A short while back, the hip New York City boutique, Opening Ceremony, transformed their retail outlet for a weekend into a Proenza Schouler for Target store. It was a bold move. The avant-garde boutique features high-end designer fashions from around the world, but then again, their downtown cool aura made carrying Proenza Schouler’s line seem like a cool, natural fit. After all, Opening Ceremony had in the past, for a limited period of time, transformed their second floor into a Topshop boutique, thus catering to their more budget-conscious, but equally savvy customers (Topshop, the UK equivalent to H&M was not available anywhere else in the States).
Barneys however, is a whole different ballgame. May 9th to the 11th, Barneys’ Madison Avenue flagship and then the Barneys’ Los Angeles store (from May 16th to the 18th), will carry Target’s eco-friendly Rogan for Target’s Go International line. Barneys will limit purchases to three pieces and the line will only be in stock for five days, after which, shoppers will have to wait for the collection’s debut in Target stores.
Unlike a chic downtown boutique, that can pull off the high-low/exclusive-accessible mix, Barneys, the ultimate representation of luxury, carrying a Target line of clothing will do nothing if not, as Michael Lichtenstein, owner and founder of Group L Consulting, a licensing firm in New York City told WWD, confuse and not satisfy the customers. Lichtenstein continues by saying that "it’s one thing to have Karl Lagerfeld do an H&M line. It’s exciting, it’s news and everyone understands what that means. Even if it’s for a short period, it’s going to be a hit. This doesn’t tell anybody what’s happening and why it’s happening. It’s merely doing something to be different than thinking about what the [Barneys] customer wants. I don’t think a Barneys customer wants a Target product."
This is clearly all about marketing and branding, but will it convert any Barney’s shoppers into Target shoppers or vice versa? Doubtful. It also seems to defeat the purpose of Target’s Go International line. Part of the appeal of the line is that you can buy fashionable clothing at the same place you stock up on toilet paper and pretzels!
Lastly, does anyone remember Kate Moss’s line selling at Barneys? I do – I saw it on the sale rack.