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The 10 Best Designer Collaborations of 2013

December 21, 2013  |  3:19pm
The 10 Best Designer Collaborations of 2013

There’s nothing more satisfying than a successful collaboration, to name a few: David Bowie and Brian Eno, Judd Apatow and Steve Carrell, David Lynch and Kyle MacLachlan. But film and music aren’t the only domains of genius partnerships. Fashion is home to some of the best, most inspiring collaborations of all time—from Commes des Garçons for H&M to Isaac Mizrahi for Target.

A fashion collaboration is a precious opportunity for a designer, or in some cases fashionista, a la Chloe Sevigny for Opening Ceremony, to lend their personal flavor to a brand and in some cases, completely rejuvenate it. Target has been a leader in recent years, pioneering a brilliant series of designer collaborations under its “GO International” label (R.I.P.).

H&M, beginning with its collection by Karl Lagerfield in 2004, has also paved the way for some of fashion’s most talented to become household names. Target and H&M have both played integral roles in relieving the burden of needing a high-end budget to purchase high-end designs.

No matter what your budget is, there is no question that fashion is a bastion of visionary minds. Now that the year is coming to a close, we celebrate the ten best collaborations of 2013.

10. Alexander McQueen x Damien Hirst

Alexander McQueen teamed up with Damien Hirst in 10th anniversary of the signature skull scarf. Their collection of scarves offered thirty mind-bending designs and was the perfect marriage of the two visionaries’ aesthetics. Each scarf was adapted from Hirst’s Entomology series and featured butterflies, bugs, spiders and other insects displayed in kaleidoscopic geometric shapes laid out in the McQueen skull motif.

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Photo via Alexander McQueen

9. Celia Birtwell x UNIQLO

British designer Celia Birtwell caught UNIQLO’s attention after her Topshop collaboration, which launched in 2006. This year, she debuted her second collection with them. Birtwell drew inspiration from her work in the 60s, when she worked along her then-husband Ossie Clark, a textiles designer. Her UNIQLO line combines the fresh contemporary feel of the Japanese brand with the nostalgia of her 60s designs.

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Photo via Uniqlo

8. Katie Grand x Hogan

Fashion editor Katie Grand partnered with Hogan for the third time for Spring ’14. Imbued with Grand’s signature pop aesthetic, she described the line as, sexy, straight-to-the-point practicality.” The highlight of this collection was the addition of two leather jackets—in boyfriend, with a masculine fit and shrunk, with a cropped cut. Successfully designing a “fun but useful” line, it features duffle and bowling bags, loafers and pumps, all in versatile, re-wearable colors and patterns.

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Photo via Hogan

7. Meadham Kirchhoff x Topshop

Designer duo Meadham Kirchhoff teamed up with the London high street brand to create a whimsical collection, inspired by their dream girl band The Cherrys. Replete with bold patterns, colorful frills and chunky shoes, the imaginative eighty-piece line was one part Japanese Lolita and one part early 90’s girl rock.

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Photo via Topshop

6. Isabel Marant x H&M

When Isabel Marant debuted her collection for H&M, it was heralded as a major success—not surprising, given the most popular jacket of 2013 came from the collection, and the eCommerce disaster that its release caused. The collection was versatile, chic and infused with Marant’s classic Parisian style.

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Photo via H&M

5. Vans x Kenzo

Kenzo has a knack for Technicolor prints, and their fifth collaboration with American streetwear brand Vans was no exception to this. It featured shoes in three patterns in different colors: Tiger, Cloud and Lightening, adding a patterned punch to the classic shoes. They retailed in Vans Slip On, Vans Chukka and Vans Authentic styles.

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Photo via Kenzo

4. Mary Katrantzou x Moncler
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Greek designer Katrantzou’s maximalist prints fit beautifully with Moncler’s luxury outerwear in this surprising collaboration. What was born was a collection that was structural and elegant—feminine though not overwhelmingly so—a successful unity between Katrantzou’s complex pattern landscapes and Moncler’s timeless style.

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Photo via Moncler

3. Kate Spade x Keds

This was Keds’ second collaboration with preppy designer Kate Spade, and it seems a natural collaboration. Rick Blackshaw, president of Keds, described the collaboration as “celebrating the best of both brands but with a new twist for fall.” Kate Spade x Keds featured bold, inventive prints on the feminine Keds silhouette. The collection was fun and casual, the perfect way to add a splash of color to your fall basics.

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Photo via Keds

2. Pamela Love x Zadig & Voltaire

The Wildheart Jewelry collection hit stores in March of this year. As the Brooklyn jewelry described the line, it was inspired by “Victorian jewelry, snakes, thorns and flowers, tribal, magical and mythological imagery.” The line, true to Zadig and Love, had a distinct rock n’ roll, edgy flavor.

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Photo via Zadig & Voltaire

1. 3.1 Phillip Lim x Target

The 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target collection featured a handful of really nice pieces. The economical purses were stellar; their boxy shapes and neutral colors (save for an almost mustard yellow) looked sleek and high end. Second, while many of the dresses left us wanting more, the men’s collection was perfect. The highlight for both the men’s and women’s collection were the sweaters, which fit on most frames nicely and avoided the pitfalls of the dresses—messy cuts which didn’t eschew the price.

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Photo via Target

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