Thursday, May 10, 2007

Target signs Temperley for new line

Is it just me or does this seem like a somewhat bizarre pairing? I know it's not exactly a secret that Alice Temperley's husband and CEO Lars von Bennigsen will be satisfied with nothing less than world domination for the brand, but is Target really the way to go? For a label whose reputation is built on textiles, beading and intricate embroidery rather than cut or tailoring - whether or not Alice likes that reputation, how can they produce mass market pieces without compromising the inherent Temperley ethos?

Of course it’s easy to argue against Temperley, a brand that causes much sniffiness in fashion circles, with Colin McDowell being famously dismissive of it as not being fashion, but perhaps Middle America will appreciate pretty dresses and tops more than the directional vision of Proenza Schouler, Target’s last designer signing.

Still from a world domination point of view, it feels like the brand is trying to run before it can walk in America. Proenza Schouler may be a younger label than Temperley but they already have a strong media presence in the US, and it certainly helps being protégés of La Wintour. Temperley, although they had high hopes of some stellar names on the red carpets during awards season, didn't live up to expectation in that arena, and it could be argued that they need a higher profile to build upon before they attempt collaboration with a behemoth like Target.

The departure, after not much more than a year, of Elaine Sullivan, previously at Gucci and brought in as a star signing to guide the global expansion of Temperley, to head up the new London offices of Roger Vivier and Tods raised eyebrows in the industry, and suggests that there is not total agreement as to the direction in which the brand should move.