Target fails to meet expectations with Neiman Marcus collaboration

When I first heard that Neiman Marcus and Target were pairing with the Council of Fashion Designers of America and 24 designers at the tops of their field to create a 50-piece holiday collection, I may have screamed. As a thrifty fashionista, nothing excites me more than a designer collaboration with a more budget-friendly retailer.

Target is well-known for these collaborations. They launched their GO International line in 2006, teaming up with big-name designers like Alexander McQueen, Erin Fetherston, Zac Posen, Rodarte, Mulberry, Anna Sui, Jean Paul Gaultier, Proenza Schouler and many more. Retailer H&M has done the same with designers like Marni and Versace.

These lines have been so successful because they allow budget conscious women like myself to obtain clothing and accessories designed by fashion industry royalty that would otherwise seem impossible to obtain. It’s high fashion for a fraction of the price. A Zac Posen dress can be anywhere in the thousands of dollars but because of Target, I own a sweater, bathing suit and dress designed by him for well under $100 each.

So now Target has teamed up with Neiman Marcus and these 24 top designers to create what was expected to be the most epic collection Target has made. I thought it could even top their collaboration with Italian brand Missoni, which presented a 400-piece collection that sold out within 15 minutes of Target opening in some New York stores and caused the Target website to crash. That was a big deal, but the Neiman Marcus collaboration seemed bigger.

Then photos started trickling out online of pieces from the collection. I didn’t see a stunning and affordable Osacar de la Renta dress in these photos, I saw an Oscar de la Renta overpriced pet collar and leash and pet bowl ($39.99 and $29.99 respectively). I didn’t find Rodarte couture but instead found Rodarte wrapping paper and an ornament.

Marchesa designs the most stunning dresses seen on celebrities on all the red carpets but who do they design for in the Target collaboration? Children. They designed $79.99 and $99.99 dresses for little girls. What little girl needs a $99.99 Marchesa dress? I may have yelled at my computer when I saw they were designing dresses for little girls who not only will have no idea what Marchesa is or even care for that matter.

Jason Wu designed dresses for little girls too. He also made ornaments selling for $49.99. Brian Atwood, known for his sky-high stilettos designed gloves and sunglasses ($49.99 and $39.99 respectively). Diane von Furtsenburg known for her clothing and famous wrap dresses made a yoga mat and $49.99 jewelry box. Derek Lamb made leopard slippers and a $99.99 skateboard. Alice + Olivia designed a $499.99 bicycle and $179.99 suitcase.

Then there’s Marc Jacobs, probably the most anticipated designer in this collection. He designed three $69.99 metallic leather pouches and a $69.99 black cashmere scarf.

Why Target? Why did you do this?

Women don’t want to buy skateboards, bicycles, cookie cutters (designed by Band of Outsiders and overpriced at $29.99), yoga mats and dresses for little girls that they wish they could wear. Women want to buy clothing from these designers as that is what they are known for making.

The collection was released on Dec. 1 and sold both at Target and Neiman Marcus stores and online.  Compared to previous Target collaborations, this collection was an absolute disappointment.

Now, I can’t deny the quality and beauty of each piece. The Brian Atwood leather gloves felt like butter in my hands, they were so soft. The Robert Rodriguez lace cocktail dress and Lela Rose watercolor dress were well worth the $99.99 they were priced at. The Marc Jacobs pouches were stunning and the Philip Crangi photo frame and trinket box were beautiful.

Yes, the quality was great and the prices may have been affordable at Neiman Marcus but they were overpriced for Target and Target shoppers, especially compared to the great and reasonable prices of previous collections.

Target blundered when teaming up with Neiman Marcus, who already sells the clothing, accessories and goods of these designers from their regular collections and at their full (and expensive) price points.

The focus should have been on creating fabulous and affordable clothing and accessories, not expensive ornaments, dessert plates (Tracy Reese) and yoga mats.

For the interested buyer, however, I would recommend the Proenza Schouler grey sweatshirt with the abstract print. At $29.99, the price is reasonable and the sweatshirt is not only cute with the print but comfortable as well. The Brian Atwood gloves may be pricy at $49.99 but they are genuine sheep leather and the ombre stud detailing is luxe and edgy. The Robert Rodriguez cocktail dress is perfect for holiday parties and the Marc Jacobs pouch is probably the least expensive way to get your hands on a Marc Jacobs bag.

As disappointed as I am with this collection, those pieces stood out, so much so that invested in them myself. Looking at the overall collection, however, the executives at Target will have to step up their game for their next collaboration if they want to keep their status as the go-to retailer for affordable designers goods.





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