Nine West is jumping into the fast fashion craze with its recent announcement that Vivenne Westwood â€“ along with two designers whose talents exceed their fame, to quote yesterday’s New York Times â€“ will design special lines. The limited (and pricey! from $180-$500) collections will be available at Nine West and Macy’s. Westwoodâ€™s line will be available Sept. 1, followed by Thakoon Panichgul and Sophia Kokosalaki (huh?) the relative unknowns grabbing a ride on Westwoodâ€™s shoelaces.
Each designer was given free reign on designing 11 items. Westwoodâ€™s include playful variations of her signature tartans as well as gladiator boots and shrunken cardigans. But Nine West is just the most recent to bring high-end designers to the market of the masses. Isaac Mizrahi has become a mainstay at the urban mecca, Target.com, which is now carrying fleeting clothing collections by Luella Bartley and Tara Jarmon, the first of many, as part of its Go International campaign. H&M did it with Stella McCartney and Karl Lagerfield. Even Walmart.com will soon be joining the fray with a sportswear line by Mark Eisen, the South African designer.
So how will this trend of high-end designers in down-market retailers end? Dilution of fashion elitism? Education for the masses on the finer points of the catwalk? We donâ€™t know, but weâ€™re snapping up the haute-driven items without breaking the bank. Leave the education to Miss J and Tyra on America’s Next Top Model, we want our $39.99 Stella designed trousers.