Sunday, October 30, 2005

Designers at Chains

Last year (or the year before?) marked the introduction of an Isaac Mizrahi line at Target and a special Karl Lagerfeld line at H&M. Now the Swedish-based chain is releasing a Stella McCartney line, a preview of which can be found here. A clued in friend made the point to me that H&M has started a new trend--with Target tagging right along--in releasing such designer lines at non-designer prices.

Nice work shirt from Isaac Mizrahi for Target

Great looking purse, also Mizrahi

So far, I think Target's integration of Mizrahi has had the most appeal. The shoes, clothing, and accessories sold at Target are by and large incredibly wearable and reasonably-priced. The Mizrahi line has proven that a fashion designer can be brought down to earth. It has both upped Target's fashion quotient and given the otherwise frivolous designer fashion world a purpose (any industry whose client is the top .00005 percent of the population, in my opinion, is frivolous). The biggest con of the Mizrahi line, in my opinion, is that it lacks some in creativity but it balances that flaw out by featuring classic pieces.

Largerfeld's line at H&M, from what I remember, did not impress me. It seemed none to different from typical H&M wear, perhaps with the expectation that the shopper would consider Karl's contribution to affordable fashion reason enough to buy his line.

Stella McCartney's line is more creative, but it is often not wearable! She keeps to one pant style, an odd-looking skinny, ankle-length pant with ties around the ankle which is guaranteed to look good on an H&M mannequin but little else. Some of the pairings are very nice--a rich, silk blouse under a blazer is a great look for the winter. Stella succeeds best when she uses classic shapes like that tailored blazer. Her chiffon dress on the other hand is the sort of shapeless thing that would be worn on a shapeless model down a runway in New York or Paris. Ditto her oversized trench coat and her "Satin all-in-one." Great fabrics, pretty colors--terrible fit! These items are about as practical as most of the wears at a haute couture fashion show. I guess we'll see if the general public agrees come fall or winter when the collection is released in stores.

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