Target interim chief executive officer John Mulligan vowed on Wednesday that the retailer would begin moving faster in making changes to turn around its operations. But on Thursday, the retailer indicated it was sticking with at least one strategy it helped pioneer but which now is widespread: designer collaborations. Target said it would launch an Altuzarra capsule collection by designer Joseph Altuzarra.
But analysts said that, while no reflection on Altuzarra, designer collaborations are far from likely to fix what is truly ailing the discounter.
“Target lost its way in the U.S. They’ll regain their way, but it won’t be a function of snazzy designers,” said Jeff Edelman, director of retail and consumer advisory services at RSM McGladrey Inc.
According to Edelman, Target still has a strong franchise, but it needs to get shoppers back into the stores buying consumables. “Good fashion at reasonable prices” helps, but that’s not the key reason why consumers go to Target, he said.
It has long been questioned how much business the designer collaborations at Target have truly generated. For every hit like Missoni, there would be one that was less-than-stellar. Designers generally are keen because it provides a huge marketing bump for their brands, while for Target it helped reinforce its image as hip and cool.
“The allure with designer names is that it gives Target a marketing handle,” Edelman said. But he added that even that “cool” factor marketing ploy of “Tarjay” used from the late Eighties and into the Aughts might be too old to use in the current, more competitive retail landscape.
Walter Loeb of Loeb Associates said, “Designers don’t get customers into the stores at Target. Michael Graves Home Collection was popular, as was Isaac Mizrahi for fashion, but what Target is strong in is midtier fashion brands, such as Mossimo, Liz Lange Maternity and C9 by Champion. The high-end fashion names are just frosting on the cake. It’s real business is in the consumables category.”
Both the Michael Graves line beginning in 1997 and Isaac Mizrahi in 2002 were products of soft goods marketing concepts under former chairman and ceo Bob Ulrich. While those lines were popular at Target, industry sources believed the collections, financially, just hit the “break-even” mark. Both lines ended during the tenure of chairman and ceo Gregg Steinhafel, who was ousted earlier this month as a result of the retailer’s missteps.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews