24-Hour Countdown To #KENZOxHM

We’ll be dead honest. When the first campaign images of H&M’s latest designer collab dropped, #TeamCLEO was excited for it, but we weren’t immediately enamoured. Until we got right up close with the clothes at a special preview session with the team at H&M. Then, it was game over. Our hearts were set on this collection. The details, the quality, weight, prints, silhouettes were everything we needed. Now.

CLEO staffer Stephanie Boey knew the jig was up. She went without lunch for two weeks (when it’s a choice between food and fashion…) and cleared her credit card limit. This is her blow-by-blow of the 24-hour countdown leading up to the doors opening for KENZOxHM.

“After queuing overnight for #HMBALMAINATION last year in Avenue K, I vowed to never do it again. The experience was a “Once in a lifetime deal”. So I thought I was safe this year — I liked the KENZOxHM collection but I wasn’t head over heels. So I didn’t have that immediate urge to plan my overnight-queue ideas this year. Or so I thought.

Humberto Leon and Carol Lim pulled a fast one on us. Just when I thought I was in the all clear, H&M release this and then it all started coming together. I knew I was a goner. The doors at H&M Lot 10 and Avenue K were going to open at 8.05am on 3 Nov, and I had it all planned out.

0805: Okay I’m not in the queue, yet. I’m at the office (a girl’s gotta work, yo), cause I got a GoGetter to sit in my spot until 2pm.

1400: I’m here and I’m lucky number #33! (Tim Riggins 5ever! Friday Night Lights, anyone?) Unlike at Avenue K where we were comfortably queuing indoors, the flagship store at Lot 10 doesn’t have the same facilities. So I’m camping outside, literally, exposed to the elements. Like a soldier in the trenches, I make a bunker with my things and an umbrella. I start to jot down my musings.

1425: I scope out the competition. Who was going to be my conflict of interest? I’m sure someone at the front of the line is eyeing the same sleeveless reversible dress as I am. I must have it. It’s the first thing I’m going to grab.

1600: It’s so damn hot, man. Cha Time is just a few feet away, they must be glad they made the business decision to rent a lot here. I order a large Pearl Milk Tea to cool down.

1635: I leave my spot to use the loo. The toilets on the Ground Floor in Lot 10 charge RM2!? I go two floors up to use the regular toilets. I still have to pay 50 cents, but, no choice…

1717: People keep asking why we’re queuing up. This is normal, and we have our explanation rote-memorised. (People were just as curious when we lined up indoors at  Avenue K). I have to pee again. Regret that large Pearl Milk Tea.


My dress! So near, yet so far.

1810: Out of the entire row, I notice that passersby only stop by where I’m sitting. It occurs to me: There’s a KENZOxHM notice board right behind me explaining what’s going on. I’m right smack in front of it…


This guy.

1830: A kind friend drops off some refreshments. Coconut water, YAAAAS!

1901: I need to pee again but since I’m a cheapskate, I walk a little further to Fahrenheit 88 to use their toilets. They’re free, guys!


Some fashion fans passed the time with a game of (imaginary) hoops.

2005: Exactly 12 hours to go!

2039: So far, the weather has been good. It hadn’t rained all day. I was worried because of the dark clouds looming over us since 4pm.

2044: Pedestrians stop in front of the queue to snap photos of the people in line. I suddenly realise how animals must feel in a zoo, and have the urge to make animal noises.

2117: I’m right across that giant cube on Bukit Bintang which plays a constant loop of jingles and ads. My only salvation is that Eric Cantona is slightly amusing in the YES  campaign vids.

2201: Being here in the middle of KL’s golden triangle made me realise how spoiled I was last year in Avenue K. I had the luxury of being indoors, away from the cruel weather, gravel, dust and traffic noise. The restroom was a stone’s throw away with an ATM machine, too. But most importantly, Baskin Robbins was literally right in front of me.

2207: It’s starting to drizzle!

2227: A guy approaches our section to ask if he could borrow an umbrella to get to his hotel. We say no. #sorrynotsorry

2228: The same guy tries with another group and starts to walk away with an umbrella. He does not succeed.


My home for the night.

2333: A complete random walks up to my bunker, hovers a camera directly over my face and takes a photo of me — point blank and scurries away! RUDE!

0000: The Visual Merchandising team starts setting up!


Racks on racks on racks.

0023: I try to get some shut eye but the giant cube won’t let me. It keeps telling me to ‘just say YES!’ I guess I’m going to bed an optimist.


Game plan. Priority #1: The sleeveless reversible dress.

0325: I wake up to a loud noise and see that it’s pouring with rain 🙁


Do you see what I see?

0415: I take a peek into the store to catch a glimpse of the setup. I see a couple of menswear items on the rack, eeek!

0500: Cannot sleep!

0600: Breakfast time: H&M hands us a bottle of water and a butter cookie.


A dose of sugar for a much-needed pick-me-up.

0630: Staffers start tagging people in the queue. Red for the first batch, green for the second. I miss batch #1 by the skin of my teeth.

0645: We’re finally free to leave the the queue. I desperately need to pee but the mall isn’t open yet so I walk to Grand Millennium and pretend to be a guest. Curi-curi use their bathroom.

0805: Doors are open! Batch #1 is in it to win it.


Let the games begin!

0815: What a massacre.

0820: D-day. I’m finally in, guys!

0825: I cannot find my dress. Where is my dress?!

0843: Slightly disheartened that they were no longer on the racks, but… I manage to get a whole chunk on my list.


A glimpse of the chaos.

0900: Making friends in the dressing room in pursuit of my dress.

0947: I’ve been in the store for more than an hour. Gonna call it and head to the cashier.


Shopping bags were too small for their haul so they opted for racks.



The lady in front of me spent more than RM4,000! #goals



Sticky and sweaty but happy.

1000: I need a shower.

Curious to see why I’m smiling? Click here.

Conclusion: This will be my last time joining the queue for H&M’s yearly designer collab.

I think so.


I’ll see you guys at Avenue K next year.”