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Rodarte For Target Collection Misses the Mark



When I first heard that Rodarte would be designing a line for Target, I practically did a celebratory hula-breakdance-salsa routine since founders Kate and Laura Mulleavy have provided fashion eye candy for me since their line’s debut in 2005. Their dresses and separates, which often incorporate intricately stitched and embroidered tulle, chiffon and lace, manage to channel both romanticism and edge. I figured this was my perfect opportunity to incorporate some Rodarte into my closet.

Though the collaboration was announced back in August, lookbooks and photos of the actual pieces were kept mostly under wraps for months, with only a few photos circulating the blogosphere in late October. The suspense only augmented the anticipation surrounding the line. Would it be an accurate reflection of the Rodarte aesthetic? Would the pieces look expensive? What would the color palette and design motifs be?

Last week, the collection finally hit Target stores — and, well, it’s a mixed bag. For one, it’s a juniors’ collection, and the abundance of bow details and yellow leopard prints certainly make the pieces more appropriate for tweens (as opposed to older consumers). Still, when you look at some of the pieces online, you might be smitten by their playful nature. But to see them on a stick-thin model whose picture has been Photoshopped (and they always are) is one thing, and it’s quite another to see the pieces up close, feel the fabrics, and assess the fit. In order to properly write about the collection and give you my honest opinion on it, I requested samples for photography/review purposes. I received samples of the two pieces pictured above: the Crepe Slip Dress in Back and the Mesh Lace Swiss Dot Printed Top.

I was completely disappointed with he quality of the fabrics on both of these garments — my skin itched just from looking at them, and running my fingers over them only magnified that sentiment.

The Mesh Lace Swiss Dot Printed Top was a particular disappointment — in person, it’s just plain hideous. It looks like a top Betty Suarez would have worn on the first season of Ugly Betty (paired with some chunky wool skirt in a clashing color scheme and pattern). The synthetic mesh fabric has this repulsive crunchy feel, and the Swiss dot pattern nods to the most hideous aspects of ’70s fashion. It’s also completely see-through, which just baffles me even more. Overall, this top felt like something I’d expect to find in a Conway bargain bin, not something meriting the Rodarte tag.

The Crepe Slip Dress, on the other hand, looks much prettier at first glance. From a distance, it reminded me of one of Rodarte’s Fall 2008 dresses — from the tulle-like, ballerina-esque skirt to the see-through bodice. The problem with this design lies mostly in its execution. The silhouette and the overall look seem consistent with the Rodarte point-of-view, but the cheap fabrics used (polyester and nylon) bring the entire design down. The end result winds up looking like something you’d find in a wannabe Forever 21 (yeah, it wouldn’t even make it into Forever 21). The layered polyester skirt feels stiff and the fabric bunches together like it’s been attacked by static. The nylon slip underneath, meanwhile, doesn’t lay on the body comfortably, nor does it feel luxurious or sumptuous by any stretch of the imagination.

For me, these two pieces were a crushing disappointment. I can only hope the other garments feature higher grade fabrics and more precise tailoring but, until I see them in person, I won’t be ordering anything online.

Rodarte for Target Juniors Crepe Slip Dress in Black, $39.99, and Rodarte for Target Juniors Mesh Lace Swiss Dot Printed Top in Black, $29.99. Viist Target.com

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