H&M x Rabanne: Futuristic glamour in H&M’s new designer collaboration

Slinky metallic dresses and draped mesh tops are the result of H&M’s latest designer collaboration

Slinky metallic dresses, draped mesh tops, shaggy coats and chainmail bags are all the result of H&M’s latest designer collaboration with Julien Dossena, creative head of Paco Rabanne. Fast acquiring a reputation as a trailblazer for his ability to drape and mesh non-mesh fabrics and integrating jewellery into his designs, Dossena credits his upbringing in Brittany (where Rabanne had a house), Berlin and his training at La Cambre in Brussels, the renowned visual arts school, as key to his aesthetic approach to fashion.

Since his appointment at Rabanne, Dossena has been asserting his own futuristic approach to glamour that draws from but surpasses the chainmail dresses that will always be associated with Rabanne and the shock of his work in 1966 when he unveiled 12 “unwearable” dresses made from metal rings and plastic.

Son of a Balenciaga seamstress, Rabanne trained as an architect and his constant experimentation with innovative materials rather than the conventional needle, thread and cloth made him one of the most radical designers of the period. “My clothes are weapons,” he once said. He was the first to knit fur, the first to make dresses of buttons, handkerchiefs, or aluminium and to develop lace in new ways. Coco Chanel described him contemptuously as a “metalworker”.

At Dossena’s recent spring-summer 2024 show in Paris, the handkerchief pointed fringed tops, jewelled lapels, adroit drapery, tasselled cowls and silvery sequined dresses created a shimmering new light-reflecting sense of modern glamour, while still referencing the codes established by Rabanne.


I interviewed Paco Rabanne in Dublin in 2000 on a visit to promote his fragrances. “Women with a capital W remain my greatest source of inspiration,” he told me. He said he did a lot of very light metal dresses for evening wear and laser-cut synthetics. As for other designers, he was full of praise for Jean Paul Gaultier, “number one in France”. In another interesting coincidence, Dossena was Gaultier’s choice of guest designer earlier this year. Rabanne always dressed in black “because I am a crow – my family name is Cuervo which means crow – and it goes against my nature to wear colour. I can’t and never could.”

The H&M collection which includes accessories, menswear and home décor will launch in selected stores and online at hm.com on November 9th.

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan

Deirdre McQuillan is Irish Times Fashion Editor, a freelance feature writer and an author