Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Imperial Glass for. . .Target??

I'm a huge Target fan. HUGE.  I love that they pioneered the marriage of sophisticated design and low-cost utilitarianism. It's scary how much of my clothing comes from that place. They're the only store that carries my favorite flavor of Luna bar. Even the lighting is better than other stores - have you noticed? It's always sunny in Target.

I once hiked four blocks in knee-deep snow to visit Target just because I needed a fix of their cheery red-and-white decor after days of being homebound by a blizzard. And I'm not afraid to admit it.

I've been reading for a couple months about a  new partnership betwen Target and Neiman Marcus to jointly offer a line of holiday giftware by high-end design houses. It seemed kind of weird: Does the typical Neiman's customer have that much in common with Tarjay shoppers?  I guess so!

The line has finally arrived at my local store -- I spotted it the other day. My particular Target chose to awkwardly display the line in the middle of the toddler clothing section (??), crammed on makeshift cardboard display units with their backs turned to the aisles. Way to promote, Glendale Target. 

Mixed in with the kiddie tee-shirts and onesies, I spotted all manner of designer goodness. A Tory Burch lunch kit; a Carolina Herrera cosmetic bag set; Rodarte Christmas ornaments!  My intial favorites were the DVF jewelry box and the Marc Jacobs metallic clutches.

And then I spotted it:  The Altuzarra barware collection. The gold-toned cocktail shaker and the heavy rocks glasses were right up my alley. They were glam; they were gilded; they were vintage inspired. They were....familiar?

I instantly realized that they look remarkably like vintage Imperial Glass. Some of you may remember my post on vintage gold Imperial Glass from way back in May. The "Shoji" pattern - with its geometric trellis design - is probably the most well-known of the gilded Imperial barware from that era, but the "Sekai Ichi" pattern is also very well known and highly collectable.
Here's a picture of a Sekai Ichi ice bucket from the website:

And here's a set of Altuzarra glasses from Target:

Uncanny, isn't it? :)   
At first, I was thrilled at the thought of purchasing a set of four Sekai Ichi-esque rocks glasses, since the originals are rather rare and quite pricey. I quickly noticed, though, that while the glasses are nowhere near the price of Imperial Glass originals, they are still quite pricey for Target glassware at $49.99 a set. I couldn't justify the purchase so close to the holidays. I also began to feel a bit conflicted. I freely admit that I've owned more than a few vintage knock-offs in my time, usually due to affordability issues. In this case, though, the collection is specifically supposed to consist of original designs by today's top designers, and these seem to be a bit more than just "inpsired by" the Imperial originals.  And yet...they're gorgeous, heavy, and high quality, so I'm kind of glad they exist. 
And so it goes. If these should happen to go on clearance after Christmas, I can't promise I won't pick up a set. Or maybe a shaker, which would look fabulous alongside some original Imperial Shoji, Sekai Ichi, or other gilded barware of the era.
How about you?  Do you think these look too much like the Imperial designs to be considered "designer originals?"  What is your stance on vintage knock-offs? 
PS: Peruse the whole [fabulous] Target + Neiman Marcus Collection here!


  1. I am so with you on the love of Target. Have you seen the decor items from the Shops at Target? (The Curiosity Shop and Patch NYC, which is from the same people behind Anthropologie). Some of that stuff is still available online and is on sale. Anyway, I have not checked out the Neiman Marcus collaboration yet, so thanks for previewing it. My stance on vintage knock offs is mixed. I love the original if it is affordable and accessible, but I think vintage-inspired can be a great alternative if you're trying to achieve a look at a certain price point. What bugs me is when the vintage inspired pieces are at a higher price point than you could buy the originals for on Etsy!

    1. Good point Marium! And yes...I was in LOVE with the Patch NYC collection, in particular. I stalked one of the duvet sets forever, hoping it would go on clearance, but someone snapped it up before I could. I should have just given in and paid full price. :(

  2. I love Target. I love love love it. Lipstick, awesome mugs, sweaters and toys all in one place - the stationary, the weird tights...I love target.
    I did not really love anything in the Neiman Marcus collection. Ours was totally weirdly placed too, in the girl's section. Fashion - home or clothing - is cyclical, for sure, so I suspect that there's nothing original in the world, just new takes on old ideas...

  3. I have a love-hate relationship with Target (and IKEA and H&M for that matter). They are really good at marketing and bringing vintage and cool design to the masses for super-low prices (though like their ugly uncool stepsister Walmart, their stuff almost always come from China). I actually get quite annoyed when I find a cool-looking piece at the thrifts, and I turn it over to discover an IKEA or Target stamp with Made in China underneath. I do buy stuff at both places, but mostly the more utilitarian things. I don't think I would get Target barware or even coffee cups when there are so many better and authentic options from the second-hand market for a true vintage and quality lover. However, they really do excel at making their products attractive, but for me only in the short term. Just my two cents, of course :-)

  4. I am with you on being torn about buying that seems to be a knockoff. All of the Neiman Marcus + Target is 50% off now. Here are the glasses:

  5. Those are definitely my favorite part of the collaboration. I think they're actually on clearance already and I'm tempted to pick some up... I can't resist gold!

  6. I'd say the evidence of copying there is pretty damning, but that shouldn't infringe on anyone's ability to enjoy the glasses. Like Mad Maine I have a love/hate relationship with the store. It's definitely capitalism at its best, curating a bright store that's fun to shop through. I'm still adhering to Buy Nothing New rules and don't buy anything but essentials from Target but I will admit it's inspiring and uplifting to go through the aisles.

  7. My Target had their display in the kids section as well, right when you walk in. Very strange! But I guess it grabs your attention right away. I had to resist from buying all the gorgeous dresses!

  8. I think they're great but I agree they should be a little bit cheaper! ;) I hear so much about Target -- can't wait until they get their stores into Canada. Coming soon! :)


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