I already felt like I was in an alternative universe, a surreal place where a usually apathetic population actually exercised its right to vote and cast a referendum to send to the White House an intelligent, dignified man who happens to be black.
As if waking up to this yesterday wasn’t already unbelievable, I also discovered in WWD that Alexander McQueen, whose alternative universe of haute monde I worship, is set to introduce a diffused collection for Target.
It’s actually a diffused extension of his already diffused McQ line, which rolled out last year. The crammed label will read McQ Alexander McQueen for Target and will be available in stores and online from March 1-April 11.
It also launches Designer Collaborations, a new initiative for the mass retailer. It’s pricier and “skewed toward a slightly older guest,” Target senior veep Trisha Adams told WWD. In contrast, the highly successful GO International partners with emerging designer brands such as Luella Bartley, Paul & Joe and Proenza Schouler. GO rakes in $100 million-plus in annual sales.
McQueen’s muse for the capsule is Lella Moss. If you haven’t been keeping up on your NME for the last, what, five years, Leila is the platinum-haired, piano-harmonica-tambourine-playing frontwoman of the sexy London-based band Duke Spirit. The quintet cop their sound cues from a record shop full of garage bands such as Sonic Youth, The Cramps, Pixies and My Bloody Valentine and, most pointedly, The Velvet Underground (Leila definitely takes a page out of Nico’s style book).
If you’re in Denver tonight, catch them at the Bluebird Theater (they’ll hit New York in a couple of weeks and L.A. next month).
At Target.com, you can already find McQueen’s Kingdom fragrance, well, a sampler set, for $66.99—although it does indicate it’s “out of stock,” suggesting the retailer likely slung the item on its site just to gauge interest.
The collection sounds great, but it also sounds a lot like the less expensive collections by upstart designers already available at fledgling boutiques near you: slim shirts, coated cotton black trench coats, tuxedo blazers and a one-shoulder dress with a bubble skirt. A tattoo print of mermaids, anchors and dice splatter a sateen strapless dress (bottle of Sailor Jerry whiskey not included), and studs dot many other pieces, including a chambray sleeveless shirt dress, a cropped gray denim jacket and a leather belt.
There’s even a Leila T, silk-screened with a necklace collar. The boys in the band share space on a sleeveless jersey T-shirt. Cobalt blue and hot pink accent a collection colored mostly in muted gray, white and black.
The GO program aside, this reminds me of the Stephen Sprouse collaboration the retailer did just before that great American rebel’s untimely death four years ago.
Admittedly, I’m mixed about the news. I realize that the budget price tag probably appeals to McQueen’s blue collar, punk roots (as it did with Stephen). And I’m all for access to the people. But despite the inevitable excitement with any of these designer-Target pairings, the results—in terms of quality, fit and availability–are usually a bit disappointing.
And every time I read about yet another class-meets-mass collaboration, I want to scream: Stop the madness! Is it really necessary for every designer to lend their name and vision this way? Does it still have the cache it did when Karl Lagerfeld did H&M, or, three decades before that, Halston did JC Penney?
That said, the ill-fitting Sprouse graffiti swimsuit I picked up six years or so ago for $10 on the sales rack is now worth 10 times that. So, if you've got the patience, space and madness to play, today’s deals can (possibly) pay off tomorrow. At least, I'll keep telling myself that as I fill the cart at Target next March!
Top Photo: Courtesy Alexander McQueen
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