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 Replacements.com 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!