By  on June 12, 2008

NEW YORK — Isaac Mizrahi will soon be history at Target, and the Minneapolis-based retailer is moving on.

Target is allowing its Go International label, which has featured guest designers such as Proenza Schouler, Luella Bartley, Behnaz Sarafpour and Rogan, to stand on its own. The retailer launched a Go International private label collection in April through mid-May. The success of the simple tank tunic dresses, one-shoulder jersey dresses and ruffle-front shirts has convinced executives to deploy the Go International private label during periods when one guest designer has cycled out of the store and the next one hasn't launched.

"We took our Go International strategy to the next level by introducing a private label collection in between designer collections," a Target Corp. spokeswoman said. "It's a new elevated component of our strategy. We're calling it Go International branded. We feel it provides our guests with newness. We'll continue to do a Go International [private] line of some sort in a similar fashion. Whether it's the private label or a guest designer, the comprehensive goal of the offerings is to bring fast fashion to our guests."

Mizrahi's contract is expiring at the end of this year as he becomes creative director for all categories of the better-priced women's Liz Claiborne brand. And Target has said its focus will be on Go International, which represents sales "north of $100 million," said Robert Buchanan, a consultant for Goldman Sachs' Vantage Marketplace subsidiary.

Target is continuing to develop accessories and footwear, following a model similar to Go International. Anya Hindmarch will launch a 14-item handbag collection and Sigerson Morrison will unveil 19 shoe styles in select Target locations from Oct. 12 through Dec. 26. During that period, the collections will be sold on target.com, where they will have their own unique boutiques. Several styles in each collection will be exclusive to the Web site.

"We'll be advertising both [collections]," the spokeswoman said. "They will have comprehensive print campaigns. This has been a very successful strategy" for the chain.

"The opportunity and challenges of designing a collection at a lower price point really appealed to me," said Hindmarch, whose Bespoke Ebury crocodile handbag is $9,950. Her Target products are priced from $19.99 for a clutch to $49.99 for a tote bag with metallic trim."Target provided access to its production methods, giving me the opportunity to offer an affordable collection to a broader audience," Hindmarch said. "I was able to focus solely on design rather than worrying about the entire process. With Target's huge number of stores and marketing reach, my brand will be exposed to a wide audience and attract a customer who couldn't afford to buy my mainline collection."

Sigerson Morrison's heels, flats and booties at Target will be priced at $29.99 and $39.99, compared with its spring-summer footwear, which sells for $330 to $525.

"We saw [the project] as a challenge to execute our ideas at a high-street price while maintaining the essential elements of a Sigerson Morrison shoe," Kari Sigerson said.
"The word we kept using as we drew up the ideas was 'Shazam!'....We wanted this to be a really luscious and appealing collection," said Miranda Morrison. "This is holiday, so the shoes all have sizzling color and flashes of shine and glitz...chic. We're hoping they appeal to people who already know the brand and people who just fall for the shoes."

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