When CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winners and nominees design for Gap, two things happen:
1. The piece goes down in history. (Like Philip Lim's white blouse, Alex Wang's khaki motorcycle jacket, or Vena Cava's printed dress.)
2. The piece is completely forgotten. (For this, we have no examples, because we can't remember them.)
Rest assured, this season's designs--including jewelry by Monique Péan, menswear by Patrik Ervell, and women's wear by Sophie Theallet--are almost guaranteed to fall into the first category. This time around, instead of being given a theme--khaki, white--the designers were encouraged to interpret the Gap aesthetic as they pleased. And it worked. Evidence? I blew past my budget today at Gap's Midtown pop-up shop. I loved everything--from the jewels to the dresses to the blazers. I would have seriously taken one of each! A roundup of what I saw:
Péan's core collection is socially responsible, so she aimed to bring some of that consciousness into her pieces for Gap. The designers sourced their own materials and did their own production, so Péan worked with local artisans in Columbia to create her 12-piece collection. She used everything from green coconut to water snakeskin to seeds. I picked up what seems to the be the signature piece, a necklace featuring water snakeskin-wrapped beads, lime green seeds and twine diamonds.
Thealett, the aim was to create clothes for the woman who "wants to appear." She did a few versions of her hit dress--which I grabbed--as well as some peasant blouses and flounces cocktail numbers. I picked up my future mother-in-law a black blouse with a flowing chiffon shoulder--perfect for tango, of which she's an expert. Much like her ready-to-wear collection, the looks are very French--which to me means timeless and trendless--yet these pieces also captured Gap's sensible aesthetic.
- Menswear designer
Ervell says many of his clients are women, and it's easy to see the unisex appeal of his pieces. We have a friend who picked up the cream fisherman's sweater, and Vogue's Sally Singer was said to have admired the silk-tweed blazer, which I almost bought myself. (I may actually go back for it.)
To be sure, these aren't typical Gap prices. Most dresses and necklaces hover around $248; the blouse I bought was around $140, and the blazer was $248 as well. The bright side: These piece were not mass-produced, and are only available at the Gap pop-up on 5th Avenue, which means they're of the utmost quality and pretty darn unique. What's more, it's supporting the future of American fashion. I say it's investment dressing at its best. See images of the clothes--and the store--here: