Thursday, April 26, 2007

Get it while it's Goot: Target stitches up another designer dynamo

We've seen McCartney-mania. Is it time for a Josh juggernaut?

Two months after Target shelves around the country were stripped bare within minutes of the arrival of a Stella McCartney collaboration collection, Target Australia plans to unveil a top secret project with one of Australia's brightest fashion lights, Josh Goot.

UPDATE: 16/05/07

Well don't say we didn't warn you................ Finally today, the worst kept secret in the Australian fashion industry - thanks to this blog's big mouth - was laid out in the open for all to see.

Yes indeedy, Target Australia has stitched up Josh Goot for a special limited-edition collaboration range. It's a lot smaller than the range Stella McCartney did for Target earlier this year - 12 pieces, as opposed to 42 - and it remains to be seen of course whether the Josh Goot name will resonate as well as McCartney's with Australian consumers, and if the latter will scratch each others' eyes out to get a piece of it in "selected" stores when it launches on June 19. As happened in a number of (the 100 designated) Target stores, with the McCartney mania of March 12th.

But with a veeeeeeery similar looking Josh Goot silver trench coat selling at Browns Focus in London right now for GBP290 (A$692), A$129.99 for the Target version looks to be one hell of a saving. The trench is the exxiest item in Goot's Target range, with prices starting at $59.99.

With racerback tanks, leggings, pencil skirts, cardigans, blazers and yes the infamous jersey trench coat in a colour palette of grey marle, silver, navy, black as well as Kelly green and a cobalt blue - all in a Tencel/wool blend, and in sizes from XS-L - Goot is pushing the signature 'tailored comfort' look of his first range shown in Sydney in May 2005.

As evidenced by the new collections shown in New York in February and Sydney a fortnight ago, he's moving on from that ever-so-slightly. That said, the theme of the latest collection was "future Roman sport". Let the Tarjay games begin.


Target is the principle sponsor of Goot's Fashion Week show on Thursday May 3 at 9.00am - and its logo appears on the invitation. But although neither the Target or Goot camps were spilling any other beans this afternoon, Fashion Season has learned that a Josh Goot/Target collaboration is due be either announced or else unveiled at Target in mid May.

It won't be without precedent of course in this market. Last year Target unveiled several styles from three other Australian labels, Alice McCall, Tina Kalivas and TL Wood, under the Designers For Target umbrella. A Target spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny whether Goot was the only Australian fashion brand involved with this latest Designers For Target project.

"I can't tell you anything other than Target are supporting me on this show" Goot told Fashion Season. "It's great to have their support - I think they've shown a commitment to young Australian designers over the past year".

The Stella McCartney range was sold in 100 Target stores around Australia. The 42-piece collection ranged in price from $29.99 for a scarf to $199.99 for a trenchcoat. Selling out in some stores within minutes, according to a Target source it was the retailer's most successful sales day ever in this market.

So just what might Josh Goot For Target look like? Dripping, most likely, in the designer's signature urban sport aesthetic.

Goot, now 27, made his runway debut at Fashion Week in May 2004 with a print-heavy streetwear brand called Platform. Launched a few months later his eponymous collection boasted a leitmotiv of "tailored comfort", with a simple concept: constructed wardrobe classics of the type normally made from woven fabrics, the trenchcoat, the blazer and trousers etc..., but fashioned instead from cotton jersey T-shirting. The entire, machine-washable collection came in grey marle, charcoal marle and silver. It earned Goot the 2005 Tiffany & Co Young Designer of The Year Award.

Goot's May 2005 Fashion Week show made an impact here and several months later, the front cover of high-profile US industry newspaper WWD. The brand was immediately picked up by prestigious London retailer Browns Focus and then swiftly by other key international retailers, notably the Colette emporium in Paris and Henri Bendel in New York.

In September last year Goot debuted at New York fashion week - with US Vogue later heralding him as the designer who kicked off the SS07 season's urban sport mood.

Goot showed for the second consecutive season in New York in February. He is committed to showing back in New York in September.

"This is the fourth show we've done in a year which is insane and it won't happen again" said Goot of next week's show, his southern hemisphere SS0708/international resort collection. "I felt that I hadn't finished the job here in this market. As far as positioning the brand and expressing the brand philosophy and mapping out our distribution, all these types of things, I think we have a little way to go, and hopefully the show will be another piece in the puzzle".

Apart from whatever promotion Target may be planning for the Goot project in mid May, could next week be the last Josh Goot show downunder?

"I wouldn't want to say that because that's got a lot of finality to it" said Goot. "I really enjoy showing here. It's in a sense much easeir than showing overseas. It's your own backyard. And I know how much of a role the Australian industry played in helping us build this brand. We've enjoyed a lot of support and in a sense I feel like showing once a year [here] is the least we can do to I suppose keep everyone's interest and kind of say thank-you".

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