Lilly Pulitzer at Target: Good Buys, Bad Fashion

Washington Post critic says brand is about clothes, not fashion
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2015 1:14 PM CDT
Updated Apr 21, 2015 1:18 PM CDT
Lilly Pulitzer at Target: Good Buys, Bad Fashion
Model Camila Alves, from left, and actresses Kate Bosworth, Bella Thorne and Ellie Kemper attend the Lilly Pulitzer for Target launch event at the Bryant Park Grill on April 15 in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Target paired with fashion line Lilly Pulitzer over the weekend to offer a limited collection, and it was a smash success from a retail point of view. Online merchandise sold out within hours, reports AP, while most shoppers at physical stores ended up out of luck. Those in the latter camp shouldn't feel too bad about it, writes fashion critic Robin Givhan at the Washington Post. Lilly Pulitzer is a mass marketer of clothes, not fashion, she writes. And "the clothes are, upon close inspection, not so terribly attractive." In fact, "they are rather unattractive," writes Givhan. "And that is part of their charm. They are not meant to be stylish—that’s so nouveau. The clothes are clubby. Country clubby. One-percent-ish."

Remember that the company itself was created by a bored Palm Beach socialite—she died in 2013—and its summer dresses reflect that. "The classic Lilly Pulitzer dress comes in shrill shades of yellow and pink that are vaguely infantilizing. They are clothes that can be shrunk down and worn by 7-year-old girls without changing a single design element—if there were actual design elements to change. But there are not." Those disappointed Target shoppers may be cursing their luck at missing out on bargain prices for what they think is high fashion. But really, they just got swept up in a this-many-people-can't-be-wrong phenomenon. Target again proved it's "a retailing dynamo," writes Givhan. "But what it was selling this time had nothing to do with fashion." Click for her full column. (More fashion stories.)

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