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NEW YORK — Target celebrated the fifth anniversary of its Go International program by reissuing 34 dress designs by 17 designers — a greatest hits collection that was unveiled in stores on Sunday.

A party Thursday night at the hip Ace Hotel marked the occasion. Target commandeered the lobby, which was decorated with designer logos shaped like traffic signs. Vintage luggage was covered with logos and arranged in towers and tied together with twine like informal sculptures.

This story first appeared in the March 15, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Entertainment included the Bad News step team, which performed wearing Luella Bartley for Target tartan strapless bubble dresses, DJ Mia Moretti and electric violinist Caitlin Moe. Santigold tore up the stage and there was a surprise guest — singer-drummer and Prince buddy Sheila E.

Some guests took the opportunity to shop for Go dresses they missed the first time around at the adjacent Opening Ceremony, which was turned into a temporary Target boutique with all the featured dresses. The store’s co-owner, Humberto Leon, said that turning the space over to Target was only fitting since Proenza Schouler for Go International four years ago was introduced in a pop-up shop at Opening Ceremony on Howard Street, here.

“Target has been an innovator,” said Gaby Basora, whose Tucker for Target collection bowed in September. Tracy Feith said his 2009 partnership with Target provided much-needed exposure for the small brand. “It brought people who may not have known about my work,” he said. Feith’s business has had its ups and downs. The designer once operated six stores, but has none today. However, he said he’s planning to unveil a pop-up shop in Chinatown in June.

Anna Sui was amassing an armload of dresses as she scoured the racks. “I have a lot of nieces,” explained the designer, who in 2009 designed a collection for Target’s Designer Collaboration, a series that taps established talents. Working with Target was “like having a fairy godmother,” she said. “If you wanted something, they would source it for you. I would work with them [again] in a second.”

Looking chic with a slicked-back hairdo and wearing a leopard print dress, black tuxedo jacket and black bow tie, Chloë Sevigny said she came to the party as a fan of many of the Go designers. Asked whether she’d consider working with Target, Sevigny demurred, saying, “At this time, I’m very happy working with Opening Ceremony.” The actress has completed three seasons with the specialty store.

Go designers Richard Chai and Thakoon Panichgul stopped by the Ace along with other Target followers such as Lake Bell, Liv Tyler, Michelle Trachtenberg, Olivia Munn, Aziz Ansari and chef Marcus Samuelsson.

Trish Adams, Target’s senior vice president of merchandising, suggested the Go format may not stay the same. “How Go International evolves has yet to be determined,” she said. “When Go launched in 2006, the programs lasted three months. Now it’s 30 to 45 days. The Internet and social media have changed the dynamics of retail. We’ll keep everybody guessing.”

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