In the latest installment of high-end designer meets real-world retailer frenzy, Jason Wu’s much anticipated collaboration with
Target is set to launch Sunday. The fashion-obsessed on shoe-string budgets (a.k.a. most 20-something women these days) have been drooling over the collection of gauzy blouses with black bows and pleated floral skirts since images first hit the Web weeks ago.
But the launch of the 60-piece line brings with it the burning question that seems to plague these buzzy partnerships: Is it better to fight fellow Wu-lovers in a physical store or risk the unknown in ordering online?
In-store experiences are sure to be akin to Black Friday-esque consumer warfare, complete with long lines, shoving and arguments over who grabbed the adorable cat print tote first. At least that is a safe assumption for metropolitan areas like Washington. Locations out of city centers, where the Taiwanese American designer might not be as popular as the infamous zigzag prints of another fashion powerhouse, might provide a safer experience.
There are several benefits to fighting in-person for Wu handbags, however. Publicity photos of collections are never a completely safe method of judging the quality of items. Although photos are available (see the whole collection in the gallery below) fabrics and cuts are still a mystery. A blouse might be too sheer, or a straw bag may feel cheaper than it looked in a well-lighted studio.
Because the collaboration is new and most women eyeing garments have never purchased a piece from Wu, fit is an unknown variable. It is not the same as ordering from a staple retailer like J.Crew or Banana Republic, where pant and dress sizes are unlikely to have changed since your last visit to their dressing rooms.
Also, before running to Target at 7 a.m., it is important to ensure that special piece isn’t a Web exclusive. Several items of Wu’s Target line are only available through their Web site, including the long-sleeved white blouse and navy dotted shift dress.
The collection likewise will not be available in every Target store. Participating locations are listed on facebook.com/TargetStyle.
Despite being three days away from its official launch, items have already made their way onto eBay, the new home of marked-up designer goods. Fashionista is reporting that some attendees of last week’s launch party are hawking their advance purchases on the auctioning site for prices marked up 250 percent.
A good indicator for whether a piece is worth the hassle of potential cat fights or eBay markups is how they look on (semi) real people. Blake Lively, Emmy Rossum and Chloe Moretz attended the launch party decked in Wu’s garments. Lively, who somewhat cheated at this game by wearing a white-and-black dress with peplum from Wu’s Spring 2012 collection, donned the black trench momentarily. It was not the best. Moretz, however, looked adorable in the pleated black skirt and white blouse with black bow, paired with a messy, braided ’do. See photos below to help make your decision about Wu madness.