Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Kardashian Fashion Empire in Crisis
Fashionistas may need to find a new trio of sisters to keep up with.

Two major hits to the Kardashian fashion empire surfaced on Thursday. The first: Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian's line with Bebe stores has come to a close for now.

"We are very pleased with the performance of the 'Kardashians for bebe' apparel collection and have immensely enjoyed our design collaboration with Kim, Khloe and Kourtney. They are terrific brand ambassadors and resonate really well with our clients," the official statement for Bebe said. "Our original ready to wear agreement with the Kardashians began last February and will conclude with the upcoming Resort Delivery."
The announcement comes on the heels of Bebe president Emilia Fabricant revealing he was reconsidering their partnership. "The sisters do still have relevance. We need to move with fashion and we want to be first in the fashion world with everybody else and not fall behind," Fabricant told WWD as reported by NYmag.com's The Cut blog. "We are definitely assessing the situation.

But wait, there's more: Thursday's New York Times Critical Shopper column called the sisters' NYC Dash boutique a major fashion don't.

"Dash is a fashion desert, just oodles of drippy cowl necks and embellished cap sleeves and synthetic fibers," the story reported. "Clothes are essentially split into two categories of fit: vacuum-sealed and hot-air balloon."
The overpriced clothes, including an animal print dress for $308 and a hat for $430, seemed questionable at best. "You could wear this look, in the same way you could hire an enthusiastic 5-year-old as your stylist," Times writer Jon Caramanica snipes.
Not all of the boutique's items are so costly. In an area the column dubs "the gift shop," visitors can purchase a Dash-branded water with a picture of the sisters for a mere $10, Kardashian tanning products, and QuikTrim products hawked by Kim.

Shoppers tend to do more browsing than actual purchasing, Caramanica says. "As in most theme parks, there wasn't anything worth carrying away but memories."
But no, the A-Team, my reliable shopping compatriots, did not come all this way to rain misery and scorn on the Kardashians. Our embrace isn’t post-ironic or contempt-driven; it’s genuine. The Kardashians are make-gooders, admirable for their persistence and good cheer.

Not that the clothes didn’t have ambition. “High-end knockoffs,” scoffed Bolt — which is to say, overpriced knockoffs of already overpriced things. A long-sleeved hot pink velvet minidress by Backstage ($176) was a direct Betsey Johnson rip, and one of only a handful of splashes of color in the store. There were even a pair of shoppers who were high-end knockoffs of Kris and Bruce, the sisters’ mother and stepdad. (Higher-end, if I’m being completely honest.)

But an oversize, heavily draped Native American-inspired Twelfth St. by Cynthia Vincent vest ($456), which Bolt proclaimed to be perfect for “Kim at the airport,” reminded me most of an H & M ad on a bus shelter near my apartment: “Cardigan, $29.95.”

A floppy suede Eugenia Kim hat ($276) suggested a daytime Kourtney, or a nighttime Khloé. One of the store’s best items was a hooded draped black vest, by Rachel Pally ($226), suitable either for a post-yoga Kim, or stylish pagans.

It’s difficult not to imagine Dash as the Kardashians’ personal closet. Why aren’t the clothes sold in mini-environments corresponding to each sister? You know if you’re a Kim or a Khloé. Why have to dig around to find the clothes to match?

Some items were baffling. Even Khloé on her worst pre-marriage day might have struggled with the pink fur shrug ($484). The less said of the leisure-wear by Wildfox Couture, which makes Juicy Couture look like Rick Owens, the better. Bolt sniffed out a pair of black sequined leggings from 6126 Collection by Lindsay Lohan ($154). Ace puzzled over a pair of what appeared to be kneeless tights: “Who wants to show that part of their body?”

The most perplexing item in the store was a gorgeous black moto-esque leather jacket by Veda ($738), whose closet-size Ludlow Street storefront is consistently stunning. Had something this fantastic been misrouted by U.P.S.?

Such questions about clothes might not matter at all. One section of the store had reasonably priced trinkets to commemorate one’s visit — call it the gift shop. There were bottles of Dash-branded water with a photo of the sisters visible on the inside (a mere $10), candles, a Kardashian tanning product, Kim-endorsed QuickTrim items. (These are less damaging to the pocketbook than the recently discontinued Kardashian Kard, a prepaid credit card that was pulled for its predatory fee structure.)

Even those low-hanging fruit weren’t tempting to all. “We’re just here for the weekend, shopping,” one customer told a salesclerk, though she left without even a bottle of Dash water to show her friends back home. We had to concur: As in most theme parks, there wasn’t anything worth carrying away but memories.

That night, Fleur dreamed of Khloé, intimately. “I think that when I dream about a Kardashian,” she wrote in an e-mail, “I’m really dreaming about myself.”

How do you guys feel about the Kardashian Sisters? Do you think they're too branded? I personally love women who are independent & grind it out for their success.

Photo Credits to: GrownBlack&Sexy.org

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