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Target's Liberty of London Collection Actually Lives Up to the Hype

Target is a branding powerhouse. Which is why it's no surprise that this morning's press preview for its Liberty of London pop-up shop (stationed righ

Target is a branding powerhouse. Which is why it's no surprise that this morning's press preview for its Liberty of London pop-up shop (stationed right next to Bryant Park) was a cornucopia of the English garden variety.

We're experiencing a bit of a heat wave in New York, so the floral-lined walls, pots of fabric flowers--and a green grass garden filled with dresses, shirts and kid's clothes instead of tulips--were a welcome sight. As was the gigantic teapot, a nod to Liberty's English heritage. I missed Naomi Watts, hired to open the store, but I did take advantage of the fresh fruit and coffee passed around.

As for the product? It's good. Really, really good.

I'm not too into floral maxi dresses--which were abound--but I did pick up some nice lounge wear ($16.99 for bras) and a ton of boxers ($5.99 a pair) for my boyfriend. The kids clothes were incredible: Smocked rompers for girls and shorts for boys printed with tiny cars. And the housewares? Wow! I found plates, serving platters, and pillows in plenty of richly-colored floral prints. There was even an adorable umbrella with matching wellies. But the best bit--in my opinion--was the bike (it's $199). I might actually buy one.

Yet here's what's more important: The fabric quality isn't too bad. The difficult with Liberty of London is that the fabric is pretty expensive. Usually upward of $50 a yard at retail, sometimes quite a bit more. That's why, before this, mid-priced brands like Steven Alan, APC--and even J.Crew--were more likely to use it in clothing.

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But because Target buys in bulk--and Liberty is on a collaboration spree--things are affordable. (I did put in a call to Target's press department to make sure the fabrics are actually from Liberty's own mill. There's a chance that the retailer licensed the prints for a certain period of time instead of buying the actually fabric, which would probably cost a lot less. I'll let you know either way. UPDATE: Yes, these are Liberty prints on non-Liberty fabric, which explains the low prices.)

Regardless, it looks good. Because most of the clothing is cotton, there isn't an obvious cheapness factor. While I haven't had horrible luck with Target collabs in the past, it's well-known that they aren't always as stunning as they appear in the look book. This time around, you'll be happy you sought it out.

The pop-up is open today until 8pm and March 11-March 13 from 9am to 8pm. But for those outside of New York, don't fret: The full collection arrives in select stores nationwide this Sunday, March 14.

Update #2: According to Racked NY, the entire collection has sold out at the pop-up shop. In fact, they've actually closed it. So you'll have to wait until Sunday when it arrives in stores. Sorry!