Top designers, who usually sell signature pieces for top dollars, are now creating less expensive clothing lines for discount stores like Target and Wal-Mart.
Viktor & Rolf for H&M
This knit wool dress with a ruffle front is a great day-to-evening option. Viktor & Rolf are known for black, gray and white. They haven't strayed from their formula for H&M and yet this is a dress that almost anyone can wear. They're known for exaggerated features. The ruffle here is more exaggerated than you might find on another mass retail dress, but the design itself is very simple, and a single exaggerated feature is sometimes the difference between a hoo-hum outfit and a wham-pow outfit. (Dress $99.90)
George ME by Mark Eisen for Wal-Mart
Mark Eisen is designing a line called Karoo of very thin knit cashmeres in modern shapes. I've been trying to get my hands on one of the smock dresses for ages! His love of knit wear carries over into the knits he does for Wal-Mart. The turtleneck is rich and luxurious, but I just love the quilted vest! It's lined in knit! The print is so chic and the benefits of a knit-lined vests are obvious in this weather! Even his jeans are a great shape and have a modern leg line. And they are appropriate for a range of ages. (George ME by Mark Eisen for Wal-Mart Turtleneck $24.82. Vest $39.82. Jeans $19.82. Brown boots "Abaete for Payless.")
Nicole by Nicole Miller for JC Penney
Nicole is a major player on 7th Avenue and has had a business for a number of years including her own boutiques. She's well known for designing a killer dress and the line she is doing for JC Penney is no exception. This dress is great for an afternoon wedding or a dinner out. It doesn't need much adornment or complicated accessories because the print is the main focus here. (Dress: $89.99, Brown Clutch "Abaete for Payless" $18)
Behnaz Sarafpour for Target
I think Behnaz was an amazing choice for this kind of lower priced line. Many of you may not know her name yet, but you will! In addition to her own signature collection, she designs for Barney's private collection. She understands exactly what women want to wear. Her clothes are cut for a woman's body and she is so clever with detail. Look at the lining on this jacket for example. And you'll see that all her pieces walk the line, have that perfect balance between sexy and sweet. I just love her stuff and all of the designs are available online. (Behnaz Sarafpour for Target Blouse $29.99. Jacket $89.99. Skirt $24.99. Black and White Shoes "Abaete for Payless.")
And don't forget accessories! Sophia Kokosalaki is designing shoes and bags for Nine West and Abaete is doing shoes for Payless. Both these designers are really only known to fashionistas so this is a win-win situation. We benefit from being able to wear their fanatastic designs at an affordable price and they become known to a much wider audience! (Sophia Kokosalaki for Nine West Boots $350. Shoes $295. Gloves $195.) (Abaete for Payless Boots $35. Black Shoes $25. Green Shoes $25. Brown Shoes $25. Bag $18. *Available November 21.*)
And coming this spring, look out for designs by Vera Wang at Kohl's, Phillip Lim (big with celebrities) and Alice Roi at Uniqlo.... This is one trend that isn't going away!