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Cool It, Target: Frank Calls Collaboration Fatigue

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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.


The whole Target/Neiman's designer line-up, via WWD

Dear Constant Collaboration Machine,

This week Target and Neiman Marcus announced their holiday partnership—an array of more than 50 items ranging from fast fashion scrubs to Chinese-made knickknacks as imagined by 24 CFDA-certified designers. The wares will be available at both "cheap-chic" (those are air quotes) Target and the famously exclusive Neiman's. Same product, same prices—very different retailers.

But you already know all this: The fashion blogosphere is in an utter tizzy and label-grubbers with less-deep pockets are already saving their pennies—visions of Marc Jacobs seat cushions and Marchesa dog treats dancing in their heads.

Quick question, though: When will it end? Is anyone else experiencing major Collaboration Fatigue? Does anyone else not want to be anywhere near either of these stores (or the Internet, for that matter) when this stuff goes live on December 1st?

It's just ... Exhausting. And kind of boring. Another chapter in an endless book of high/low, a fashion-for-all free-for-all. When will people who can't afford Versace stop paying extra at H&M for the same mass market junk that's always just hanging there synthetically twinkling on its fast-fashion rack just because Donatella signed a contract?

To be fair, I've never been quite on board with this whole thing. I'm not the target customer (and I'm rarely a Target customer), thus I'm probably the wrong person to poll. If I can't have the real thing, I just don't want it. Further, if I'm not going to be the only one at the party wearing it, I'll just get it at the Gap.

I'd also rather have fewer better things than ten million cheaply produced disposable things. So I'll buy the real thing (on sale)—and skip the stuff that starts disintegrating when you wash it the first time before ending up in a landfill for all enternity leeching bits of petroleum-based polyester into our waterways. But that's just me.

There are exceptions to every rule, of course. Marni for H&M basically had me peeing my pants. I stood in line; I bought everything. Granted, I returned most of it and the rest is pretty much on ice so by the time I wear it every Molly on the Main won't be like "Omigod I love your Marni shirt! I have the dress!"

And, it's all happening again this fall with Margiela. But Marni and Margiela are, well, Marni and Margiela. They're top ten.

In terms of the Target/Neiman's extravaganza, there are some interesting picks. Marc Jacobs might be the most notable. A huge name that has never been a part of one of these things (as far as I can recall, at least, though it's been a long couple of years with approximately 62 new collaborations announced each week). Of course, Marc by Marc Jacobs is already sort of within the realm of relatively affordable. And barring that you can hit the Marc Jacobs Mall in Manhattan's West Village to stock up on oodles of Marc-branded trinkets—cheaply produced and bargain-priced for suburban ladies on Sex and the City bus tours. They range from compacts and pens and hair things that cost a few bucks to tees and totes that cost around $30. And they're fine.

Otherwise, I'm curious to see what jewelry designers Philip Crangi and Eddie Borgo bring to the table. Even if your average Target customer won't have heard of either one of them. And Target veterans Proenza Schouler, Jason Wu, and Rodarte will certainly create something worthwhile. Living legends Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera are definitely wild cards. I'm kind of hoping—albeit fruitlessly—that their additions include insane $499 ball gowns. Diane von Furstenberg is a label made for such projects—certainly her vibrantly printed merchandise will translate well at any price point (as her children's line for the Gap made very clear). Otherwise, meh. I guess Thom Browne's inclusion offers a fresh opportunity for Cathy Horyn and me to poke fun and/or yawn ?

Neiman's: Stick to Fendi grand pianos and gold-plated helicopters for Christmas. Target: At least this is a step up from your inane mess of boutique shop-in-shops. I'm sorry, but I can't fathom the customer who gets excited over pet supplies branded with some artisanal dog treat store they've never heard of because it's located approximately 2,000 miles away. But, come on—lay off the collaborations for 15 minutes. I can use a rest. And I can't be the only one.

All that said: If Acne, Neil Barrett, Moschino, Kenzo, Simon Spurr, or Valentino launch something like this, Imma get crazy-monster excited and totally take every negative thing I've ever said about collaborations back (temporarily).

· Love, Frank [Racked]