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Anna Dello Russo for H&M Collection — Liberace Meets 18th Century Versailles

Back in May, we announced  that Milan-based fashion editor and blogger Anna Dello Russo was in the midst of designing an accessories collection for worldwide retailer H&M. Well, the time has arrived for eager fashionistas to witness the fruits of this collaboration, hitting H&M stores on Thursday, October 4th. As anticipated, the collection  is the epitome of this season’s “more is more” trend, a Baroque revival that would make Liberace rejoice and Coco Chanel shudder (the latter, of course, famously said, “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on”).  But, since I personally find minimalism drab, I’m over-the-moon at the Versace-in-the-80s-and-90s opulence  of it all. Needless to say, Anna Dello Russo’s penchant for drama permeates every facet of the collection, the most poignant example being a bird-themed fascinator headband ($149.95) with iridescent feathers framing the head like a halo, a black half veil covering the eyes and nose coquettishly. Shown fifth from top, this fascinator speaks to Dello Russo’s personal style (after all, this is a woman who has been known to wear headbands decorated by cherry accents the size of tennis balls) and, of course, it makes the plumed accessory Carrie Bradshaw wore to her almost-but-not-quite wedding to Mr. Big look paltry by comparison. Similarly, cat-eye black sunglasses are pushed over the edge thanks to a pair of gold-plated, molded alligator figures along the top rim of the frame ($49.95), as shown third from top, and a heftier pair of shades with yellow-tinted mirrored square lenses is catapulted to baroque territory thanks to laurel-themed gold metal motifs along the top rim and a chunky metal chain, as shown below ($49.95).

Laurel wreaths, cameo-like stones, and rococo decorations in indulgent golden tones abound in the Anna Dello Russo for H&M collection, conjuring up images of Versailles during Louis XV’s reign, when excess and intricacy were predominant aesthetic norms and everything from architectural structures to plasterwork and furniture designs incorporated undulating shapes with broken curves, unexpected flourishes, and S curves that were playful and asymmetrical, often integrating elaborate leaf and shell motifs. The beauty of Rococo sculpture and art is channeled most effectively in the collection’s handbags — whether it’s in a patent leather, rectangular-shaped, aqua-colored satchel illustrated with a golden frame detail along the front and back panels and incorporating an illustration of a cornice-like chain with a heart-shaped locket , as pictured second from top ($59.95); a dressy metallic gold minaudiere with rounded edges, embossed shell and leaf designs, and an oversize oval-shaped turquoise cabochon tone at its center, as pictured third from last above ($99); or a dainty beauty case with a rococo-style frame motif, a top handle, and a crown-shaped charm ($99), as pictured below.

The footwear offerings are similarly grandiloquent — particularly a pair of golden sandals with an exposed platform along the front, a lethal stiletto heel, an ankle strap closure, and a cagework motif all along the vamp, as shown below ($199) and a hefty pair of black sandals with horizontal straps covered in clear rhinestones and a square golden buckle along the ankle strap boasting a leafy motif ($249).

But it’s the jewelry that will have fashion hounds flocking to H&M stores — particularly the undulating collar necklaces featuring slithering snake and alligator shapes (as with the pieces shown sixth and ninth above, both retailing for $59.95). The green alligator necklace is perhaps my favorite piece in the collection — from the open shape of the piece to the positioning of the gator figurine, the sculptural quality given to this predator, the glossy green enamel used to coat its surface, the gilded strips demarcating its length, the clear-colored crystals adorning the rounded curve of the necklace, and the undulating tail end of the piece, with its juxtaposition of clear and green pavé style stones. The turquoise collar necklace, meanwhile, conveys a similar vibe but features a more rounded shape that hugs the neck a bit closer, along with black, tiger-like stripes to give the piece more depth and dimension. These serpent and alligator shapes also emerge on vivid, enamel-and-metal, hand-painted coil-like bracelets, as pictured at top ($59.95) and even gold hoop earrings, as pictured below ($24.95).

Not into the reptile motifs? Then you might be enchanted by the sparkly statement pieces, such as an extravagant, ball-worthy bib necklace with teardrop-shaped, faceted green stones resembling emeralds, each rimmed by smaller clear stones, as shown last above ($49.95) or the matching drop earrings shown third below ($24.95). And, of course, those wanting kitschy, whimsical pieces can always opt for one of the multi-strand chain necklaces and hefty chain bracelets bearing cherry, clover, heart, heel, and deer charms. The jewelry pieces range in price from $24.95 to $59.95, so they’re definitely reasonably priced.

Check out the photos of the collection’s highlights above and below, and let us know what you plan on scooping up at H&M! For more details, visit HM.com

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