By  on April 18, 2007

There appeared to be little fevered frenzy over the launch of Gap Design Edition on Tuesday, but company executives were nonetheless pleased with consumer reaction to the collection, which is being sold in 100 stores nationwide.

"We've had a pretty amazing customer response to the collection," said a Gap spokeswoman, referring to the limited edition takes on Gap's iconic crisp white shirts by Doo-Ri Chung, Thakoon Panichgul and Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy. "Several of our stores have pretty much been a mob scene today, including [in Manhattan] 18th Street and Fifth Avenue, 42nd Street and Broadway and Fifth Avenue and 54th Street. Women were peeling the shirts off the mannequins, trying to get the last sizes, which is pretty exciting for us. I heard customers were heading to stores further uptown to try to get away from the crowds."

Design Edition is available in a majority of Gap's Manhattan units.

The men's area of the Gap unit on the corner of 59th Street and Lexington Avenue was quiet and women's, on the second floor, was only slightly busier. Several racks of all-white Design Edition merchandise were featured at the top of the landing flanked by large black-and-white images of the designers with models. A trio of sales associates hovered around the display, waiting for customers.

"I think it's nice when a designer takes risks," said Sarah Ecton, an administrative assistant, who left empty-handed. "Some of the pieces I liked, but some I felt were very constructed for streetwear. I don't know about some of the necklines. Today, I was just looking."

Vivienne Nakash, who reports on fashion trends at retail for a hedge fund, was taking photos of Design Edition displays in the windows. The hedge fund wants to keep Gap's latest developments on its radar, she said. Despite being on the job, Nakash bought the petal-skirt dress and tie shirt by Thakoon and the bow-pocket dress by Rodarte. "Everything looks kind of similar, so how much are you going to buy?" she said. "I never buy anything at the Gap. I go to H&M. It's a lot more fashion-forward. I don't know how much of me was drawn to Gap by the designers. A lot of people thought the designers weren't well-known enough."

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