Have high-low collaborations jumped the shark? | Bleader

Have high-low collaborations jumped the shark?

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I popped into Target this weekend to pick up Drano and cotton balls and took the opportunity to check out the company's latest high-low collaboration, this one from Alexander McQueen, the onetime enfant terrible of the designer scene. (I think this famous image by David LaChapelle, featuring the late Isabella Blow, the noted fashion eccentric and McQueen's good pal, says it all.) I'm sure the collection was picked-over--it debuted at the beginning of the month--but color me less than impressed with mesh tops and gray denim short shorts. I did like a tee printed with Warhol-like black-and-white headshots, as well as the shape of  a harness top, although I couldn't help thinking how the cheap rayon fabric in the latter would droop unappealingly after a few washes.

It seems that there's less excitement about these masstige collections these days, perhaps because there are so many of them. I don't sense the same high-pitched expectation associated with collaborations of days past, such as Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney for H&M. And it's not just Chicago: fashion watchers in other parts of the country have noticed the same lack of enthusiasm. Ironically, maybe this is in part due to the economy--people want to be sure their clothes are going to last more than a couple cycles in the washing machine, even if something cost just 30 bucks. McQueen himself touched on this issue while talking to the New York Times about his recent runway show during Paris Fashion Week: “The turnover of fashion is just so quick and so throwaway, and I think that is a big part of the problem. There is no longevity.” He was talking about the fashion industry's endless recycling, but he might as well have been discussing consumers' concerns.

I am actually more impressed these days with Target's in-house brands, especially Merona and Mossimo. On the same trip I admired a tiered cotton skirt (which I bought) and a trench with a vintagey print and a cheerful orange lining. A couple months ago I found a great cream textured jacket--which to my great satisfaction and amusement sparked a compliment from a saleswoman at Max Mara, the intimidatingly chic Michigan Avenue boutique.

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