After poking some fun that Lidl has joined the bandwagon of retailers recruiting celebrities to design a clothing range a couple of weeks ago, I did find myself dashing to Lidl at 8am this morning. To buy snacks for the kids for their after school clubs this afternoon, of course. Honestly. The launch of Esmara by Heidi Klum had nothing to do with it (My nose has always been this big, no Pinocchio syndrome here. And there aren’t a few boxes on my dining room table. She says clutching the nose again just to check).
What peaked my curiosity? I walk past Lidl, practically on a daily basis, there is one a few minutes from my house. When I spotted the posters on Friday last week, I thought that the shoes and boots looked quite nice. And then I noticed that they were leather. REALLY? At that price? No way, I thought. And my preconceived notion of a poorly made range in substandard materials shifted significantly. Just like that with one well placed poster.
I quickly made a mental note that the launch date was Monday 18 September. That evening, I asked the husband what time Lidl opens in the mornings. Monday specifically. Because he normally does the emergency early morning or late night runs. Did I just expose myself there a little? My visit this morning for the kids snacks? Under no circumstances would I be the one to do that shop run. No. I wanted those leopard print ankle boots. Leather leopard print boots for £24.99! How could I not be sucked in?
As I enter Lidl, the smell of the bakery hit my senses. I stop to pick up some pain au raisins (my diet started today), pretending nonchalance and an air of disinterest. I’m here for the pastry. Playing it cool as I make a beeline for the back. Lo and behold, like hungry sharks at feeding time, a few people are loading their baskets with panicked fervour. I manage to take my place in the spot where a lady’s basket is brimming with pairs of shoes. I am one of the sharks.
Does Lidl #letswow Wow?
Swiftly I find a size 6 pair of boots, although I’m actually a size 5, but I figure that I can probably get away with it if I add a pair of socks. I do eventually find a pair of size 5 boots after a further frantic rummage, but the demographic is not ideal to try them on. I’d rather not bend over with my bum aimed at the raw chicken in the adjacent aisle. Accidents happen. Eventually I manage to find my way into the well sealed box to look at the size 5, and after a small moment of indecision, I decide that it looks slightly small and opt for the size 6.
As my eager little trotters pounded the pavement to Lidl, I did wonder how they would merchandise the range, because, let’s be honest, the Lidl aisles aren’t particularly designed for their showy displays. In the area assigned to the range, they had the standard metal baskets, but with cardboard stands erected. Each cardboard stand had a garment hanging on it (yes, they fell off about 19 times in the 5 minutes I was there, but they’re trying). All the clothing and shoes are neatly packed in compact sealed boxes, which is slightly problematic for working out which is the suitable size.
Whilst having a sneaky little look at the other styles, I make the split decision that it would be utter stupidity not to buy the real leather suede jacket for £49.99. In the end, I settle for the black one and I decide to size up. Partly because I would like to wear it over a jumper, but partly because my production experience is telling me, at that price, they will manage the fabric consumption by keeping the spec and grading as small as they possibly can. I was not wrong. Usually I would wear a size 10, but the size 12 is a snug fit. I can squeeze it over a thin jumper, but if I zip it up, I’m about as tightly wrapped as a swaddled baby.
I was right about the boots as too. The size 6 boots fit like a glove. No socks required to pad it out. And they are amazingly comfortable despite a substantial heel. I am over the moon with this purchase (understatement). Ask me again after I’ve walked 30 minutes in them, I might tell a different tale, but for now, they are the bees knees.
The jacket is obviously still a bit crispy as it’s brand new, but a couple of wear should soften it up nicely. I like it. I suddenly wonder if the brown option wouldn’t be better. If the brown jacket had been a little more tan than tobacco, it would have been the one I grabbed. Maybe I need both? Perhaps, if I decided to buy the brown version, I would consider buying a size 14.
Taking into consideration the price, the quality of the clothing is pretty decent. The white pussy bow blouse was heavily creased and my brain immediately recoiled, thinking ” ironing nightmare”, but all the products had been packed very tightly into very compact, space efficient packaging. The sequinned blazer is not made with the highest quality of sequins, but it’s a decent affordable piece for a trend which is likely to lack longevity. I went down again at lunch to gauge what was popular and to see how messy the stands had become. The staff was hovering around the stands, valiantly folding and trying to restore order, much as you’d see in any other busy clothing store.
If you are planning to have a look, I would suggest that you size up in anything that is fitted. The looser fitting garments will be less impacted by small specs and grading, like the Bishop sleeve dress and the trench coat. But you may need to take a tape measure or size up for items like the high-waisted close-fitting skirt. I’m going to hazard a wild guess that you won’t find the item again once you return it, so careful selection may be crucial.
As a clothing production professional, as well as a shopper, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of the range at the price it was offered. Although my assessment is based on the two products I bought, and a very swift perusal of the garments on the very restricted display, I think that Lidl and Heidi Klum’s collaboration will pleasantly surprise those who buy them. Whether they fall apart after a few washes is another matter, but it is an outstanding fashion offering for those on a limited budget.
I am looking forward to see what’s coming next, particularly based on the outcome of my ankle boots purchase. I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions if you have purchased any items in this range.