Monday, June 11, 2007

"She Got Her Dress Where?"

She Got Her Dress Where?

SANDRA M. JONES; Chicago Tribune

In a marriage of discount and dreams, a major retailer wants to prove that a once-in-a-lifetime experience doesn’t require a once-in-a-lifetime investment. So here comes the bride … in a budget wedding gown from Target.The gowns, sold through for less than $200, have appeared in recent weeks on “Oprah” and on the pages of Lucky and Glamour magazines. And they’ve caused a stir on fashion blogs, where their arrival has ignited a debate about whether there are any boundaries left when it comes to saving money.Perhaps it was only a matter of time before a store like Target decided to get in on one of life’s most sacred, ceremonial and expensive undertakings. The nation’s second-largest discount retailer pioneered the idea of bringing design and style to the masses in everything from teapots and baby clothes to ottomans and chocolates.


Marketing to brides is nothing new for the Minneapolis-based retailer, which has operated its Club Wedd registry for more than a decade. Only time will tell if adding wedding gowns to the list is a logical extension or an overreach of the “cheap chic” phenomenon the chain gets credit for popularizing.“It certainly is quite bold,” said Wendy Liebmann, president of WSL Strategic Retail, a New York-based consulting firm that has studied the bridal industry. “It’s taking them into an area where you say: ‘Wait a minute. Is it cheesy to buy your wedding dress at Target for $100?’ It’s a very delicate balance. If anybody has the brand equity to do it, Target is the one.”Cheap chic – sometimes also referred to as the democratization of fashion – has led Americans to expect both thoughtful design and a low price. You can pin the idea on the convergence of warehouse-style stores, an increasingly sophisticated public and a faster-paced economy that now brings the freshest ideas from Paris and Milan to the mall in a matter of weeks.

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