Target said Monday it has a new design partner for a women’s spring fashion line — the hot London duo known as Peter Pilotto.
The news comes just days after a few pieces from the retailer’s 3.1 Phillip Lim fall line were inadvertently displayed in a handful of stores nationwide, causing a furor among fashion frugalistas. When the Lim line officially launched Sunday, the women’s and men’s purses and accessories quickly sold out online, and there were sporadic reports nationwide of patrons stuffing their shopping carts with the designer’s coveted handbags.
Time will tell whether the Peter Pilotto collaboration, which is slated to launch Feb. 9, will cause the same level of buzz.
Dick Seesel, a consultant who owns the Mequon, Wis., consulting firm Retailing in Focus, said, “I think [Target’s] strategy overall is a smart one because it gives them the fashion cachet that a competitor like Wal-Mart can’t match.”
Peter Pilotto is a collaboration between two designers, Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, who became chums at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Belgium. Together, Target says, they’ve “created one of London’s most-recognized and coveted fashion brands.”
Target’s Peter Pilotto womenswear line will feature nearly 70 items ranging from $14.99 to $79.99 for apparel and swimwear, and $16.99 to $39.99 for accessories. “Standout” pieces include dresses, shirts and swimwear that can be mixed and matched.
The label is known for its colorful and complex prints, sculptural shapes and draping, typically in cool blues and greens and warm red and orange tones. Celeb fans include Kerry Washington, Kristen Stewart, Miranda Kerr, Kate Bosworth, Sienna Miller and Emma Watson.
“Peter and Christopher have a rare talent for capturing the essence and energy of London in a way that’s completely universal in its appeal,” said Trish Adams, Target’s senior vice president of apparel and accessories. The collection will help Target customers “brighten their look at truly remarkable prices this spring,” she added.
In addition, Target also said Monday that a select number of the Peter Pilotto pieces will be available on Net-A-Porter.com, a luxury online website.
Peter Pilotto said in a statement, “By working with Target, we’re able to broaden our reach and bring our design aesthetic to an entirely new audience.” Co-designer De Vos added, “This is a pivotal moment for our brand. Our collection for Target embodies the elegance and spirit of our own line, but makes it accessible to everyone.”
The Target news was announced at the Peter Pilotto spring/summer runway show at London Fashion Week.
Meanwhile, pieces from the retailer’s Phillip Lim line for men and women appeared to have sold out on the target.com website. Many of the Lim clothing items appeared to still be available, however.
About 150 shoppers waited in line for the Target store in chic West Hollywood to open Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Times. Purses, modeled after Lim’s popular Pashli line, were the quickest item to go at the store. “As soon as the OK was given, fashionistas by the fistful swarmed toward the bags, creating a 30-second scramble of shouting and flailing arms before the crowd picked the rack clean,” the Times reported.
Locally, a shopper noticed less than a dozen patrons buying Lim purses at the downtown Minneapolis store.
Seesel, the retail consultant, said the fashion buzz is all well and good until there’s a gaffe — as when Target’s collaboration with the Italian designer Missoni felled its website. “Not all of them are home runs,” he said. “The down side is, as Target learned with Missoni, how do you forecast more accurately how these things will sell so they don’t end up irritating customers who can’t buy the items?”
A Target spokeswoman said it doesn’t break out sales figures for design collaborations, or terms of the agreements with designers.