What the Swedes did for cheap, trendy furniture (think Ikea), they’re now doing for clothing. Heralded by slick ads featuring Chloe Sevigny and Benicio Del Toro, the European retail giant H&M (Hennes & Mauritz) opened a New York City outpost on March 31 that has become a Manhattan fashion mecca. On opening day, more than 2,000 people flooded the retail wonderland in just 13 minutes. (Having taken Manhattan, H&M eventually plans to open more stores up and down the East Coast.) Among the items picked up by bargain-hunting fashion fans: hot pink halter tops for $3.50, red checkered gingham skirts for a paltry $5, and tubs of lemongrass body souffle (a.k.a. lotion) for $4.50. ”It’s so cheap you can make an impulsive buy and not regret it later,” says NBC style commentator Lloyd Boston, who was impressed by H&M’s Club Monaco looks and Target prices. While the clothing is definitely disposable — trendiness takes precedence over craftsmanship — U.S. consumers just might eat it up. And H&M has already made accommodations for our national, er, girth: The store’s plus-size line will offer its own chic designs. ”That concept is going to do extra well, especially in the malls,” predicts Par Darj, H&M’s U.S. operations manager. Looks like you can have your Swedish meatballs and look good, too.
Posted April 21 2000 — 12:00 AM EDT
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