I know I do a fair amount of Gap-bashing here (mainly because every time I walk home from work I am confronted by an endless row of their ads along Orchard Road, featuring very insipid clothing), but this time, I have a few good words for their Design Editions line.
Thakoon, Doo.ri and Rodarte (winners of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards last year) are offering up their spin on the classic white shirt, and when it was first announced a few weeks back , I thought the line looked pretty promising.

Having checked out the range of offerings in the webbie, I have to say, it seems pretty cool. I was particularly interested in what Doori Chung was going to come up with, because she mostly does draped jersey, and you want to know what kind of 'shirt' person she's going to be -

I did like the first shirt very much, because it has a a very 'soft' feel - though all these observations need to be confirmed with an actual visit to the store - without looking all 'peasant-y' and bohemian. The second shirt with the pleating is also very nice - kind of preppy, kind of Comme.
Thakoon's offerings were somewhat less of a surprise - but I liked them anyway - given that it's features his usual romantic touches of volumes and gathers. His shirtdresses were the standout for me, and I like how Stella Tennant is wearing it in the campaign.

I kept wondering if Rodarte's attempts could be counted as cheating - because this is not a white shirt -

In fact, none of them were -

That aside, even on its own, the white blouses were just...okay. I mean, a bow-festooned tank is a VERY watered down and somewhat unimaginative version of what they usually do.

Still, points for the swingy trapeze top, and the crisp white dress also looks promising.

This whole initiative feels different from all whole deluge of designer-reaching-the-masses collaborations because it's not about offering cheap versions of their main lines. It does make the creations of these designers more accessible, but more importantly, it shows us a side of these designers that you don't usually see. Would Rodarte have thought of offering a classic white shirt on their own? (They still didn't but at least now you know it's not really part of their vocab in a traditional sense.)

Points also to the imaginative way the pieces have been styled, similar to the way it looks on this month's American Vogue cover (Gap is definitely sharing stylists with them, or at least getting pointers from Anna Wintour's seemingly limitless reach) -

(It's not the best cover I've ever seen, but great use of white shirts and ballgowns.)
And it's a GREAT way push fledging designers into the spotlight - I really take my hat off to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund because as far as I know, nothing of this sort really exists anywhere else. You could argue that this ends up promoting a few Vogue favourites over lesser-known but equally (if not more) talented designers, but I would argue that giving some talent the chance to shine is better than letting them languish into bankruptcy.
Wish we had something like that in Singapore.
Pictures from www.gap.com ; www.style.com


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