Monday, January 12, 2015

Lilly Pulitzer for Target: First Cultural Meltdown of 2015?

I'm taking a timeout from our regularly scheduled Monday chinoiserie posts to talk about the bomb that went off on the internet last week: Lilly Pulitzer is Target's next designer collab.

Are you shocked?  Well you're apparently in the minority if you are still breathing calmly right now.

You would have thought Target killed 500 bulls-eyed rat terriers based on the reaction from many social media
mavens as they got to instagram, twitter, and whatever else younger and cooler people are using these days.  The messages are snark worthy enough so I thought I would post some of my faves:

Not happy about Lilly being in target! If you weren't classy enough to have it before, you sure as hell aren't classy enough now. --- Kylie Andrews (@andrews_kylie) January 7, 2015
I don't want basics to start wearing Lilly ----Sydney Moser @sydney_moser 
Lilly and Jackie are crying tonight in heaven at the thought of #LillyForTarget. It was never suppose to be this way ---Ashley Lamb @ashleylamb1222
all quotes via 

Fendi eyewear made by Marchon,
as found at America's Best via
Fendi eyewear from the 2014 F/W runway.
See the difference?
So here's where I come in: what's the big deal? This isn't the first Target designer collab with a reputable brand.  Are Phillip Lim or Prabal Gurung too lowly for Lilly to follow behind?  I understand that this is a new style of collab for Target who in past has used more street style friendly designers for their capsule collections, but the idea of a temporary pair up between respected designers and Target has become a normal idea in our culture.  We know what to expect with this formula: the fabric is going to be thin, the quality is going to be poor, the clothes are going to run surprisingly small.  But for a fraction of the price, you can have a little piece of something inspired by your favorite designer.  And that's really all these capsule collections really are -- no one is under the misconception that you are getting a real Phillip Lim or Moschino design at Target.  You know its not the same.  
Perfect example: it's like buying those Fendi glasses at America's Best where all of their designs from several years ago when Marchon was making their stuff went to die, but now they have those commercials on TV: Fendi glasses and two pair for $69!!  It wasn't ever  really Fendi.  You are buying several season old Marchon-made glasses with a Fendi logo smacked on it that some desk-slave signed off on with the Fendi company stationary.  That is how fashion works if you aren't buying off the runway.  You are buying a look made by a lesser company inspired by the original designer's runway design and then made for the masses and delivered to a store near you.

Maybe I'm more interested in this ridiculously silly discussion because I don't understand the Lilly loyalist; never really have.  I am a decidedly preppy dresser; Kate Middleton is one of my fashion icons, even down to her terribly dowdy sailor suits.  But I can't get around dressing like a toddler as an adult.  I often walk by Lilly in Belk and see a few things I like, but I can't stomach the pink and green frog prints on my way to get there because I feel like I'm pretending.  And maybe because Lilly has such a strong image of what her girl is: you either are a Lilly girl or you aren't -- that's why this collab with Target is getting so much flack.  If you really are a Lilly girl deep down, there's no posing.  You are either all in for shift dresses in a preschool color palate, or you are out.  Now by including a discounted clothing line that would theoretically have more mass appeal, there is threat that the Lilly girl may be accepting more members with a wider range of tastes.  And if you are in the Lilly Sorority, aren't you supposed to be able to interview those girls first before you decide to offer them the opportunity to pledge?

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