Here’s a surprise: Some of the people on my list will be getting gifts from Neiman Marcus this holiday season. Here’s another surprise: Chances are very good that some wealthy people will be giving their friends presents from Target.
(No, I haven’t given up my thrifty ways and the 1 percent probably hasn’t started getting Grinchy with it.)
Cheap chic Target Corp. and tony Neiman Marcus have teamed up on a limited-edition holiday collection — and the same merchandise will be available at both Target and Neiman Marcus stores, as well as online at Target.com and NeimanMarcus.com on Dec. 1.
The unlikely retail mashup features an eclectic mix of more than 50 items — men’s, women’s and children’s apparel and accessories, sporting goods, home decor, pet gear and electronics accessories — from two dozen of the country’s trendiest designers including Jason Wu, Judith Leiber, Robert Rodriguez, Marchesa, Marc Jacobs,Tory Burch and Tracy Reese.
Prices range from $7.99 for a roll of designer wrapping paper to $499.99 for an Alice + Olivia bicycle. Most items are less than $70.
Like Marc Jacobs luxe leather pouches in gold, gunmetal or rose, $69.99 each. Leopard-print, leather-soled Derek Lam slippers for $49.99. A French-terry Proenza Schouler sweatshirt with original graphic artwork, $29.99. Rag & Bones’ stainless-steel, nickel-plated flask with designer logo, $29.99.
And a fabulous Lela Rose silk-cotton blend dress in the same watercolor print featured in Lela Rose’s current runway collection. (OK, that item is $99.99).
The collection’s logo is an exclamation mark comprised of Neiman’s signature teardrop and Target’s bullseye.
Target customers are likely to take the pairing in stride. After, all, Target introduced its first design partnership, with architect Michael Graves, in 1999 and since then has worked with close to 100 icons in the design world, including Todd Oldham, Liberty of London and Alexander McQueen.
What Neiman customers will think is yet to be seen. But with the presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s coming out as a bargain-hunting, Costco-loving shopper, the Target connection could be big in Greenwich and other upscale zip codes this Christmas.
Karen Katz, president and chief executive officer of The Neiman Marcus Group, says items in the collection will be the season’s “must-have” gifts, whether you are a loyal Neiman Marcus customer, a devoted Target guest or a fan of American design.
“Neiman Marcus and Target share a passion for great design and delighting customers in new and unexpected ways,” said Katz. “We are thrilled to be collaborating to offer a spectacular and special collection of one-of-a-kind items for the holidays.
Gregg Steinhafel, Target’s chairman, calls the partnership a “redefining moment in retail.”
“This collaboration is unlike anything Target has done before, and we are confident our guests will be thrilled with this extraordinary collection that features some of America’s most preeminent designers,” said Steinhafel.
But Neiman customers might want to gear up for some down in the trenches shopping.
When Target teams up with famous designers to offer exclusive, limited-time collections, the atmosphere gets, well, very competitive. Store racks are emptied within hours, the company’s website crashes and items often show up on eBay (for many times the original selling price) within hours.
To try to cut down on the frenzy this time around, merchandise will be available at “all” rather than “select” Target and Neiman Marcus stores and customers will be limited to purchases of five of the same item. Returns must be made by Jan. 5, 2013.
To celebrate the partnership, Target and Neiman Marcus are donating a total of $1 million to the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which is marking its 50 anniversary this year.
“I can think of no better finale to CFDA’s 50th Anniversary celebration than through this extraordinary designer collaboration,” said CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg, who designed a jewelry box and a yoga mat for the collection. “As designers, creativity is our best gift, and with the generous support of Neiman Marcus and Target, we are happy to have created specially designed products as a thank you to share with our consumers and friends.”
Both stores are using social media to promote the collection. Information and sneak peeks are available at ABullseyeView.com and NMdaily.com. Or you can follow @ABullseyeView or @NeimanMarcus, #Holiday24, on Twitter.