Monday, January 7, 2008

Loeffler Randall for Target - Cheap and Moderately Chic

Loeffler Randall, the New York shoe and accessories line designed by Jessie Randall since 2004, has picked up a lot of editorial coverage lately, and buyers across the country have taken note. Ms. Randall's shoe collection can now be found everywhere from tiny shoe boutiques, like Lamb's Ear in Fremont, to extreme luxury landmarks, like Bergdorf Goodman in New York. The company recently expanded to include a clothing collection, now carried at Nordstrom, Les Amis, and Tulip in Seattle. With all the buzz, it was only natural that a collaboration with target was next.

Already in stores, the collection consists of two styles of flats, two styles of handbags, and three styles of clutches, all offered in a variety of fabrics or faux leathers. The shoes are all $29.99, while the clutches are all under $25 and the handbags under $50. For those prices, are they any good? A recent trip to my local Target revealed that the shoes were surprisingly chic for the money. The metallic rose cinched flats looked and felt on par with several shoes that cost twice as much. The rosette ballet flats avoided kitsch by using less conventional colors. All in all, these are all perfectly serviceable pieces of footwear for a very agreeable $30.

The bags, on the other, feel exactly as they should for their price. While their woven design is attractive enough, clearly a riff on Bottega Veneta's increasingly popular Intrecciato weaving, the material used is what one would expect at these under $50 price points. The satchel and large tote have handsome proportions, but the brown patent looks, feels, and, worst of all sounds cheap. The vinyl squeal elicited by the patent is painful to hear. The faux leather versions of these bags are much less offensive, but they still lack the feel of genuine leather. For the money, fabrics almost always looks better than faux leathers at the bottom end of the price spectrum. Instead, these bags come off as trying too hard to be something they're not, too hampered down by price constraints that result in excessively cheap materials. something that previous Target designer collections have also suffered from, most notably those from Rafe Totengco and Devi Kroell.


Cameron Newland said...

I love the designer goods at Target - Erin Fetherston's line is nearly flawless.

It's almost like Target is preemptively attacking disruptive retailers like H&M...real designer goods, real cheap. And the stuff that's not from a fashion house at Target is usually spot-on fashion, as in-tune and accessible as Brass Plum is at Nordstrom.

My thinking is that that's H&M's only real competition other than Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe: Target and Brass Plum.

Cameron Newland said...

P.S. If Rag and Bone did a line for Target I'd go f***ing nuts. They might think about bringing designer goods to us men, too.