Forget for a second, if you can, the forthcoming Jason Wu for Target collection because Target has three other designer collections in the pipeline launching a lot sooner. Hitting its website and stores on October 30 are hats from milliner Albertus Swanepoel, jewelry from designer Dana Kellin, and an intimates collection from Josie Natori. The partnership with Natori marks Target's first intimates collaboration and it will be a two-part collection with the second part hitting in early 2012, just in time for Valentine's Day. I attended a preview event yesterday and had a chance to chat with all three designers.
Albertus Swanepoel Hats
South African-born Swanepoel said he didn't have one particular theme in mind when designing his collection. "If you stick with one story," he told me, "you risk some people not liking it, so I like to mix things up and do a little bit of everything." For his Target collection, the milliner looked to his archives and worked in fedora, cloche, and floppy styles accented with faux fur, felt, prints, and bow details. The 14 pieces in the collection are all priced under $19.99 and come with vibrant contrasting lining. The stand-out piece for me was the aubergine hat with leaf sequins. I told the designer that when I was young, my mother would sew sequins on my tops that looked exactly like the leaf embellishments on his hat; turns out, the ones used on the hat were inspired by vintage sequins and could very well be the same ones my mother used! As to how this particular Target collaboration came about, "Anna Wintour whispered in Target's ear," says Swanepoel.
Dana Kellin Jewelry
Next, I stopped to chat with Kellin whose collection was set up on tree branches and tree trunks. We both agreed that if we celebrated Christmas, this is what we'd want our Christmas tree to look like. As for the collection of earrings and necklaces, they were inspired by her signature technique of wrapping semiprecious stones in metal wire, but to keep prices in the $9.99 to $49.99, her Target range is machine-made, unlike her high end jewelry. When I asked Kellin what her favorite piece in the collection is, she pointed to a pair of deep blue earrings which she said were inspired by a recent Haider Ackermann collection.
Josie Natori Intimates
My last stop was a chat with Natori and before we got down to business I had to complement her on her sky-high black booties. We both lamented that they weren't Target, but she revealed that she's passionate about handbags and shoes and is slowly working them into her namesake brand. As for her intimates collection for Target, the designer told me that "nothing is a duplicate in this collection; with these prices I'm hoping women will see the collection and want one of each!" Natori was clearly passionate about her affordable range ($9.99-$34.99) and noted that it stays true to her signature East-meets-West sensibility and that everything is based on her archives.