The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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The art of collaboration: Past, present and future

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An embossed dress from the Versace for H&M; line that debuted in 2011.Photo credit: Kelsey Reynolds

In a mere four days Target will debut their latest design collaboration, Peter Pilotto for Target. Over the years Target has nailed down partnerships with numerous designers, including the classic Missoni and FLOTUS favorite Jason Wu. It is not just Target who has gone collaborative, Kate Moss for Topshop will unveil a collection this April and it was recently announced that beloved actress Zooey Deschanel collaborated with All-American designer Tommy Hilfiger for a capsule collection.

Collaborations that used to debut once in a full moon are now popping up in every storefront and online shopping portal. As the trend only continues it begs the question, “Is the hype still there and will it continue?”

How It All Began

Collaborations can be traced back to 1983 when Roy Halston debuted the collection, Halston III for J. C. Penney. Halston was unfortunately ahead of his time in the wrong way. Following the J. C. Penney collection, department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman stopped the selling of his higher priced line. Fast-forward almost 20 years and designer Isaac Mizrahi released a capsule collection with Target in 2002. Mizrahi’s collection was wildly successful and ultimately launched the high-low collaboration. It has been 12 years since Mizrahi’s collection and collaborations are now becoming a norm.

Designer Collaborations

Target has become a powerhouse for designer collaborations and Sunday Peter Pilotto makes its debut. Designed by Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos, the brand is known for vibrant colors and high-definition prints. In a recent press release, Pilotto explained the line’s aesthetic.

“Our brand is about print, yes, but it’s also about the emotional feeling you can get from color and color combinations,” he said.

Most items in the 70-piece collection will retail for under $60 with a price point of $14.99 to $79.99.

Target’s previous collaboration was with Philip Lim and came under a bit of scrutiny. The pieces for Target were almost identical to his high-end designs and posed the question, why shell out the big bucks for a coveted designer piece when a low-end version may be made later? The flip side is that many view collaborations as a blessing to score their favorite designers at prices they can afford. A happy medium may be found in the Peter Pilotto collaboration. Working with Target allowed Pilotto and De Vos the flexibility to expand their designs; designing for a mass retailer allowed them to create swimwear pieces, sunglasses and even towels.

H&M; is another retailer known for scoring infamous designers to collaborate on lines. This fall, Isabel Marant released a collection for the store and back in 2004 legendary Karl Lagerfeld designed a collection. London based retailer Topshop also collaborates with designers but more recently has started collaborating with celebrities.

Celebrity Collaborations

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The Instagram account for the SJP Collection launching Feb. 28.Photo credit: Kelsey Reynolds

The public has long been fascinated with what its favorite stars are wearing and it seems retailers are tapping into this craze. In spring 2014 Topshop is releasing the celebrity line, Kate Moss for Topshop. Moss did a stint between 2007-2010 for Topshop and is back this April with a 40-piece collection of womenswear, accessories and footwear.

The celebrity hype doesn’t end with Topshop. Mega retailer, Nordstrom is releasing a collection with Sarah Jessica Parker this month. Launching on Feb. 28 is the “SJP Collection” featuring over 25 Italian-crafted shoes, handbags and a rumored trench coat. Parker is notorious for her role as shoe-lover Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City” and pays tribute to that in her new line. The price point for the shoes is mid-range at, $195-$500. She is not a designer releasing a couture line, which would mean a higher price, or a designer releasing a collaboration for mass retail, which would mean a lower price, she is creating a collection to appeal for the everyday woman. Parker will be making appearances at select Nordstrom stores to promote the line, including Dallas’ very own NorthPark Center March 9.

The Future

Will collaborations continue to dominate the retail industry or eventually fade out? David Wolfe, creative director of trend forecasting agency The Doneger Group, told Forbes in January 2013 that collaborations are, “in danger of reaching a saturation point” he explained. “There are simply too many to generate the trill that initially propelled customers into the store for these limited collection. The best collaborations were first.”

Perhaps that is why retailers have started moving from designer collaborations to celebrity collaborations and even blogger collaborations.

SMU Meadows senior Lee Lynch believes in the longevity of designer collaborations but not celebrity collaborations.

“Though there are celebrities who have great taste and design talent, such as Victoria Beckham, many celebrity collaborations fall short because the collections lack the authenticity of a new design. The ability to choose your own wardrobe is not synonymous with the ability to design new pieces that command the attention of high fashion. In my opinion, celebrity collaboration takes the magic of good design and turns it into a consumerist and transparent fashion.”

Lynch has a classic style that includes numerous investment pieces. She values the creative process of designers and their timeless creations versus celebrities’ trend pieces.

Over 30 years past their debut, numerous collaborations are on the horizon for 2014. Although there is a change in the type of collaborator the foundation is still there.

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