I'm a big fan of designer capsule collections, especially when they're produced on a budget for stores like H&M and Target. But, after perusing the lookbook several times, I wasn't overly excited about Joseph Altuzarra's recent Target collab, which dropped Sunday. In fact, there were only two pieces that looked appealing to me: The jacquard trench coat and the croc-effect "leather" belt.
So I didn't get up early (or rather, stay up late) and wait in line for the collection, nor did I jump on Net-A-Porter or Target.com when it hit 7 a.m. But a few hours later I was nosing around the net when I decided to see if my target (DTLA's City Target) had any of the collection left. As it turns out -- they did! Actually, they had almost all of the collection left. So I threw on a T-shirt and headed on over to check it out.
Let's just say I was...underwhelmed. And this is coming from someone who expected to be underwhelmed! I was under-underwhelmed. The collection was a mess.
To be fair, I was seeing the results after (what I assume was) some frenzied shopping by Altuzarra, Target, and Altuzarra x Target fangirls (because the collab was ladies-only, as most Target collabs seem to be). So the dresses and shirts were askew on their hangers, the shoes were thrown haphazardly into their boxes, and the accessories were long gone.
But even then, it was a mess. Nothing looked like it was hanging right at all, and the collars and lapels on shirts and jackets were floppy and structureless. The shoes smelled strongly of polyurethane, and the polyester blouses were dropping loose threads left and right. It was not a pretty sight. I thought it might look better off the rack, so I grabbed a few dresses to try them on.
JUST KIDDING. I tried on the peasant-y dresses (the Swiss dot black maxi and short dress, and the red collared dress), I left the ruby faux-wrap dress on the rack, and I tried on the orchid maxi and the structured crane dress. I also picked up the black and white pussy-bow sleeveless blouse, the ankle booties and the OTK boots, and the black jacquard coat.
The Swiss dot maxi, Swiss dot dress ("Embroidered Romanian Dress"), and embroidered dress in red are all essentially the same dress, just in different lengths. And none of them look great, but that could be because I'm a little busty, and so peasant tops make me look, frankly, fat unless I have something relatively form-fitting on the top. I was not a fan of the elastic waist on any of the dresses, though the lookbook photos cleverly cover said waist with a belt. The dress in the above photo has clearly been altered -- the dress is not that low cut (in fact, it's just high-cut enough to look frumpy), and the slit is not that high. Draping on these pieces was fine, but that's because they're not structurally draped very much to begin with. The shorter dresses could work as part of a chic work outfit, but the maxi dress made you look way too covered up.
The structured crane dress was the only piece in the collection that looked how it was supposed to. It's a structured dress with a side-zip, slightly stretchy fabric, and it fit true to size (I'm a 6, and a 6 fit perfectly). The collar dips a bit low -- it definitely made my boobs PG-13 -- and the dress is sewn to keep that slit on the side open. I actually think that's a nice touch, as it keeps the dress sexy and cocktail-ish without being too risque. The dress looks nice even without the belt (as shown in the picture), but the crane embroidery is just a little too machined to look nice. Instead of looking delicate, they look like something I'd find in a souvenir shop in Chinatown. Overall, while this dress looks okay on a person, it's still $50 for a dress that's not something I'd wear over other things in my closet.
There's a lot of orchid print going on in this collection, and I'm not a fan. Instead of looking elegant and avant-garde, it just looks...old. For example, there's a black orchid-print crew-neck sweater that looks like something my grandmother threw out. Anyway. This dress looks nice in the picture, but in person -- no. The top is fine (albeit not great for larger busts), but the skirt drapes all wrong, around the slit especially. On the dress I tried on, the area around the slit had extra fabric hanging over it, and was pulling in every direction, making it look like an overall mess. This is one of those pieces where the cheap fabric they used just ruined it; had it been silk it probably would've looked great.
I actually liked this trench coat, but for $90 I could buy something similar and made of better fabric at Zara. The black jacquard fabric is thick...ish. Thicker than I expected it to be, but thinner than it looks. It's certainly not thick enough, and as a result the collar is floppy and the sleeves stretch in weird directions. I like the overall design, though -- the back is sort of flouncy, like a skirt, and unlike most of my trenches (my closet is littered with Burberry and Zara trenches, which are all structured and straight). I also liked the boots and booties I tried on, but I just can't bring myself to pay $60 - $80 for non-leather boots.
Sorry, guys. I love Altuzarra's work, I do. I'm especially a fan of his dresses. But this collection was not my style, and not worth it, in m opinion. The price point was too low (everything in the collection was under $100) to expect decent craftsmanship, and I'd never have looked twice at it had it not been advertised. (As it turns out, I didn't find anything from the Altuzarra collection, but I did buy a couple of nice shirts from the Target housebrand.) The most successful budget designer collab remains, in my mind, Margiela x H&M.