Everything's gone…again. Forget about finding the object of desire on the racks, clothing was being ripped right off the displays. No one seemed to care about what they were taking or what size—they'd rush to a corner to try it on, or just join the crush at the cashier. Girls with five of the same coat in varying sizes trading with the girl who has five of the same sweater that she wants. Scavengers waited until tights, thongs, blouses, ANYTHING fell to the floor and they picked it up and ran. Others hung out by the dressing rooms dealing skirts like they were drugs. That morning someone even bought H & M's first wedding dress—no matter that she wasn't getting married at all, but wanted to wear it at her birthday dinner that night. Probably the Toughest Customer awards go to those who walked away with the prized peacoat with heart-shaped buttons—we learned later that it sold out at all locations. Incidentally, we did get the ruffle shirtdress—and survived with our dignity intact (the empty-handed in the crowd might beg to differ). Alas, the dress didn't fit, so we're selling it on eBay. Thought we'd give you a head start… By Susanna Knoblauch and Rebecca Lipstock, MC Fashion Assistants TRY AN ISSUE OF MARIE CLAIRE FOR FREE! [...] [...]

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