You've probably seen the 400-piece look book. You've probably by now gone on to the website and seen it crashing, reviving and then crashing again. Or you might be non-American like me and not give a crap about Target collaborations. I've only vaguely inched closer to caring in the past year or so as I tend to travel to New York at the exact time when they launch a new Target x ??? collaboration with increasing fanfare. This time round, there was a giant behemoth of a pop-up store on Sixth Avenue, open for three days, which celebrated the launch of its collaboration with Missoni. There was a scary 15 ft puppet type thing trussed up in Missoni knit that was outside The Standard hotel. I thought it was going to reach over with its arm to wack me in the face, so I schlepped out of the way sharpish.
Not sure what info the powers that be have on me but it probably didn't twig that I do in fact live in London and therefore Target doesn't actually ship to my location or to a lot of readers here. Still, a box of samples arrived promptly and before I left for New York, I had a go at investigating some of the pieces to see what all the fuss is about.
If I'm honest, there's zero shock factor when it comes to seeing what designer will pair up with a low-brand maybe save for Alaia or Nicholas Ghesquiere. With the right price, any brand could possibly waver. I feel like H&M's collaborations in particular have set the 'Who can nab the biggest collaborator?" contest going with chains attempting to surpass each other and themselves. Missoni and Target on paper two years ago would have been eye-brow raising and for some, that may still be the case but but it seems like the brand have no fear of going enthusiastically full guns ahead by producing product for every vertical possible - womenswear, kidswear, accessories, homeware.
For a family business so rooted in their Italian close-knit way of working (no pun intended…) and in upholding craftsmanship, their 'Go big or go home' approach might seem discordant. Then again, Missoni's distinctive aesthetic has also been aped to death for years on the high street to the point where I sometimes see pieces and think why doesn't Missoni apply for a patent on their knitwear patterns just because they are so instantly recognisable, even if they are not 100% originators of their techniques. It seems only fair then that they claim a share of that pie, giving the opportunity for people to buy into the real Missoni look without committing to Missoni prices prices and without having to resort to Missoni-lite knock-offs either.
The vast lookbook may show head to toe Missoni for Target pieces worn in abundance with zig zags, swirls and plethora of colours swarming the body, so recognisable as Missoni that from afar, even hardened Missoni fans might mistake a piece for the real deal. Of course, come up close and the quality is never gonna even touch that level, which is surely a given in the back of most people's minds when buying the stuff. The collab's success which is reflected on a ton of sold-out items on the website, lies in the very fact that Missoni's knitwear aesthetic is so iconic and recognisable that buying the 'look' of it is enough of a coup.
For me, whilst the actual knit itself is never going to be as weighty or as imbued with the sort of craftsmanship that the real thing is (a full price Missoni sweater is a real joy to wear…), a touch of the surface aesthetic of the prints/patterns here and there, is most definitely the way to go especially with a lot of the knits being thin enough to layer under and over things.
Missoni for Target strappy sweater dress, vintage sheer dress underneath, Carven jacket, Mooonspoon Saloon Buffalo platforms