Tag Archives: Baby Gap

Is the Gap Back? Also, ‘A Proposition for Prep’

Hello-Hello, happy top of a new week to everyone.

Today we begin with a look at a topic we have been pondering lately, how things are going for the Gap. Some may recall earlier posts in this space about challenges facing the retailer, this weekend’s Times carried an interesting story about the company, “A Humbled Gap Tries a Fresh Coat of Pep“.  The lead sentence makes perfect sense to someone like myself who has been following Gap’s misfortunes, and wondering about the company’s marketing plan.

“THIS can’t be a Gap: the mannequins look kind of happy.”

That covers a broad swath of things related to Gap’s ongoing dilemma, more on the company’s situation can be found in Stephanie Clifford’s story:

After defining 1990s khaki culture, Gap fell hard in the early 2000s. Management missteps, executive turnover and, not least, unappealing fashion punished sales. It was a remarkable comedown for a chain that once seemed to dictate how America dressed.

What went wrong? Dozens of interviews with current and former executives depict a company that chased after rivals, rather than charting its own course, and that cut quality and lost touch with customers. Simply put, it filled its stores with stuff that people didn’t want.

I don’t know about your Palace, but that second paragraph resonates here at The Prepatorium, especially the quality issue. Parenthetically, it is also a description one could apply almost verbatim to Talbots current status.

It looks like some basics are back on track, like Gap’s Oxford Shirts.

Gap

While not a close observer or customer of the Baby Gap line, it seemed from what we noticed in online and print ads that this part of the company retained its focus and core products fairly well….yes?  For those in touch with the children’s clothing, was quality an issue here as well, or not so much?

Baby Gap

The DVF for Baby Gap and Gap Kids line is insanely cute. (More on this collaboration may be found here.)

DVF for Baby Gap

Below, two marketing images from this spring demonstrates the retailer’s commitment to vivid colors.

Gap

More from the NY Times story:

But recent moves seem to be spurring sales. The clothes are bright and fabrics better. (Mr. Peck mandates a minimum weight for T-shirts and knits.) And Gap has added production flexibility so it can chase trends it initially missed — for instance, it just rushed in floral-printed jeans for women.

Again, the emphasis on plenty of brights.

Gap

The back to basics mantra is also influencing the men’s clothing and accessories.

Gap

Other initiatives don’t seem as popular, like the brand’s flip-flops, at least if judging by comments left on the Gap Facebook page, there is some push back on these when it comes to the price, $24.95.

The story closes with a paragraph about Gap’s collection for this winter.

Mannequins wore winter gear, like an updated cable-knit sweater with a slouchy fit. The rest of the collection was red, navy and camel — peppy and preppy.

It looked like something that had been missing for a long time: it looked like the Gap.

It would be wonderful to see Gap back again.

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Also today, a quick look at a piece done over at The Bag Snob titled “The Top 5 Preppy Bags: A Proposition for Prep“:

The Bag Snob

In the story Bag Snob Tina writes:

The word “preppy” tends to have a very specific connotation. Somehow, eighties imagery of Lacoste alligators, Nantucket Reds, and Sperry topsiders (not that they’ve even left preppy dudes’ closets) still hover.

But I’m noticing a freshly cut crop of clean-cut bags that put the “hip” in “prepster,” if you will. Whether you carry yours with a hint of irony or without blinking an eye, it’s time to embrace a little bit of modern prep.

The Anya Hindmarch ‘Nevis’ color block tote is very attractive, that color combo is perfect for the summer!

Until next time may your skies be bright and beautiful!

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Filed under Collaborations, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion

J. Crew Execs Everywhere, Are Crossword Puzzles an Ivy Thing?

Hello-Hello and Happy Monday!  We hope everyone enjoyed a splendid weekend!

It seems this past weekend had a bit of a J. Crew management theme in some of the national media. As previously mentioned, J. Crew Grand Pooh-Bah Mickey Drexler was profiled yesterday on CBS’ “Sunday Morning” program.  The feature looks quite interesting, click here to see the full story.

Also this Sunday, the LA Times carried an interesting story on Jenna Lyons, J. Crew’s Design Director.

PHOTO: Melanie Acevedo

PHOTO: Melanie Acevedo

If curious about what duties and responsibilities her job actually involves, the story explains:

“That title means she’s in charge of every design element of the company, website and catalog, and it’s her attention to detail — delicate beading, raw edges, crepe de Chine ruffles — that sets J.Crew apart from other mall stores. The company’s ability to be both aspirational and attainable has made it popular with Indianapolis career women and Birkin-toting Malibu trophy wives alike.”

Fashion Critic Booth Moore’s article looks at the ‘cult of Jenna’:

“Bloggers evaluate her personal as well as professional style, contributing to the budding cult of Jenna. They wax eloquently about her love of neutral colors, Sharpie pens and Maybelline Cool Watermelon lipstick.

When it comes to the monetization of this phenomenon or other tangible values attached to such popularity, stock analysts aren’t necessarily seeing it:

“But praise in the blogosphere can’t guarantee a surge in sales of all those pencil skirts and cardigans. “Nobody needs another one-pocket tee or twin set or pleat-front skirt,” says Richard Jaffe, a retail analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus and Co. “Your closet is full of them.”

This feature on Ms. Lyons, when read in tandem with the CBS profile on CEO Mickey Drexler, provides insight into the business of fashion. More from the LA Times piece:

“The chief executive and the designer behave a little like a father-daughter team. Over lunch at Cecconi’s in West Hollywood, she tells him that “being back here even for one day, all my insecurities come back. Women here are in such great shape. Everyone is blond and beautiful. Girls are trying on bathing suits and coming out of the dressing rooms and I’m like, ‘Just stay in there!’ “

The story also  offers a look at select items from the Fall 2009 J. Crew Weddings & Parties line.

Lucinda Gown at JCrew.com

Lucinda Gown at JCrew.com

The dress is a poly/cotton/silk blend retailing for $2500.  Also shown, the cotton Erica dress in Cypress, a color available this fall.  (Note: our link connects to the current Erica dress, with most colors on sale for $99.)

Erica Dress at JCrew.com

Erica Dress at JCrew.com

And finally in our “J. Crews News section” this morning, word the company’s spinoff brand Madewell 1937 is launching a jeans collection deemed “… a bit more price friendly.”

Courtesy Photo via WWD

Courtesy Photo via WWD

This morning’s WWD (Women’s Wear Daily, subscription req’d.) reports on the new line, Madewell ’37s, focusing on a single “skinny skinny” jean available in five colors. Perhaps most importantly,the new jean will retail at $58.50; other Madewell denim starts at $78.

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

As far as differentiating the new jeans from other ?

“The tag line for marketing the ’37s is “Cool jeans. Great price. We’ve got your back.”’

This article also quotes J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler:

“There’s a new world today. The denim customer is no longer trading up to higher price points. With customers giving us feedback and the marketplace changing, it was pretty clear there was a need to come out with a collection of jeans a bit more price friendly. Jeans at $92 to $110 represented the heart of the business.”

While we are not exactly the Madewell demo (cough-cough), it is good to see retailers being smart in pricing.

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Our final item today has *nothing* to do with either J. Crew Group or Mr. Drexler, not that we are Drexler-averse, to the contrary, we think very highly of his skills. We just need to chat about something else, don’t you think?

No, our next item involves a statement contained within this story in yesterday’s Times, a feature looking at the continued demise of the crossword puzzle, along with other puzzles, in many publications.

“The Atlantic’s Puzzler, which will take its final bow in September, and The New York Sun’s crossword are among the most notable recent casualties, in part because of their Ivy League street cred. (Let’s face it: the crosswords in TV Guide and People magazine seldom generate heat at Hamptons dinner parties.)”

“Ivy League street cred?” Now, TP adores her crossword puzzles. Nothing is quite as comforting as settling in with pen (it must be a very specific pen you understand) and newspaper, generally the Times, but we have been known to utilize others in a pinch. But we have never heard them associated with an Ivy, that is a new one for us.

Have you heard of such an affiliation in anyone’s mind previously? More importanly, do you use pen or pencil when you do the puzzle? When pondering how to best answer these deep questions, do keep in mind the world’s fate hangs in the balance. (Heh-heh.)

With this wackiness we say G’bye until next time!

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Filed under preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion