Like everyone else who pays attention to fashion and style, at this point in our lives we're fairly desensitized to mass-retail/high design partnerships. While we were admittedly excited about H&M's Margiela collaboration back in 2012, by the time their Balmain partnership was announced in 2015, our pulse maybe quickened by a few beats. Maybe.
The problem is there have been so many INSERT DESIGNER NAME for INSERT BIG BOX STORE collections, and so many "meh" ones (ahem, Marimekko x Target) that it's hard to justify spending mental energy sussing out the good from the bad.
While the concept itself is a good one, because who doesn't love beautiful things at beautiful prices, the execution isn't always there.
That is a bummer, because sometimes, really, super awesome, totally amazing designer collaborations do happen, and collections are executed that maintain the integrity of the designer while bringing their genius to the masses, and no one is paying attention because we have low expectations. The brand-new collection by L.A.-based design studio Commune for West Elm, however, is an example of a designer collaboration gone right and worthy of all of our oohs and aahs.
A Panama-City Hotel designed by Commune, Image via Architectural Digest
For one, Commune principals Roman Alonso and Steven Johanknecht have a distinct and edited aesthetic that you can tell was applied to the collection as if they were putting it out on their own. While the pair's modern taste is definitely complementary to the West Elm look, it's not like they sold its soul to fit into the store's catalogue, a sign of a well-matched collaboration.
Principals Roman Alonso and Steven Johanknecht
Another thing: the prices aren't that cheap. They're certainly more affordable than having a home designed by the firm, but the line is mostly comprised of accent furniture and accessories in the $399-$1700 range. It seems like Commune was more interested in broadening its audience than broadening margins, something that helps the collection feel authentic and special.
Plus, it's all just heart-eyes pretty. Check it out.
Commune x West Elm Wall Sconce
Commune x West Elm Tapestry Diptych
Commune x West Elm Shearling Arm Chair
Commune x West Elm Colored Glass Wall Art
Commune x West Elm Tripod Floor Lamp
Shop the collection at West Elm.