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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Target and Neiman Marcus Holiday 24 Collection Review

Like many shoppers around the country, I set aside some time on Saturday morning to shop the unprecedented Target and Neiman Marcus holiday collection, try on some pieces, and inspect them for a review.

Target Neiman Marcus holiday 24 designer collection

After browsing the
lookbook extensively, I made my wish list, which was labeled with prices and sizes so that my shopping partner could glance at it for reference and assist me if necessary. Having experienced the Liberty of London and Missoni for Target frenzies, I expected a frantic shopping atmosphere, and wanted to be well prepared for potential "battle." Here were my top picks:

Target Neiman Marcus holiday 24 designer collection, Robert Rodriguez black lace dress, Rag & Bone Target Neiman Marcus sweater
Despite the temptation to shop the collection at Neiman Marcus (where the Skaist-Taylor ladies would be present to greet the guests), I opted for a nearby Target instead. My 7:30am arrival was greeted by two shoppers already waiting (not in line, just clustered by the door). Two Target employees soon came outside to explain that purchase quantities would be limited to 5 and that the goods were all located in the Maternity department, with more stock in back to be replenished as needed. Shortly before the doors opened, I noticed about a dozen shoppers who had mostly arrived after 7:50.

Target Neiman Marcus holiday 24 designer collection

Rag & Bone Target Neiman Marcus gray cardigan sweater

As a devotee of Rag & Bone, I tried on their sweater (priced at $49.99) in a Boy's size large, and was disappointed in the slightly itchy cotton/wool blend fabric, although it would work well layered under long sleeves for me. The difference in size between the Boy's L and XL was significant, with the XL sleeves being way too long on me. Confession - I was hoping that David Neville and Marcus Wainwright would do some skinny denim for this collection, as that's what they excel in.  I tried on the lace dress by Robert Rodriguez (priced at $99.99), which pleasantly surprised me with its soft fabric, comfortable underlayers, and tailored waist. I found it to run big. The fullness in the hip, lack of pockets, and the generous length of the dress are my only misgivings about this dress. Overall, it's an elegant and ladylike choice for parties and holiday affairs, and one that will stand the test of time when it comes to seasonal trends.

Target Neiman Marcus holiday 24 designer collection

The fun printed lunchbox and beverage container by Tory Burch were hard to resist, and at price points under $25, make ideal gifts for the stylish working woman or student on-the-go. Since I was hoping that Diane von Furstenberg would design a printed scarf or dress for this collaboration, I was slightly disappointed in the yoga mat and jewelry box (both $49.99) that she contributed to the collection. Diane does dresses, prints, and silk blouses to perfection, and I would have loved to see that represented in this collection. The Oscar de la Renta pet bowl was a popular item at my store, and the hefty ceramic material made it feel luxurious.

Target Neiman Marcus Altuzarra gifts

As for Altuzarra, I was also hoping he'd design apparel, but since this is a holiday collection, gift items prevailed. I might go back for the tray (priced at $79.99), since I think it would make a chic display item for my ottoman or coffee table with its sophisticated croc print and gold accents.

Alice + Olivia Target Neiman Marcus floral bike

For me, the most fun item in the collection was the playfully printed Alice + Olivia bike.  It was also the most expensive piece in the collection at $499.99, and I did not see anyone buying it, or the Alice + Olivia striped luggage (for $179.99) sitting nearby. If I didn't already have two bikes, I might have been tempted.

Proenza Schouler Target Neiman Marcus sweatshirt

The Proenza Schouler sweatshirt was softer than expected on the outside, ran a little bit smaller than I expected, and has an on-trend high-low hemline. I opted for a size small, and can't wait to wear it with my dark denim and ankle boots. I also spotted some men trying this on in larger sizes, and it looked great.

Target Neiman Marcus Tracy Reese sequin top

The Tracy Reese sequin top became my favorite piece from the clothing in the collection due to its lightweight polyester fabric, blue sequin accents, and easy fit. I thought it ran true to size, and I got a small instead of XS so I could wear it loosely tucked in. I knew I'd be able to dress it up or down, and above I'm wearing it tucked into skinny jeans and layered under a sequin blazer. I can imagine women from a variety of ages wearing the top with everything from a denim jacket to a dressy A-line skirt or skinny jeans and boots. 

Target Neiman Marcus holiday collection Skaist-Taylor faux fur vest
Target Neiman Marcus holiday collection Skaist-Taylor faux fur vest

The Skaist-Taylor faux fur vest intrigued me, so I tried it on and fell in love with the soft finish, tailored shape, and cozy pockets. I found it to run true to size, and I tried on a size XS. The puffy shoulders give it a rock 'n' roll edge when worn with skinny jeans and studded shoes. It would be fun styled casually over a black turtleneck or more elegantly with long gloves and a party dress.

Overall, I was amazed at how organized and helpful the Target employees were to us while shopping. They offered to help us find specific things and kept the area neat and clean. It was much more relaxed and easy than previous designer collaboration experiences, and stock levels exceeded the shopper demand. Target was prepared, educated their employees, and made it fun to shop! Quality was higher than previous Target collections, and that's not surprising, since this was a collaboration with Neiman Marcus. For those who have yet to shop, recent visits to Target have revealed plenty of merchandise still on the shelves, as well as online.

Still have holiday shopping to do? Here are my top picks for gifts:

For your boyfriend: the Rag & Bone sweater, Rag & Bone shot glasses, or Derek Lam skateboard.
For your stylish co-worker: Tory Burch lunchbox, Judith Leiber compact mirror, Tory Burch beverage container, or Band of Outsiders cookie cutters.
For your female best friend: Marc Jacobs pouch, Prabal Gurung clutch, or Brian Atwood leather gloves.
For your mom or mother-in-law: Carolina Herrera stationery, Oscar de la Renta handbag, Jason Wu ornaments, Derek Lam slippers, or Lela Rose dress.
For your dad or father-in-law: Eddie Borgo letter opener, Proenza Schouler iPad sleeve, or Thom Browne blazer.
For your dog: Oscar de la Renta pet bowl and leash/collar set.
For your stylish self: Tracy Reese sequin top, Robert Rodriguez lace dress, or Tracy Reese dessert plates.
For your niece, daughter, or the young girl: the Marchesa girl's dresses, Skaist-Taylor faux fur hat, Jason Wu girl's dresses, or the Alice + Olivia bike.
For your nephew, son, or the young boy: Derek Lam skateboard or Rag & Bone sweater.

Best overall gift under $25 - Tory Burch lunchbox ($19.99)
Best houseware gift under $40 - Tracy Reese dessert plates (set of 4 is $39.99)
Best hostess gift under $50 - Altuzarra set of 4 old fashioned glasses ($49.99)
Best stylish gift under $80 - Tracy Reese sequin top ($79.99)
Best stylish gift under $100 - Robert Rodriguez lace dress ($99.99)
Best gift that will transcend the holiday season - Oscar de la Renta handbag ($59.99)
Best gift for the college student who likes to party - Rag & Bone flask ($29.99)
Best gift for the person who has everything - Carolina Herrera stationery set ($19.99)
Best over-the-top gift - Alice + Olivia bike ($499.99)

**Lace December update - good news! Most of the collection is now 70% off. 

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