Phat Loot: the long knit/crocheted gloves I was coveting and a pair of satin-ey lounge pants I didn't know I wanted until I saw them.I turned on the television this morning to one of the network's top news stories: yesterday's unprecedented, all-day crash of the retail giant Target's website. The reason? The arrival in its stores of the most highly anticipated, coveted, and hyped partnerships between Target and a high end designer since the retailer debuted its Design For All concept back in the late 1990s with a Michael Graves-designed set of housewares.
Since then, Target has partnered with everyone from Anna Sui to Converse, Alexander McQueen to Rodarte. Always limited editions, although some designers (like the make-up maven Sonia Kashuk, and American apparel manufacturer Mossimo) have remained perennials. Anyone who has ever shopped target most likely has one of Mossimo's colorful t-shirts or Kashuk's brilliant eye colors, perfumes, or make up brushes. Even better, they didn't go into hock to purchase them, either.
But I'm not sure anyone was prepared for the Missoni frenzy. An Italian knitwear design house started in Italy in 1953 by husband and wife Ottavio and Rosita Missoni, the line is famous for the quality of its wools and fabrics and crazy patterns and colors. To own a piece of Missoni is to own true luxury, and I don't mean that in a cost-a-million-dollars-worth-of-luxury kind of way. What I mean is, you own something that is handmade by a small, privately held family company that still retains tight control over quality and production, and still cares that it's providing it's customer with something beautiful to wear. (However, the the lower-priced M Missoni line currently licenses to LVMH, so don't buy M.)
When I heard back in the spring about this partnership, you can bet I calendared the debut date. Those who pooh-poohed me and said, "It's Missoni For Target, not the real thing,"' can suck it. I say: what's the difference? Why can't a $54 cardigan with a cool pattern and tight weave be any less purchase-worthy than one that costs 10 times that?
So when Chickory called yesterday morning while I was on my way into town, breathless with excitement and quickly giving me the low down on the goods, it was all I could do to make it through my early morning appointment before hitting the closest Target at 10am. Which I did. In spite of the slim pickings, I picked up some great stuff, including this rockin' knit cardigan whose Navajo/Art Deco pattern fits right into my 1970s-inspired fall wardrobe. I was exclusively scouting for clothing, one of the silk scarves, and the laptop cover. The housewares, while beautiful, I stayed away from. I have way too many fine and fun bowls, vases, dish sets, etc., both modern and vintage, and all I needed was to come home with yet another piece to find space for. However, anyone who needed to furnish their baths, beds, and kitchens would have found some really great pieces.
While waiting for a dressing room, I listened to the sales gals' tales of woe: of people lined up at 4am to get in. Of checkers ringing up bills in the thousands of dollars. Of people snatching items out of other shoppers' carts. Mad house, frenzy, not prepared, were constant phrases. But my first thought was: right on.
With all the complaints about the economy these days, these girls are looking this gift horse in the mouth? I wanted to smack them. Yes, I'm an unabashed Material Girl. That's because we're a Material Nation. A Material World. A Material SPECIES. What would we be doing if we didn't conceive, create, manufacture, distribute, and sell? Lay on a beach all day somewhere frolicking with dolphins and making love not war? The problem with that is, someone eventually wants a cute-looking bikini and goes looking for someone to make it, and then someone else begins to control the distribution of coconuts and palm fronds. And there we are: right back where we started.
So I say: all hail the free market. It may not be perfect, but it's the best idea for an economy that we've got.