Earlier this week, when Target announced its next design collaboration with pattern-happy Finnish brand Marimekko, a reporter asked me if I thought it would break the Internet—now the standard by which we evaluate these limited edition partnerships: is it exciting enough that shoppers will clog the website with orders and flood stores before brunch when it launches on Sunday, April 17.
Of course, you never know for sure—hype does not always equate to sales, if you recall Target's ill-fated holiday partnership with Neiman Marcus. From Prabal Gurung to Proenza Schouler, the fashion world (myself included) flips for every announcement, which is exactly the purpose of designer collaborations. They create buzz, and help Target associate itself with high style, and legendary brands. Sometimes, the buzz has fizzled by the time the products actually hit stores, and the reality of the cotton/poly blends is quite a bit less than Target's always fantastic promotional shots suggested.
And sometimes, that magical thing happens, and a collection really hits. I think even Target was surprised last year when its Lilly Pulizer collection sold out in a day. Lilly is the exact opposite of basic—such a specific look, and one associated with a preppy, glam life of poolside afternoons and evening cruises on the ocean. It doesn't sound bad, even if wearing dresses affixed with palm trees isn't normally your thing. It was the same with Missoni—the collaboration that really did crash Target's website. A legendary, distinct luxury brand—instantly recognizable, and everyone wanted a piece of it, whether they were longtime Missoni shoppers, or aspired to be so. So if that's the standard, Marimekko for Target, with its bold cheery prints that have been around since the 1950s (raise your hand if you grew up sleeping under the classic car and bus comforter!), should be a huge hit. Just last week, I spotted a couple of framed Marimekko prints at a vintage store in town. My shower curtain features the Marimekko Pieni Unikko pattern in green. Call it mod, call it retro, Marimekko prints really never go out of style.
In the Twin Cities, you can buy Marimekko fabrics, napkins and more at AlwaysMod. But then, we also have a Lilly Pulitzer signature store, Melly, and that did nothing to dilute interest in the more affordably priced Target collection.
Marimekko for Target is a 200-piece collection ranging from tablecloths to swimsuits. Most items are less than $50. I'm sure the tote bags, outdoor decor and party goods, in particular, will fly—they're fun, and easy to digest, even if you're not a person who normally goes for big, bold flowers or squiggles. Target says this collaboration is all about play, and to that end, it features several firsts for Marimekko: bocce ball sets, parachutes, and a paddle board—this year's version of the Liberty for London bicycle. No doubt, it will end up decorating the entryways of more than a few ad agencies and design firms.
If it doesn't end up on eBay first.