Skeptics may call it Liberty of China rather than Liberty of London, but I must admit, although the sewing of the garments and the translation of Liberty of London to polyester is not of the same quality as the original Liberty of London, Liberty for Target is amazing for the price. The collection arrived in stores this morning and is briskly selling out in the US. It is also available at Liberty in the UK. After seeing it in person, its easy to see why the collection is selling well. Overall, I have to give this collection a rave. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. I am an avowed Liberty Lurver, with purchases from the original store in London on Regent Street during each and every trip to the UK since I was 9 years old. I was wondering how the fabulous Liberty prints would translate from fine pinpoint cotton to polyester, but most of them retain their luster and classic look. The maxi dresses and shift dresses are polyester prints. Only a few of the sun dresses are cotton. I set out today to two Targets with the goal of getting the above pictured ruffled blouse, the peacock print peasant top, the Turquoise Isis print sleeveless top and the one shoulder ruffled maxi dress in the Pink Gala. Happily, my quest was successful, although I had to order the maxi dress online. I got the items on my wish list, and tried on many others that were better looking in person, than I thought they would be from looking at the online stock photos.
So, here’s the lowdown on Liberty for Target, and the things to look for when you go to your local Target. First and foremost, you need to know about the fit. The dresses are very flowy, and the draping on most of them is loose. Many of the dresses are not very fitted, with the exception of the Sateen shift dress, which is more figure hugging. I saw two ladies give each other high-fives because there were actually a few Liberty for Target dresses in size 16 (Misses sized). They were excited to see the Liberty baby doll black sun dress in larger sizes. You would never see that in a TargetGo collection. These ladies were overjoyed. Finally, they would be able to wear something from a Target designer collaboration. TargetGo has run notoriously small and tween sized. Liberty for Target does not. Because the fit is a bit looser on most of these dresses, my advice is that you look at the fit by your bust size rather than hip or waist size. Most of the dresses have elastic fitting around the waist, or draw string ties for adjustment. Everything is knee length or just hitting the knee, as the original Liberty of London dresses do. These are not the tarty version of Liberty for London pieces ala some of the Topshop Kate Moss Liberty stuff. There are no bustiers or mini skirts here. The designs are true to the original Liberty garments in my opinion. One updated Liberty look is the jumpsuit in the Dunclare print. The jumpsuit is a non-traditional Liberty item, but I tried it on and I loved it. I didn’t buy it because I hate hassling with jumpsuits on an evening out when its time to visit the women’s restroom. Its always a pain to get in and out of a jumpsuit to go to the bathroom. I see its now sold-out online, and that makes me want to reconsider my decision.:) The Liberty one piece swimsuits are well done, but the black and white Dunclare print one is a tad low cut in my opinion, so watch that. You have to really lace it up. I like the strapless suit with the green peacock like Turquoise Isis print a bit more. The green strapless swimsuit is now in stock online. For me, the highlight of the womenswear is the amazing Sateen Trench Coat. I just found the Liberty coat at one my local Targets,and it is amazing. Really, Jean Shrimpton or Twiggy would’ve loved the sixties style of it. I snatched it up. The inset waist band gives it fantastic shape, and a streamlined fit. The lapels are well done, and there is no sloppy stiching. So glad to have found it on a Tylenol run!
The accessories are not of the highest quality, but the prints looks pretty and for the prices, the umbrellas, hats and totes are of decent quality. There are a couple of Pleather PVC Liberty totes now available for order online that you might want to check out. The online pictures are way cute of the Poppy bag and the blue Jennifer tote.
On the blouses, pay attention to the sleeves on the garments on the peasant blouses. Sometimes the arm hole length is not the correct size, and so there will be puckering and poor fit. Since most of Liberty is sleeveless, this is not a major concern, but do watch it on the peasant tops and the traditional shirts.
On the Liberty housewares, this is not top of the line stuff. No fine English bone china with Liberty prints here, but you can’t really expect that for the price. There are cute melamine platters and trays. I don’t know how they will hold up over time, but my guess is that they will fade and start to look a bit battered after a few washings. However, for the price, if you love Liberty, they will be lovely to have in your home for awhile. Most of the plates, teapots and mugs were sold out at the two Targets I visited. Target team members told me those were some of the first items to sell out. The tea cups I saw looked really pretty, but only odds and ends were left. Likewise, the decorative pillows were all gone. They were some of the first items to be snatched up by Liberty affecianados storming Targets at 8 :00 am this morning. The bedding was also in high demand. I saw the plastic chairs, which I would rate as just ok. They were nothing special, but the Liberty prints do make them distinctive. The picture frame with the Liberty prints on the edges are very attractive, and well done for the price.
There was still plenty of stationery, candles ( I bought a sugared grapefruit scented candle in a paper printed Liberty holder) and decorative storage bins left at the Targets I visited. There was also plenty of the men’s apparel, including beautiful ties with Liberty prints on them. I don’t know if the average American man will want to wear a Liberty print tie, since many men still wear versions of stripped Catholic school uniform ties, but I hope a few men will try them out. The ties are already sold-out online, but I would bet money, its the wives and girlfriends who are buying them, not the guys. I didn’t see any guys looking at the Liberty for men’s stuff in Target. I speak from painful past experience of buying an original Liberty of London tie for an boyfriend who thought it was too feminine to be wearable.
On a final note, I have to give major props for customer service to Target employees at the Torrance and Redondo Beach, CA stores. In the Redondo store, an errant jar of pasta sauce spilled as I was leaving the checkout counter and could’ve easily splattered all over my sold-out Liberty blouses. It felt like before the jar even hit the floor, 3 Target employees were gathered around cleaning everything up. At the Torrance store, the staff at the customer service center was beyond helpful in trying to locate the one shoulder floral maxi dress for me. When none could be found, they helped me order it online from Target.com. I got it right before they sold out.
Let me know what you think readers and if you were able to snap up any Liberty today at your local Target. I’ll be curious to hear what Target-Addict and the rest of you think of the collection!
PS, after I posted this review, I got a tip from a reader that Target will actually be selling bags made from the materials on the billboards at the NY pop-up shop. I thought it sounded absurd, but it must be true, because it is on the Target website. Click here to see the Liberty vinyl bag made from the Target pop-up shop. Is this mercenary or green fashion that reuses materials instead of throwing them away? What do you think?
Above is a picture of the bag. The bags will not be available until Sept. 2010, but you can pre-order now for $29.99.