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Not sure what exactly made me want to go to the Versace by H&M debut this morning…maybe it was the excitement, maybe it was the great deals or (perhaps) Versace pieces for lower-than-department-store prices.

Either way, I was sold on the idea.

One stipulation: I would only buy something I really liked (or that I could gift). I’m a picky shopper anyway, but I didn’t want to get caught up in the hoopla and buy an ugly cheetah/palm tree hot mess (sorry, Versace, those prints are too much for me).

Woke up at 6:15 and with 4 hours of sleep: coffee on, quick breakfast and out the door.

In line before 7 and it was crowded. Chatted with a guy in line who was saving a spot for a friend. He didn’t even want to buy anything, was there just to help out a friend. Heck of a friend!

So here’s how it worked: color-coded wristbands were given to every 20 people. Each group had 15 minutes exactly to shop. Store opened at 8 and my wristband got me in at 10:05. I was confident nothing would be left when it was my turn (it only took 30 minutes to sell out completely in London), but the crowd was so entertaining I decided to stick it out.

To set the scene, there were 20+ cops/security guards in the store and at the doors. You couldn’t leave without a guard examining your bag contents and receipt. A DJ was blasting music. ALL the Versace inventory was out – only 8, maybe 10 of each piece (which likely meant there was only 1 piece per size).

Some of the people in the first group had been at H&M since 6pm the day before. Check out this video I shot of the first group in:

While burning time shopping in the “non-Versace” part of H&M, I saw a manager call a security guard and lay into the crowd that if anyone else was caught trying to sell merchandise before it had been purchased they would be kicked out. I’m serious. People were bartering and selling merchandise they hadn’t bought yet!

I kept to myself and patiently waited my turn.

It’s 9:30 and despite my gut feeling that I was going to walk away empty handed, I saw 1-2 popular items added back to the shrinking space allocated to Versace, left by customers in the dressing rooms. Hope after all!

I was in the next group to go and watched as a cat fight broke out right in front of me. A dress was added last minute, 20 people ran for it and 2 girls had a hold and wouldn’t let go. The manager mediated. One yelled, “I have the dress!” the other yelled, “I have the hanger!” It was comical. Like kids fighting over a toy, these ladies women were fighting over a size 2 dress (it wouldn’t have fit either lady woman anyhow – H&M runs European sizes and their size 2 is comparable to a US size double zero). Wonder how many people didn’t know that, snagged clothes, brought them home & couldn’t fit in them?

So, back to it: who got the dress? These ladies women were getting more relentless by the second. After 10 minutes of pleading their case, H&M decided neither lady woman would take it home. For a moment, I thought I might have a shot at it (being that I was in the next group) but that dissipated fast as it was whisked away. Tempers were flaring.

I was in it for the experience and wouldn’t be disappointed if I left with nothing but let me tell you…nearly everyone else was battling for every piece.

Their eyes were frantic.

Their filters, broken.

I heard a girl pleading to a manager: her wallet were stolen – could she please give back the pieces she had given up so she could get cash? FAIL.

One girl begged to get the size 2 dress because she had bought a size 8 and it was too big. FAIL.

While all this was going on, a girl next to me asked me if I wanted her dress. I said, “sure!” but didn’t want to get too excited and make a scene because you’re not allowed to pass along items. I tucked it under my arm and decided to try it on after my 15 minutes of shopping, though I hesitate to call it “shopping” since I was essentially granted access with 19 others into a 10’x10′ space where the only things left were shoes and coffee table books. I didn’t even look at the dress.

My prize! Only $149

I waited for a prize piece to appear from the dressing room – no such luck. While “shopping” (or waiting), a few people asked me how I got the dress (and not in a friendly way) and I quickly told them I was holding it for my friend who went to the restroom. I was getting nervous. After all, these people were crazy! But after all the wait, I wasn’t about to lose a chance to at least try on this dress and see if I liked it. Finally, I was upstairs and in the dressing room and my first chance to check out the goods.

It was my lucky day. Not only was the dress my size (fits perfectly) but I really love it! It was 100% worth it, even with my picky taste. Mark loves it, too!

How crazy was “Project Occupy H&M for Versace?” Someone who saw me
checking out suggested I get an escort to my car – he was serious.

But I have to admit…even if I walked away empty handed, it would have been worth it. It was a heck of an experience!