As just about ever red-blooded American consumer knows by now, the Missoni for Target launch was an epic success -- if you define success by cleaned-out retail shelves and a Web site crash. (For the record, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the site was still down.)
Target has partnered with designers in the past with varying levels of success, but nothing quite like this. What was different about the Missoni for Target launch?
For starters, the sheer volume and range of Missoni for Target is something to behold: The 400-piece collection includes clothing (for men, women, children, and infants), home design, office supplies, shoes, accessories, furniture, and even bikes -- one could potentially Missonify their entire world in a single shopping trip. And who wouldn't want to do that?
The Lookbook -- which was previewed months before the launch -- features every single item in the collection, allowing future Missoni for Target owners to visualize exactly what they will buy and where it will look/go. Essentially, the Lookbook was the equivalent of a catalog, with items temporarily out of stock.
The designs are more Missoni than they are Target, showcasing the Italian designer's signature zigzag lines. While the promotional materials do -- of course -- feature the trademark Target bullseye, the color scheme is black and white, not red and white, which signals a more serious engagement with high style. Case in point, Manhattanites are not usually among Target's (ahem) target audience -- there are only two stores in New York City, one in Brooklyn and the other in central Harlem -- but the Harlem store was one of the first to sell out. (Former Real Housewives of New York star and current Skinnygirl empress Bethanney Frankel was among the shoppers.)
Speaking of Racked, Missoni for Target took full advantage of the myriad bloggers eager to compete for audiences with tidbits of the launch. The campaign was one of dangled carrots and rolling embargoes: Racked.com blogged about the press preview in May, which gave editors and reporters all the secrets of the collection as long as they promised not to tell.
The ad campaign -- which, naturally, was the subject of a few 'leaked' images -- featured the stunning Margherita Missoni herself, looked like a series of production stills from a 1960's avant garde film, and ran in Vogue in August. Vogue!
And of course, there was Marina, literally the biggest blogger in the world: Marina is a 25-foot doll who physically attended fashion week events along with blogging as Missoni for Target's hired brand ambassador. Her blog, titled All the Way Up Here, takes perhaps just a page from the book of pint-sized uber-fashionista Tavi Gevinson -- with its Instamatic-esque photography and ethereal musings, it aims squarely for a downtown crowd (or downtown crowd hopefuls).
It was an awful lot of work, this Missoni for Target launch. But the five-pronged-and-then-some strategy seemed to have worked exactly as planned. And of course, we don't believe for a minute that Target in no way anticipated the collection would be sold out shortly after the launch. We just hope they restock as promised before any of the evil eBay resellers turn any kind of profit.
Something tells us the trucks are already on their way to the store.