CHICAGO--Mass market retailers Venture, Target and Montgomery Ward each take a very different approach to their dress business, as evidenced by recent visits to those stores in the western suburbs here. At Target and Ward's, dresses are merchandised alongside tops and bottoms in the sportswear department and selections are limited. Ward's had a separate area, although it wasn't labeled as a dress department. Target was clearly going after a junior customer, while Ward's had good offerings for an older customer. Venture was somewhere in between.
TARGET At Target's store on Cermak Road in Broadview, selection was small but on-the-nose fashion-wise, hitting on trends such as apron dresses, baby-dolls and fit-and-flares. The styles were appropriate for the young or young-at-heart, but there was nothing suitable for a more mature customer. Most dresses were from Target's Sostanza private label brand. Denim got a lot of play, such as in a short apron dress, which comes with a denim skirt or contrasting cotton floral skirt, at $16.99, and in longer, more conservative styles, available with an Empire waist or straight, button-through silhouette, at $29.99. A few fixtures were devoted to rayon print baby-doll dresses ranging from $16.99 to $19.99--although it wasn't clear how the cheaper styles differed from the more expensive other than in the actual print. Another couple of four-way fixtures were devoted to polyester and cotton knit fit-and-flare dresses at $24.99 in a variety of prints and colors. The only branded dresses were a rayon print skort dress by All Dressed Up at $14.99 and a gaudy-looking pink and turquoise tie-dye cotton sundress by Nexxit at $9.99. The merchandise was clearly presented, but displays were minimal--a couple of the fixtures had photos of models wearing dresses similar to those on display.
VENTURE At Venture, located on 22nd Street in Oakbrook, dresses were also mixed among the sportswear offerings, and they were easy to miss because the department was large and crowded. A back wall rack had long floral print rayon jumpers by a variety of manufacturers on sale for $17.88, reduced from $27.99-$29.99. There were also various rayon skort slipdresses by Anegada's Collection at $19.99 and patchwork rayon jumpers by Jessica Stevens at $21.99. Fashion looks were limited to juniors, with denim apron dresses with plaid skirts the strongest. One over-embellished style, sold with a matching hair "scrungie" made from scraps of plaid by True Blue was $24.99. A simpler style by Jessica Stevens, a Venture private label, was $21.99, and a long, striped cotton and acrylic knit column dress by California Gold Rush at $24.99 also caught the eye. Although the department was unpleasantly crowded, Venture did attempt to show customers how to get the looks right--showing appropriate accessories alongside the dresses. For example, a long necklace was looped on a hanger with a vintage-style rayon dress; apron dresses and jumpers were paired with appropriate tops.MONTGOMERY WARD The largest selection of dresses among the three stops was at the Montgomery Ward unit in the Yorktown Shopping Center in Lombard, which had a large department on the edge of its juniors section. It also carried dresses in its petites and large-size areas. Ward's catered to both a career and casual customer, although its dress styles were the least updated of the three stores visited. Career looks included a short-sleeve, rayon, slightly fitted dress with cream embroidery trim around the neckline by All That Jazz at $45.99, and a gray pinstripe rayon and polyester jumper sold with a white rayon and acetate ruffle blouse at $62.95 by Xtrmz. Other resources included Dawn Jay Fashions and Irresistible. Rayon floral dresses were on a rounder marked "Special Purchase" at $29.99 for short styles and $39.99 for longer styles. Another rounder had a broad mix of dresses, from plain fit-and-flares to older-looking large floral print numbers, on clearance at 20 percent off. More fashionable looks included a variety of short fit-and-flare cotton knit dresses in prints and plaids by Energie, reduced from $17.99 to $14.99. A sunflower print rayon baby-doll dress by Studio A was $19.99, and a long floral rayon slipdress, sold with a cream cotton T-shirt by All That Jazz, was $42.99. A one-piece vest dress with a broomstick skirt by All That Jazz was $54.99. Ward's had no displays in the department, and the lighting level throughout the store seemed uncomfortably dim. It was also the only store of the three visited not to have a sales associate posted close to the fitting rooms.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)