Britain may be gripped north face coats by austerity but Regent Street was doing a good impression of Eighties spend, spend, spend yesterday.
That said, when you can pick up designer wear for a fraction of its usual price, a little hysteria is perhaps no surprise.
The London shopping mecca woke up to a makeshift camp after dedicated followers of fashion slept out all night to bag items from Versace’s first collaboration with a high street store – H&M.
Queues snaked around the block as hundreds waited to buy the hotly anticipated 60-piece range at prices far more affordable than those north face 2012 usually charged by the label.
Main line Versace pieces can sell for up to £6,000, but in H&M’s collection, accessories started at £14.99 with the most expensive item, a leather jacket, selling for £179.99.
The range was launched at 300 stores in 40 different countries at 9am, as well as online.
Despite mixed critical reviews, the clothes quickly sold out and the company’s website repeatedly crashed, unable to deal with demand.
In an effort to combat eBay sellers and frenzied chaos, shoppers were given different coloured wristbands allocating a specific time at which they could enter the store. Slots for each 20 people were limited to ten-minute periods and customers were only allowed to buy one size of each item.
Unsurprisingly, by 5pm, there were almost 600 items for sale on eBay at vastly exaggerated sums – often three times the price they cost in store.
At H&M’s flagship Regent Street store, the event was marked by the High Priestess of Fashion herself, Donatella Versace. She arrived in a chauffeur-driven Maserati to survey the scene, telling reporters: ‘London is full of people who love fashion . . . I wanted to see the excitement for myself.’
Tiny, north face jackets cheap online tanned and tottering along a hot pink ‘red’ carpet in skyscraper heels, the designer posed for photographers wearing a black leather studded trench coat and a fuchsia pink studded dress from the range.
However, the 56-year-old wasn’t quite top-to-toeing the H&M line. Proving that you can take the girl out of Milan, but not Milan out of the girl, her six-inch black patent stilettos were distinctly (full-price) designer.