First Person

Why I won’t buy Missoni for Target

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.




  1. Anonymous

    I’m with you up util the point that elitism is a plus for anything. Things are cheaper at target not just because of quality, but economies of scale and distribution. Why shouldn’t everyone have a piece of a dream? Because you paid too much? Let me get a ladder for that horse.

  2. PREACH. I always wondered why everyone was pummeling the crap out of each other over the Rodarte line. What about those H&M lines?

    If I want fancy clothes like that I usually save my pennies and hit up an especially good sample sale. Not quite as cheap as Target, but occasionally you can get some comparable deals (of course). I got a knit Opening Ceremony cardigan once at one of their sales that was marked down to $30 from $400 or $500. 

    • i love my isaac mizrahi dress, get so many complements every time i wear it, and its really good quality. dont have any other target collabs though, and i bought the dress at buffalo exchange, shhh. 

  3. Yeah, I always thought the argument for these things was about making the art of fashion accessible, not making the elitist aspect of fashion accessible.  More like free nights at the museum and less like a sympathy invite to the country club.

  4. I agree re the quality aspect – they definitely pass off Target-level product at higher price points due to the “design” but if you actually had some pricing anchoring in your head about what Target usually sells, I’m sure these lines would be less appealing as a whole (although I agree that there are a few pieces here and there that might be worth the price).  So I was totally with you up until that point! 

    I agree with the other commenters re the elitism aspect – I don’t find it applicable to what I value (meaning, seriously I could give a rat’s ass if I have any of these brands).

    Also – some of the better designed pleather is actually luxe and sturdy.  You likely won’t find it at Target though!

  5. Au contraire, for years car manufacturers have been doing collaborations with designers.  A prime example is Hermes, who has not only done an interior special edition for Bugatti, but for the Smart For Two car as well.  Contemporary designers like Eddie Bauer team with Ford. 

    History shall and will show that this is done time and time again, and it neither hurts the manufacturer nor designer; rather, it ups the ante as far as a consumer wanting that vehicle.  In terms of conglomeration, BMW now makes the Rolls Royce.  There is such a thing as Mercedes for Mitsubishi-they are owned by the same company.  It will not have the star spoke wheel emblem or a checker, but these cars, made from a higher end counterpart, do exist and coexist.  If you are savvy about cars, for instance, you see that a

  6. Mikey Mike

    you, but no thanks.
    Missoni. Mystery or Misrepresentation?

    If you are going nuts for not being able to get
    your hands on Missoni merchandise for the masses, since most of it is sold out
    in stores and online ebay is the only place that has it…But before placing your
    bids I want to reassure you with certainty of an eyewitness news that you did
    not miss much. And here is why:
    First of all I highly doubt, that despite
    original zigzag patterns and acclaimed designs anyone with good taste of style would
    actually want to compromise the quality by purchasing reproduced prototypes,
    which were cheaply manufactured in China. 
    Personally, and with all due respect, I think it
    was a Big mistake Missoni made by Targeting the general market. Call me wrong,
    but so far I am yet to find Bentley with a Kia price tag. However I did see
    Rolex watches being sold for mere $20 bucks in New York’s Chinatown. Pardon me,
    but that’s how it feels like.

    Mikey Mike

  7. Margaux

    The MISSONI Target laptop sleeve has a LEAD WARNING label and says to wash your hands after use!!! It alerts that it can be harmful causing cancer and reproductive issues. This is a laptop bag that one would likely carry daily!

    • Sharon

      I can’t believe that we let crap like that into this country.  Oh, that’s right, they want to do away with all gov’t agencies.  Very sad.  sharon

  8. guest

    While some of the past collaboration lines have been lacking, the Missoni for Target collection is impressive. The patterns are true Missoni and the quality of the fabrics used is pretty good. Not everyone can afford high-end designs and this gives a taste of fashion at a lower cost. Is it the real thing? No. But it’s an excellent representation. I have passed on a lot of Target’s designer lines that I’ve been excited about, as they have been tacky and cheap looking.  This one was not to miss. 

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