The way the fashion-industrial complex is frothing over the Missoni Target collabo that drops in stores on Sept. 13, you’d think that Coco Chanel herself had risen from the grave to design a honeymoon line for Kim Kardashian.
From the preview photos, this ambitious collection does look pretty zig-a-zag ha (especially the bike), but then, they all do. Seriously, have you ever seen a Target collaboration that looked as good in real life? The Rodarte stuff looked like goth skating dresses. Anya Hindmarch’s squeaky patent pleather bags didn’t whisper Anya Hindmarch so much as scream Target. And so on.
You’d think that a budget blog would be all over these high-low fashion smashups, but allow me to air a petty grievance: they’re patronizing.
Just as an EZ Bake oven isn’t an actual oven and a Like a Bike isn’t an actual bike, Missoni for Target isn’t actually Missoni. It’s something else entirely.
If Thomas Keller did a sandwich for McDonalds, would he still be Thomas Keller — one of the originators of the artisanal and garden fresh food movement? No, he would be Wolfgang Puck, who is probably much richer than Keller because he hawks frozen pizzas. Would Jaguar ever design a special edition Hyundai? No, because you simply cannot render a Jag in the cheap ingredients used to make a Hyundai. A Chloé bag wrought in imitation leather simply isn’t a Chloé bag anymore.
I have loads of stuff from Target, like everyone else, but only a few legit designer things. Two of them happen to be Missoni items that I scored at off price, from Loehmann’s and Gilt Groupe. To me, those were finds, crumbs tossed off the table of the royal banquet, and I had to stretch to swing them even at a discount.
If everyone’s invited to the feast, what’s the point in sneaking in? Like celebrities, luxury icons like Missoni were built on aspiration and mythology, which is why the whole idea of Missoni for Target feels like a bit of a con job. And once a designer rolls out a Target line, I for one don’t fantasize about the real stuff anymore.
Not for a moment would I begrudge anyone who buys this line; it’s cute. And Missoni should hardly care what I think, because this collection is going to sell out in a fraction of a microsecond.
Donatella Versace once said at a lecture that she’d never do a Target line because it would dilute the Versace name. Can you imagine a Target line from hardcore luxury brands like YSL, Prada, Louis Vuitton or Hermes? No, because it alters their fundamental DNA once everyone can get their hands on it.
Will I ever own a single piece from one of those fashion houses? Probably not — unless they rolled out lite versions at Target. But then you still couldn’t convince me that I actually did.