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Versace for H&M vs. the real thing: How does it compare?

<div style="text-align: center"> </div>The H&amp;M line feels more like new Versace than old.

It’s hard to believe that collaborations between designers and mass market brands can still generate the level of excitement that Donatella Versace’s new collection for H&M has.

Each launch is another opportunity to snag wallet-friendly versions of a runway look you couldn’t afford to buy.

But shoppers want dresses that scream designer, not chintzy knockoff. Frankly, there haven’t been a whole lot of high-low collaborations that have struck the right balance. So we decided to compare H&M’s latest with a few standouts from the Versace archives.

Versace:

H&M:

1. This dress, which is straight from the S/S ’12 show, has that “just off the runway” feeling. The H&M version may not have the leather strips and asymmetry that the catwalk dress does, but it impressively nails the maximal, studded-to-the-Gods look of the original.

Versace:

H&M:

2. Donatella replaces the original’s Greek key pattern — a trademark of the Versace house that appears on other items in the H&M collection — with graphic hearts. The problem: the hand-drawn love symbols cheapen the look. But the patterned fringing and cut-out shoulders are just right.

Versace:

H&M:



3. These tropical trousers will make a colorful alternative to the festive cocktail dress for your office holiday party. That said, the H&M incarnation out-Versace’s the original pants in loudness, even if they are missing the little baroque trim at the hem.

Versace:

H&M:

4. On paper, the two are nearly identical. The flashy buckle and gilt waistband are there. But here’s hoping the H&M belt won’t turn silver after a few too many wears.



The grade

The H&M line feels more like new Versace than old. It does a great job of recreating the brand’s money-is-no-object look by steering clear of fancy fabrics that are impossible to re-do on the cheap and sticking with the fun details that make the garments stand out in the first place. That said, maybe just avoid buying the “gold” accessories.

 
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