It has not been a good season for two of retail's leading purveyors of otherwise wildly successful designer collaborations. First, H&M's Maison Martin Margiela collection flew way over the heads of the fast fashion chain's typically receptive customers, and now Target's heavily publicized team-up with luxury bastion Neiman Marcus has been deemed a disaster. Weeks after both stores' executives assumed that the multi-designer collection would have long since sold out, it remains available in stores and online marked way, way down. According to Time.com's detailed assessment, the collection of "affordable" Holiday gifts created by designers who sell to Neiman's was on the whole too expensive for Target's customers, and too cheap for the Neiman Marcus shopper. Poor reviews from influential bloggers didn't help either. Though the various items reportedly sold somewhat better at Neiman's stores, there are only 42 of those versus over 1,700 Target locations. Other complaints included quality issues, and the fact that most of the fashion designers who participated did not actually make clothes. The few who did, did not find success, as Target's customers were not inspired, for example, by Thom Browne's schoolboy jackets for men and women at $149.99.
There's good news, though, if you did want that jacket. You can now get it at Target.com (and reportedly at stores as well) for a mere $44.99, along with the rest of the collection also marked down by 70% -leaving much of it under $20. Target prices at last! Neiman's has also marked down the collection on its website (pictured below), but only by 50%.
When the surprising collaboration was announced earlier last year, both stores admitted that it was an offbeat idea, but they wanted to see what would happen if they teamed up.
Well, now they know, so don't expect to see this kind of thing happen again too soon. Of course, this isn't the end of designer collaborations by a long shot. Target has hot designer Prabal Gurung on deck for an 80-piece collection launching on February, with likely hopes that reverting to its tried and true formula of a collaboration with an exclusive up-and-comer will erase the recent memory of the Holiday season stumble. H&M, still clearing out of esoteric Margiela line, has already said it will take a brief break from it's "guest designer" series, so don't expect a seasonal follow up to last Spring's successful Marni line, but you can bet they are working on something for next Fall with more commercial potential. Neiman Marcus, for it's part has hopefully learned that there's not much need to do popularly collaboration lines when they have stores stocked full of designers' original collections. Now they can return to sitting back and letting Target and H&M publicize the young designers whose pricey main labels they can sell at full price.
Epic Retail Fail: Where Did the Target + Neiman Marcus Collection Go Wrong? By Martha C. White (Time.com via The Cut)
Maison Martin Margiela with H&M Is Now On Sale Big Time