Crocs and Justin Bieber, Gucci and The North Face - I sneered at collaborations.
What good can a greasy, crooning millennial bring to a pair of rubber shoes? Why would the iconic outdoor recreation brand The North Face think that high fashion is top of mind for those climbing Mount Everest and every smaller mountain under the sun?
Frivolous and vain, style collaborations never seemed to center on improving or making something accessible. For all intents and purposes, it was about making people scratch their head by bringing two things that should never be together into one room… vanilla ice cream and Vienna Sausage topping, anyone?
But then on that fateful day in mid-May 2021, Target changed my heart.
It all began with Christopher John Rogers. The Man with 3 names. A high-end emerging designer who created a boisterous, inventive and affordable collection for Target. His ethos of “imaginative one-of-a-kind designs that are geared toward individuals with a strong sense of self” seemed like it was written with my vibrations in mind. The colors and cuts he introduced were intoxicating. I had 4 of his dresses earmarked for purchase on May 17th, and to my horror on the morning of May 17th all but one dress was sold out.
Not to be defeated, I searched for another Target-designer collaboration that dropped on the same day and found myself enamored with Rixo - emerging designers who are two best friends and who have a passion for vintage design, art and culture.
So without further ado, let me show you some of my favorite summer style collaborations that bring smiles to the soul, makes high-end fashion accessible and doesn’t always require a bra!
Dress #1: Orange Shirt Dress
I am not a fan of puffed sleeves, and I vowed to wait out this ridiculous trend of exaggerated shoulder mass until it died out. But alas, Christopher John Rogers and his vibrant orange shirt dress made me re-calibrate my leanings. This dress balances its exaggerated puff sleeve with a tight belted waistline and an exaggerated A-line skirt. The end result is a visual that creates an exaggerated and funky hourglass that flatters any body type. I feel like Audrey Hepburn’s funky cousin in this dress.
With deep pockets to rest your hands for a delightful summertime stroll and an exaggerated A-line skirt that make you want to twirl for hours, this dress brings a smile to any soul looking to reinvigorate their style. This dress tows the line between extravagant and costume-y. It provides dramatic, showstopping flair that is tempered with a belt and crisp collar, providing just enough modernity to not seem costume-like.
Dress #2: Floral Mock Neck
I have never seen so many things attempted and executed with such glorious precision as this floral mock neck dress from Rixo. This high-neck midi dress brings some old school Victorian era vibrations that are tempered with playful and youthful florals.
The fun continues with bunched mid-length sleeves, a rouched center hem and a classy slit to finish it all off. It’s doing it all and doing it well. This dress is luxuriously comfortable and provides a lot of movement with its crepe fabric.
When I wear it, I feel like I am transcending time and style eras - it’s unique yet simultaneously familiar and wearable. I’ve seen a lot of floral dresses in my lifetime, and if they don’t put me to sleep they cause me to look reminiscent of grandma’s living room sofa… but not the case with this one. If you love florals and want a new way to wear them, this dress checks every box and then some.
Dress #3: Floral Midi Dress
Confession - I may have purchased this dress solely for its smocked plunging back. I will never see it and be able to appreciate it, but alas, the world can marvel. This dress oozes all things flower child with its tasteful color blocking and explosion of lilies and daisies.
Again we are playing with a popular trend of voluminous sleeves, but don’t fret, we have the volume tempered with a classy sweetheart neckline that elongates the frame, ensuring that you don’t get swallowed up by fabric or volume.
The only downside of this dress is that it is unlined, but it’s nothing that a simple slip cannot fix. Finish this look with a pair of platforms or strappy flat sandals and be prepared to traipse around town as a bohemian queen.
Dress #4: Floral Off-Shoulder Dress
I believe that a woman's crowning glory is her collar bone. It’s the stuff dreams are made of and any chance you have to make your collar bone center stage, seize it. The off-shoulder component of this dress is what saves it from looking like a kindergarten teacher from the 90’s.
It’s a lot of robust floral, but the cinched-off shoulder breaks up the intensity of the pattern and ads a bit of flirt with some tasteful skin - all the stuff your kindergarten teacher would never do on a school night. Typically this dress would be in the no-fly zone for me, but the off-shoulder paired with a multi-patterned center band works to break up the pattern and brings visual interest. This dress brings comfort, modesty and just a hint of flirt.
Right On Target
While I have sneered at collaborations in the past, the alliances that Target has made with burgeoning designers Christopher John Rogers and Rixo are marvelous exceptions. Their designs are playful, unique, and suddenly accessible to the 99 percent with the help of Target’s price points. If you have felt that your summer dresses need a bit of an update but find that there’s nothing interesting in the assembly line of dresses you see out there, consider the collaborative genius of Target!
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