Ripped T-shirts, leather jackets, and spiked earrings. Doesn’t sound like high street fashion, does it? Well think again.

It’s hard to imagine a women’s wear line that stems back to a series of books and films originally called Men Who Hate Women, but Swedish fast fashion house H&M has done just that with its new Dragon Tattoo Collection, released online and in select stores Dec. 14.

Based on the David Fincher-directed American adaption of the original Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the film’s costume designer, Trish Summerville, teamed up with H&M to create the 30-piece line inspired by the film’s plucky heroine, Lisbeth Salander.

“There’s different key pieces that I took out of her wardrobe that she wears in the film and we kind of changed the silhouette a little bit, changed the fabrication, cleaned the pieces up,” says Summerville. “Lisbeth has a ferociousness and fearlessness about her; she does not stand idly by but rights the wrongs. In that sense women can identify with that, they can feel empowered.”

Pieces from the collection range from $3.95 for swirly, spiked earrings to $199 for a fitted black leather coat. There also are studded belts, dark denim miniskirts, slouchy canvas bags, and black boots distressed just enough to reveal grey lining underneath.

According to Summerville and Anna Norling, head designer for H&M’s Divided division, the Dragon Tattoo Collection revolves around Lisbeth’s “key garments,” a unique tie-in between film and fashion the company has never done before.

“The look is very wearable and spot-on trend,” asserts Norling, who added she is very “proud” of Summerville’s line.

While it’s true that Salander – an expert computer hacker/investigator with a fuse as short as her jet-black hair – may be off-putting to some, the actress who plays her, Rooney Mara, believes that’s part of the appeal.

“We always wanted her clothes to sort of repel people and be a means of keeping people away,” says Mara, whose portrayal of Salander earned her a Golden Globe nod in addition to being the focus of a Vogue editorial highlighting the extreme lengths she went to in order to prepare for the role (including intense weight loss and piercing her nipple).

The line has done anything but that.

“I really love these clothes,” raves Megan Whitehead, of Portland, Ore. “The designs are edgy, with a sort of indie-punk coolness about them. And of course, the price is right.”

Even price-conscious fashionistas from Sweden – the epicenter of the plot of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – are fans of the collection.

“They are good clothes,” says Fanny Johansson, a student from Stockholm. “Even though they’re kind of popular, which I don’t think Lisbeth [Salander], if she were real, would like, I still like the feeling they give. They make you feel comfortable, like you don’t care so much what other people think.”

Johansson may be on to something. In early December, the New York Post was able to try five looks from the collection on smokey-eyed, pixie-haired models a few days before its release, declaring that the collection is “obviously tough and tomboyish, but as individual pieces, we could see it being pretty versatile.”

To celebrate the line’s release, H&M created a two-day/cyber café in New York featuring laptops customers were able to “hack” in order to place their picture atop a mannequin that had an iPad for a head. The event attracted huge audiences, but not everyone has been wowed by Summerville’s line.

In an open letter on her blog, rape victim Natalie Karneef claims that with the collection H&M is “putting a glossy, trendy finish on the face of sexual violence and the rage and fear it leaves behind.” In the books and films, Salander is the victim of a violent rape, though she later gets revenge against her attacker.

H&M promptly apologized if the collection was seen by some as offensive, but added: “We do not view this collection as provocative-it contains pieces that are staples in many people’s wardrobes: jeans, biker jackets and t-shirts. It’s all about how you wear them. We encourage our customers to find their own personal way to wear our products.”

Controversy aside, the line has helped transform Salander – whom author Stieg Larsson went out of his way to portray as a rebellious goth-punk misanthrope – into the unlikeliest of style icons.

“It’s amazing,” says Rachel Williams, who stood in line for several hours at H&M’s downtown Portland location the day the collection first went on sale. “Here’s this woman who everyone kind of rejects, and somehow she’s the new ‘it’ girl, like a darker, more mature Bella Swan [from Twilight].”

But rather than women simply emulating the look of a fictitious character (albeit written in a way more real than some living people), Summerville believes the Dragon Tattoo Collection is about something else entirely: empowerment.

“Salander’s look is very real and very lived in, with pieces that her character has worn for a long time,” she says. “I wanted the collection to have the essence and strength of Salander, with a fashion edge, and I’m pleased with the result! My goal is for women to find pieces in it that they love and then mix them with their own wardrobe to create their own personal style.”

Considering she’s somehow made studded belts and ratty shoes stylish, she seems to be doing a pretty decent job.

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