Alexander McQueen does cheap chic for Target: But will it be any good?
Gemma Cartwright writes...
The news has broken. The rumours were actually true. Alexander McQueen will be producing an affordable line for Target.
It won't be part of the Go International range, though. Instead it will be part of a new Target initiative called 'Designer Collaborations' that's being likened to the H&M collabs of recent years. And it will be inspired by the McQ diffusion range rather than the main ready to wear line.
My initial thought on hearing this news was that I should start looking for cheap flights to the US immediately. But then I thought about it a bit more. Over the past few years, designer / high street collaborations have become really prolific. But not all of them have been good...so what's to say McQueen will pull it out of the bag?
One thing is for sure. These collections do best when they actually resemble the mainline collection in some way. Think of Stella McCartney for H&M, a range that bought together all the things Stella was famous for and flogged them for fifty quid a piece. The look was different to what else was in store, and Stella's involvement was clear. There was amazing attention to detail and the products were well-made. I'm still getting loads of wear out of the tuxedo jacket years later.
Victor and Rolf pulled off a similar coup with their H&M collaboration. They took one of their most famous motifs - the heart - and mixed it with their trademark tailoring. It was a really beautiful collection and a clever partnership too. Viktor and Rolf were an unusual, edgy choice for H&M, and the collaboration gained the duo exposure in the mainstream, bringing them to the attention of people who probably wouldn't normally be interested in such conceptual designers.
But then we have the other side. The so-called 'flops'. How many of us have pieces from Giles Gold at New Look that we've barely worn? Who got terribly excited about Roland Mouret for Gap, only to be severely disappointed when the dresses turned out to be shapeless cotton sacks? That collection in particular really surprised me. It was so far removed from the curve-hugging frocks that the designer was known for that I don't really understand the point of it in the first place. At least Matthew Williamson has scaled things back at Debenhams. After years of bashing out embroidered combats and swirly babydoll dresses for the masses, he's now streamlined the 'Butterfly' range down to a capsule collection of stuff that actually resembles his main collection (or at least isn't shiny and covered in glitter); swimwear, kaftans, flip-flops and handbags.
So who should McQueen look to for inspiration? Well, Roberto Cavalli, love him or hate him, delivered a very Cavalli-esque collection when he teamed up with H&M. It's all about picking things that evoke the spirit of the designer. The Topshop designer ranges are almost always intrinsically linked to the main collections, which is also a good tack. Think of Christopher Kane. When he showed neon bodycon at London Fashion Week, he sold neon bodycon at Topshop. Ditto his next range - gritty leather and skater skirts on the catwalk...guess what Topshop got as well?
In short, McQueen has a tough job ahead of him. The line would undoubtedly sell even if he just put white t-shirts and leggings on the rails and flogged them for $40 a shot, but he has a rep to think of! He has a great chance to do something memorable and eclipse all the designers who went before him, and I think he's one of the people who could do it.
That said, we won't be able to get it over here anyway, so perhaps I'm secretly hoping it'll be rubbish?! Fingers crossed for Galliano for H&M next year, kiddos!