MY LEAST FAVORITE trend lately (other than, ick, jeggings) is the proliferation of cheap-chic designer collections. I can hear your protests now: “What? But it’s a chance to own a little Sonia Rykiel/Anna Sui/Rodarte for just $19.99!” That I can’t argue with. But I can argue your money is better spent on something else.

The real magic of designers like Jean Paul Gaultier — whose collection for Target (right) hit stores last month — or Zac Posen — who arrives at the big bull’s-eye later this month — or any of the top designers who joined up with mass retailers en masse, can’t be replicated in a cotton dress produced for pennies in Asia.

I have no doubt Mr. Gaultier et al picked out the scratchy fabrics and sketched the looks themselves. But their genius as designers is found in the way they artfully construct a perfect seam, handcraft their own fabrics or whip up a confection of a dress that falls just so. Those things are lost in the discount version — along with the uniqueness of the designs, which inevitably show up on every girl between here and L.A. Sure, there are a few gems in these collections, but let’s face it: A cheap blouse is a cheap blouse, even with a fancy name inside.

Photo courtesy Target