Monday, February 6, 2012

Was I Wooed by Jason Wu?

Jason Wu for Target: cute but no bulls eye

Did Jason Wu win me over? The quick answer: Not really.

For those of you living under a rock (or maybe legitimately on another continent) the latest collaboration between Target and a Famous Designer is with Jason Wu. For the past five years mass market retailer extraordinaire Target has hosted guest designers as part of its GO International promotion. They have ranged from Anna Sui to Jean Paul Gaultier to Missoni. Now we have Jason Wu, the young designer who rose quickly to prominence after designing Michelle Obama's inauguration ball gown.

Jason Wu's look is pretty tame compared to— say— Jean Paul Gautier. He designs riffs on the Pretty American Girl (think less vintage Zooey Deschanel). I wasn't exactly chomping at the bit waiting for the February 5 launch date. Sunday morning came. We really needed milk for breakfast. Target opens at 8 AM. They sell milk as well as designer fashion. Why not check it out?

When I arrived shortly before 9, the line (there had been one) was gone. What was left were a few garments in odd sizes swinging on practically empty racks and some women milling around to catch any returns from the fitting room or castoffs from others' shopping carts. It was civilized behavior if a little sad.

Why were we all hanging around these bits of polyester? Did they really look different from anything currently available at Forever Twenty One? Does wearing Jason Wu for Target automatically make you a cognescenti of fashion? Because Target annointed Jason Wu, does that make him a player?

My problem with Target's concept is that quality of fabric and construction is noticeably absent. A shoddy garment is not any better with a designer label. A prime example of major disappointment in this area is the ongoing collaboration between Target and John Derian, an artist whose skill lies in charming decoupage under glass. The Target version had his decoupage printed on plastic. I have nothing against plastic or printed designs, but why should John Derian be involved in this?

For the same reason I question why Jason Wu— or any designer— wants to be associated with Target or H&M or Walmart. Do they need egos stroked (or coffers filled) that much? As for us, why do we still gravitate en masse to the label— even if it's hidden inside.   


  1. Tout à fait! but I do like the tv commercial with the cute black cat who sews the tucked red blouse...

  2. Sounds charming. Haven't seen it, but using a cat is hitting below the (pleather) belt!