Jaime Ridge takes us inside this ‘immersive’ and Insta-worthy fashion event in the middle of the desert

20 March 2019
By Fashion Quarterly

Swedish retailer H&M put on a first-of-its-kind immersive experience to unveil their new H&M Studio SS19 collection.

Doing away with their usual Paris Fashion Week show this season, instead H&M invited a select number of guests and global press to Sedona, in the Arizona desert, to partake in an immersive theatre experience which showcased the SS19 collection “within new contexts”; essentially bringing the clothes to life.

The H&M Studio SS19 collection, inspired by the “glam explorer”, had a distinctively adventurous feel, with glamorous zebra prints, safari jackets and desert-inspired garments just some of the key pieces worn during unique performances such as a water ballet spectacle, an acoustic performance by The Staves and a BMX stunt show.

We asked LA-based fashion creative and stylist Jaime Ridge to fill us in on all the happenings and keep a diary of her time in Sedona—as a bona fide H&M Studio fan, and now US resident, we couldn’t think of a better person to have on the ground at one of the most Insta-worthy fashion events this year.

We take a peek at her diary to find out what went on during her whirlwind, three-day trip.

Sunday 10 March

1.30pm: Arrive at LAX airport early (because I get crazy anxiety if I’m running late to the airport) to a very delayed flight. But all is well, as the lounge has an endless supply of M&Ms and I’m going on the Sedona Desert to view one of my favorite seasonal collections – H&M Studio!

Jaime Ridge waits at LAX for her flight to Sedona, Arizona, for the H&M Studio event

6pm: I land in Phoenix, Arizona. My first time here in this part of America!

6.30pm: Transported to the Kimpton Palomar hotel where a gorgeous welcome gift from my H&M family awaits. I’ll spend this evening here in Phoenix before heading to the Sedona desert tomorrow morning.

7pm: Pop down to the poolside bar for a skinny margarita with a couple of my girlfriends before heading back up to my room for vegan pho, a facemask and an early night, all in preparation for the next few days of adventures.

Monday 11 March

11am: Our two hour journey from Phoenix to Sedona begins. Vast cactus are dotted all over with the beautiful red, pink and orange landscape paving the way to the resort.

1.30pm: Arrive at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona. I cannot wait to spend the next few days exploring this beautiful place! The elders from various Arizona tribes say the prehistoric waters that once covered the Southwest left behind incredible red rock formations that surround the resort. The mysterious Boynton Canyon (where the resort is situated) has an intriguing history that includes dramatic earth changes, prehistoric ruins, creation stories, inhabitants and healing waters.

2.30pm: After a quick freshen up, I head to a late lunch with one of my girlfriends at the Mii Amo Spa Café, a fresh and wholesome lunch spot that sources food locally whenever possible. I opted for a bunless Impossible burger – to all of you vegetarians that don’t know what I’m talking about, Google immediately. (You’ll thank me later!)

3.30pm: I stop past the H&M Studio showroom for a preview of the SS19 Collection. Oh my. I’m in LOVE!

4pm: I head back to my little pink resort room in the middle of the desert to prepare my looks for photo shoots the following day and to prepare myself for this evening’s festivities.

5.30pm: Picked up by one the resort golf carts and escorted to the opening cocktail party at the picturesque resort pool house. I have decided to wear a beautiful white button up dress this evening, a piece from the current H&M Trend collection. A beautiful classic look, paired with my favorite Meadowlark earrings.

6pm: Treated to the most incredible water ballet performance by the Aqualillies, all dressed in H&M Studio swimwear. Thought: All of a sudden, I’m a fan of zebra print!

6.30pm: Arrive at the most beautiful space, adorned with a series of stunning floral arrangements for the opening dinner. Margaritas and Mexican food – does it get any better than this?

Tuesday 12 March

7am: Coffee alongside today’s outfit prep. I opted for my favourite current season H&M jeans and jacket for my morning activities.

9.30am: The girls and I are taken on an incredible jeep tour throughout the Sedona rock formation. The most beautiful natural desert landscapes I have ever seen!

10.30am: The jeep tour has lead us to a campsite where the collection is presented throughout a series of scenes. An incredible acoustic performance by The Staves who sang a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’, and now an insane stunt show by BMX athletes and world champion BMX rider Perris Benegas – all dressed in pieces from the H&M Studio SS19 collection. Mind blown!

11.30am: En route back to the resort to prepare for my afternoon of content shooting! Five locations and five outfits to bang out in 2.5 hours – wish me luck!

12.30pm: After a super quick vegan lunch at the Mii Amo Spa Café (because health is wealth), I’m now heading to photo shoot number one. Location: Tennis court.

2pm: Picked up by golf cart and taken to the highest peak of the resort for photo shoot number two, before racing back down to my room to prepare for this evening’s dinner and finale celebrations.

6.30pm: Another beautiful dinner accompanied by candlelight, fresh flowers and red wine this evening. Heaven!

8.30pm: After dinner, the finale dance performance begins followed by an intimate concert by American singer Maggie Rogers
, dressed in custom H&M Studio. The most beautiful closing performance, Maggie’s incredible voice radiates throughout the room. I’m in awe.

9pm: My gorgeous girlfriend (and the best DJ ever) Hannah Bronfman kicks off the after party. An evening of dancing and laughs begins!

Wednesday 13 March

9am: My last morning here (I don’t want to leave!!). Finishing with breakfast with my girlfriends outside on the terrace this morning before my journey back to LA begins. Final thoughts – feeling extremely grateful for these incredible few days, I’m so incredibly lucky!

The H&M Studio SS19 will be available online and in selected stores worldwide March 21.

Words: Jaime Ridge, Kelly McAuliffe
Photos: Jaime Ridge, Supplied


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