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Fancy at a Fraction of the Cost

By Jen Hazen in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 3, 2009 4:45PM

image courtesy of Target
Thanks to la recession, high-end fashion designers are teaming up with mass retailers like never before, so you can look stylish at a fraction of the cost. Here’s a round-up of spring’s high/low collaborations, as well as some sneak peeks for fall 2009.

Loomstate for Target

Designer Rogan Gregory had such a successful collaboration with Target last spring, he and fellow designer Scott Hahn have signed on with the retailer for an encore presentation, Loomstate for Target, which launches April 19. The NYC-based duo pride themselves on creating casual American classics with a modern fit, made from 100% certified organic cotton and other sustainable materials, like silk and linen. The clothing feels very 'lazy day at the beach' sans frump—zip-front hoodies and printed board shorts for men, as well as slouchy tops and simple dresses for women. Their gray/pink plaid tunic dress (pictured) is pretty cute. But the graphic tees? zzzzzz... Prices range from $14.99 - $44.99, a far cry from the prices of their high-end line—upwards of $200. Check out the entire collection here.

Matthew Williamson for H&M

British designer Matthew Williamson brings his color-saturated, boldly printed separates to H&M just in time for summer. The women’s line includes a cropped olive-colored leather jacket, a khaki jumpsuit, a printed, sequin mini dress with bell sleeves, and an electric blue suit with fuchsia piping. Wallflowers may want to steer clear. Unfortunately, the men's line is still hush hush. Sorry, guys. Like previous H&M high-low designer collaborations, Williamson’s pieces are a bit pricier than the Swedish retailer’s typical stock. Prices range from $25 for a pendant necklace to $249 each for the leather jacket and sequin mini dress mentioned. Yikes. Yet they’re still a fraction of the cost compared to Williamson’s regular collection. The first delivery of the designer’s line (women’s) will arrive at select H&M stores on April 23, followed by a second delivery on May 14 worldwide (both women’s and men’s). You can check out a portion of the women's collection here.

Comme des Garçons PLAY for Converse

Sometimes we feel all weird inside when Converse starts messing with their classic shoe design. The Kurt Cobain Chucks made us sad. And the Original Jams? No comment. So when we heard about Converse's collab with Comme des Garçons PLAY( PLAY is the high-end fashion house’s youthy line), we were skeptical. The four shoe designs are quite plain. They’re basically Chuck Taylors and Chuck Taylor Highs, in white or black, featuring the PLAY ‘heart with googly eyes’ logo on the side of the shoe. The black kicks feature a white stripe on the heel, while the white ones feature a black stripe on the heel. And there’s another PLAY logo on the inner sole. Sneaker freaks, take your mark. The shoes will be released in July online at RS1 and can be shipped worldwide.

Rick Owens for Eastpak

Eastpak, famous for the standard backpack that’s schlepped across college campuses nationwide, is getting a luggage makeover from Paris-based American fashion designer Rick Owens. Much like the designer’s minimalist, goth, neutral-toned DRKSHDW clothing line, Owens has created the DRKSHDW luggage collection—eleven styles of bags with a simple, seamless look in faded shades of black, beige, and lavender. Prices aren’t available yet, but expect the collection to hit online retailers in September 2009.

Y for Dr. Martens

Dr. Martens, those shit-kicking steel toe boots loved by punks and grunge kids, live on. And Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto (aka Y), who has designed insanely patterned DMs in a past collaboration with the English shoe manufacturer, is ready for round two. Yamamoto brings the somber colors and gender-bender style of his fashion line to his DM collection with autumn-colored brocade, nubby tweed, and traditional herringbone designs that are pretty cool. Look for them online in the fall ‘09. And, unfortunately, prices aren’t available yet.