Target is continuing to evolve its collaboration format.
Interspersed with the single designer collaborations we know and love, it’s been throwing in a few curve balls: There’s The Shops at Target, which has the retailer collaborating with off-the-beaten-path shops around the country; there was the not-so-successful Neiman Marcus holiday collaboration; and now it’s tapped a celebrity stylist to design a range of eveningwear.
Kate Young, who styles red carpet queens like Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams and works with Jason Wu as a consultant and stylist, is designing a range of semiformal and special-occasion dresses to hit stores April 14 (just in time for prom?). She was also named Hollywood’s Most Powerful Stylist by The Hollywood Reporter last year.
“I’ve been working with Target for a number of years as a stylist, so having the chance to design my own collection with a brand I already know and love is like a dream come true,” said Young in a release.
Though it’s not Young’s first gig with a mass retailer, it’s a surprising move for Target–a little eveningwear with your paper towels? But the increasing ubiquity of designer/mass retailer collabs means Target has to experiment with ways to stray from what’s expected. “As [designer collaborations] have become more common, our partnerships have taken on many different shapes,” a Target Corp. spokesman told WWD.
We’re not sure how The Shops at Target are doing, but a spokesman (who did not give his name) had all kinds of explanations for why the Neiman Marcus collection didn’t work out as planned.
There are two spikes during the Christmas season, Black Friday and last-minute shopping just before Christmas,” he said. “There’s that lull in between. The line was timed to excite consumers during that time. We underestimated that lull. Consumers were fatigued coming out of Black Friday. They were looking for deals. It was priced a bit higher than some of our partnerships because products had real silk, hand-beading and 18-karat gold. We believe we created a price barrier. This is clear given the strong uptick in sales once the collection went on sale at 50 percent off. It was also all about inventory. Missoni + Target sold out in a day. There was so much excitement going into the [Neiman’s] partnership that, in an effort not to disappoint guests, we more than doubled the inventory. We still moved through most of the collection, but there were some barriers we faced.
Fair enough, though we have some other theories as well and wonder if Kate Young’s collection could face any similar challenges.
The collection will range in price from $29.99 to $89.99 for apparel (which makes us a little nervous about the quality of the eveningwear) and $14.99 to $49.99 for jewelry, handbags and shoes, which will be available online only.
Don’t think this means the end of those designer collaborations though. “We have more designers coming up this year and over the course of next year.” Trish Adams, senior vice president of apparel and accessories at Target, told the trade.
If it ain’t broke…