by Chelsea Low
After the failure that was the Neiman Marcus for Target collection (no, I don’t want dog bowls designed by Oscar de la Renta, I want dresses), eyebrows were raised at the announcement of the Prabal Gurung for Target line, which hit stores 10 February. Would Prabal phone it in just like the designers that tossed a few random, halfhearted designs Target’s way? Or would the collection be priced as steeply as the Neiman Marcus line of train wrecks that were below even Target’s standards for quality? (Not another $500 Alice + Olivia kids’ bike, please.
Thankfully, neither was true as the ninety-two piece love-inspired line of clothing, shoes, jewelry, and bags was revealed last week. The promotional ads were promising, and it certainly lived up to the hype—for the most part, at least.
For one, Prabal stayed true to his aesthetic of modern femininity. Consumers were pleased to see he’d created a line that was ready for spring, spotlighting his signature borderline psychedelic prints which took center stage along with bright neon colors, flirty dresses, and modern silhouettes.
This is a departure from the surprisingly darker looks we’ve been seeing from him on the runways the past few seasons. Although a line full of army green, military jackets, fur, and leather is much more my personal style, it was certainly a wise choice to brighten things up when selling to the mass market gearing up for spring. And even if it’s not your style either, it’s impossible not to appreciate the beauty of his prints, color choices, and silhouettes.
Staying true to his aesthetic may seem obvious, but there were complaints about the Missoni for Target and even Jason Wu for Target looking less like something straight off the runways and more like a cheapo side project. But Prabal Gurung did not disappoint in the least.
There was debate, however, over whether he lived up to his other trademarks: impeccable construction and excellent quality, and most importantly, clothes that flatter a woman’s body.
It seems that there were many negative comments about the fabric choices and construction of his line. I have to laugh at these complaints because it’s Target. What do you expect? If a designer is going to make a line for a mass market retailer, they’re going to have to cut corners somewhere. Prabal certainly did not in regards to design, so in turn, he sacrificed his usual impeccable construction and fabric. It’s not like he’s going to mass produce exactly what he would produce for a high-end store, call it Prabal Gurung for Target, and sell $2000 dresses for $30. Only in our wildest dreams.
In regards to the clothes being unflattering? Perhaps.
This crossed no one’s mind while flipping through the look book before the line was released, but then again, the point of photographing a model in your clothes is to make them look good, if not even better than they actually look. Of course people wanted to buy them. But the average woman is not going to be able to pull off the same pieces.
Indeed, I cringed while scrolling through negative reviews filled with dressing room selfies of women in dresses with drop waists, ruffles in unflattering places, and blaring neon hues. Doesn’t exactly sound like something coming from a designer constantly thinking about flattering women. By the end of my research, I was sick of reading endless “only flattering on stick-thin size 2 models”-type comments.
Last but not least, there were resoundingly positive reviews of the shoes, bags, and jewelry.
The shoe line in particular has blown people away with its quality and designs. The shoes are all priced at about $25-$30 which is a steal a line of for beautiful—and beautifully-made—heels and sandals. Even the Prabal for Target haters had to admit the shoes were incredible. If you’re planning on purchasing anything from the line, I would recommend checking out the shoes first. The bags weren’t anything incredibly special to me, but most people seem very satisfied with them, so if pretty, colorful clutches are your thing, perhaps start there as well. The shoes, however, are certainly something special and I made sure to purchase a pair for myself.
Otherwise, proceed with caution and bravely try on a few dresses. Beware: they’re hit-or-miss albeit beautiful. The one I ended up loving and purchasing for myself was the one that seemed to get the most “unflattering” comments from people trying it on themselves. But it flattered my body type, and the solid ruffled dress was much more my style than any of the crazy printed dresses. Likewise, the trippy First Date print is the type of thing you either love or hate, and extremely hard to pull off, but stunning if it works.
Avoid the plain separates. To me, I can’t justify spending the extra money on a tissue paper-thin sweater, colorful cardigans and skirts, or a plain tank top. Even worse, the fit on these items was awful. Even the tops in the exclusive prints weren’t worth buying. Go buy colorful basics elsewhere, and spend your money on something made to fit well. The only exception to this is the printed A-line skirts which could work as fun separates for work or more formal occasions.
Overall, the Prabal Gurung for Target collection is a magnificent sight for the eyes, although the cheap fabrics and cuts may chafe the skin. Still, it’s Target, so what can you expect? Let’s be real: this is probably the closest any Target shopper will ever get to the real thing, and the highlights of the collection are more than worth it. Although some of the said highlights were snatched up the opening day, it’s still worth looking for the many treasures still present while overlooking a few bland, ill-fitting basics. This is perhaps one of the best designer collaborations we’ve ever seen for Target, so don’t miss out on this unique collection to give your spring wardrobe a bold, flirty update.
Here you can find all of our articles up to 2018.