Monday, 8 September 2008

Retailer designers

You can always rely on New York Fashion Week to be out and out commercial. Retailers need designers and designers need retailers. It's a symbiotic relationship that is increasingly media savvy. And Gap's latest offering, shown yesterday, for Spring 09 is new designer Patrick Robinson's first full collection - and as you would expect it's thoroughly commercial - in a Gap kind of way.

It's a shame that the troubled retail giant had to dispense with its European design team - the collections shown previously in London had more bite - in a Helmut Lang kind of way. In fact my NY friends told me that the Euro designed pieces used to sell out in-stores first. But we started to see Patrick's new influence with the summer hits of coloured khakis and pastel striped cashmere with Liberty prints.

(Actually the Liberty prints are just one of a whole range of limited edition designer collaboration pieces available again at Gap & Colette's pop-up store just opened in New York at the retailer's Manhattan flagship location on 5th Avenue and 54th - for one month only! Check out the launch party pics on Hypebeast)

So it's refreshing to see the commercial spin put into action again with a credible design talent such as Patrick. Now that it's solely his responsibility for global design, he is moving Gap's ethos on slowly but surely. The sports-chic techno feel of re-worked khakis in silk or jersey, knitted jersey relaxed blazers and a wide array of coloured denims gave this collection a new kind of preppy appeal. It's all in the stripes really and subtle rainbow colourways will brighten the stores come next February. They just need to do something about the stores now - separate entrances for men and women just won't cut it.

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