16 March 2007

Stella McCartney gives Target some relief from cultural cringe.

Target, the Coles Group owned version of their American counterpart, have finally gotten a little design-savvy with the launch this week of internationally renowned designer Stella McCartney's winter collection.

The McCartney collection is part of a project, called "Designers for Target, style by design'' which has previously featured collections from Australian designers Melbourne's T.L. Wood and Sydney-based Alice McCall and Tina Kalivas. Unlike Target USA, this is a one-off project which illustrates some of the problems associated with the hero branding exercises like this.

Target USA are more design focussed than Australia with designers like Alessi's Michael Graves, Reidel and Isaac Mizrahi always in stock. The latest Target "Design for All" includes entire women's collections (not 14 pieces from Stella's atelier) by famed New York designers Proenza Schouler.

So why should we feel lucky we get this collection from Stella McCartney? After all she's been designing for Puma recently and the collection has been heavily featured in David Jones. And why is it only Qantas First and Business class passengers will get the benefits of design supervision by Australians Mark Newson and toiletries courtesy of Akira Isogawa and Colette Dinnigan? It all smacks a little of the old Australian cultural cringe. It's only acceptable for most people if its an overseas designer and has a premium attached to it. Here at DIFFUSION we believe good design should always be cheap and accessible. The Coles Group has had the opportunity to do this for a long time now. So let's see something from the likes of Akira, Colette and even Stella EVERY time we visit a Target Store.

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