Designer Collaboration Nadir: Tara Subkoff for Bebe
February 19, 2008
What happens when you throw a party and nobody cares?
Here is some evidence that the once exciting game of limited designer collaboration collections may have run its course. Former Imitation of Christ designer Tara Subkoff's agreement with chain store Bebe was announced last year, and quietly slipped into stores this month to the clamor of...anybody? Are we, particularly here in New York City, totally fatigued with the special collections that seem to be coming to a store near you at breakneck speed?
Before you start jumping on us for slamming Bebe, we will admit that we could be mistaken, but we pass more than one of their stores regularly, and the Tara Subkoff racks remain full. This line has been unencumbered with buzz or any media excitement. Is this the beginning of the end for this once highly effective form of marketing, or is it simply a case of the wrong brand aimed at the wrong market with the wrong designer?
It's been a while since Subkoff caused a stir with her mix of altered "vintage" garments at Imitation of Christ, and she never achieved the kind of fame that would make her name marketable to a mass customer base. Now separated from her label, Subkoff is also coming off a well reported collaboration with Easy Spirt which raised that company's prices to a much higher level, but, apparently, wasn't successful enough to continue. We certainly don't blame Subkoff for taking the opportunity to keep busy while she presumably sets up another company for herself, but there isn't much about the capsule collection she created for Bebe that looks any more expensive or fashionable than anything else in the store. The items are cute with a retro-ish look, but hardly the second coming of Imitation of Christ. As a plus, a portion of proceeds will be donated to Millennium Promise, a charity dedicated to ending extreme poverty, though we didn't see much information about that in the store. Perhaps poverty is too much of a downer for a store full of sexy separates.