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Arts and Entertainment

Proenza Schouler, Meet Target

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Memo to Women Everywhere: Skinny, cigarette-leg jeans DO NOT LOOK GOOD ON EVERYONE! In fact, they look good on almost no one except size 0 supermodels, but those women would look good covered in elephant dung and wearing burlaps sacks. Skinny jeans are best suited for slim-hipped boyish figures. If you have hips and an ass, skinny jeans won't generally look good on you. Yeah, I'm talking to you. The chick whose wide hips and ample thighs look like overstuffed sausages thanks to those tight-ass, tapered-at-the-ankle jeans. Do yourself a favor. Go back to boot-cut. No matter how trendy cigarette jeans may be, do not be tempted! This too will pass. Just like rhinestone decked camouflage pants, platform espadrilles, Ugg boots with mini-skirts, trucker caps and gaucho capris.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's move on to the important news. Big box retailer Target is hoping that it has finally found a fashion line that tweens and cut-rate fashionistas can both drool over. Proenza Schouler's latest clothing line, a frothy "resort wear" collection none of which costs over $50, will debut in Target stores nationwide on February 1.

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Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, the design team behind Proenza Schouler*, have taken their edgy, mod-inspired approach to fashion and created a low-cost line that features skinny jeans (see above), cotton blazers, cropped jackets, flirty sundresses, preppy shorts, tropical-print sweaters and brightly colored separates like Jersey tees, windbreakers and polo shirts. The Minneapolis-based chain has been bringing designer fashions to the masses for over a year now as part of its Go International initiative, which has harnessed the talents of a variety of designers. But none of the designers previously commissioned by Target have possessed the originality or style of Proenza Schouler, which is known for its signature piped bustiers and dresses.

The advance pictures look great, but it's hard to tell without touching or trying on the clothes. The two areas where Target fashions consistently fail, even with its designer lines, are fabric and fit, and I've had my heart broken before.

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The first Go International line was a sorry affair designed by Luella Bartley. Lots of faux British-y preppy-meets-punk stuff, pants with attached suspenders (a trend I remember from my pre-teen years and still shudder at) and icky, acid-wash looking jeans with sewn-on hearts and patches. It looked like someone had raided a Contempo Casuals bargain bin circa 1987.

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The next designer line by Tara Jarmon was a noticeable improvement. The gallivanting-through-Rome-in-1963 feel of the clothes was charming, even if the colors were unflatteringly garish at times and the styles a bit twee.

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This was followed by Paul & Joe, a clothing line created by French designer Sophie Albou and named after her two sons. Up to now this was clearly Target's best of the Go International lines. The quality of the fabrics and especially the tailoring seemed the most sophisticated and high-quality. Not every piece worked, but the clothes were cute, playful and very wearable. I bought (and sometimes still wear) a black Kimono dress that people are always amazed to discover I purchased at Target for $30.

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Next came Behnaz Sarafpour, who's known for delicate, feminine gowns that can often be found gracing actresses on red carpets. Too bad her Target line looked like something spawned by a cracked out suburban mom on a Bedazzler-fueled rampage. T-shirts with large, ugly, fake jewels glue-gunned around the neck. Lots of icky black lace tacked to everything. And dreadfully cheap-looking fabrics. The only thing in the entire line that looked wearable was a white taffeta dress with a giant black ribbon fetchingly stitched around the waist. Complete and utter puke.

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Still, Target's Go International lines have been an interesting experiment in bringing an upmarket aesthetic to a distinctly downmarket clientele. All of the items in the Proenza Schouler line cost less than $50, and at those prices it’s hard to not be tempted.

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Look 1
Silk Bustier Top in Purple $49.99
Tissue Tank in Red $12.99 (also available in Yellow, Navy, Rose and Gray)
Button-Front Belted Skirt in Purple $29.99 (also available in Blue and Denim)

Look 2
Cotton Blazer in Rose $39.99 (also available in Navy and Light Gray)
Checked-Print Button-Down Seersucker Shirt $24.99
Skinny Pants in Gray $34.99 (also available in Off-White)

Look 3
Bubble-Print Coat in Purple $44.99 (also available in Stripe Print)

Look 4
Chain-Print Silk Wrap Top in Navy $34.99 (also available in Purple)
Tissue Tank in Yellow $12.99 (also available in Red, Navy, Rose and Gray)
Button-Front Belted Skirt in Blue $29.99 (also available in Purple and Denim)

Look 5
Cotton Blazer in Navy $39.99 (also available in Rose and Light Gray)
Short-Sleeve Logo Sweatshirt in Gray $17.99 (also available in Black)
Button-Down Shirt in White/Black $22.99 (also available in Yellow/ Light Blue)
Skinny Denim Jeans in Off-White $34.99 (also available in Light Gray)

Look 6
Tropical-Print Jacquard Sweater in Gray $34.99
Palm-Print Gauze Dress in Purple/Pink $34.99

Look 7
Hooded Anorak Jacket in Yellow $39.99 (also available in Black Chain-Print)
Button-Down Shirt in Black/White $24.99 (also available in Purple)
Canvas Bermuda Shorts in Rose $22.99 (also available in Black)

Look 8
Floral-Print Gauze Dress in Blue $34.99
Tissue Tank in Red $12.99 (also available in Yellow, Navy, Rose and Gray)

Look 9
Windbreaker in Red $29.99 (also available in Navy Short-Sleeve)
Jersey Boy Tee in Yellow $14.99 (also available in Green, Purple, Blue, White and Black)
Button-Front Belted Skirt in Purple $29.99 (also available in Blue and Denim)

* Hernandez and McCollough invented the name Proenza Schouler by combining their mothers' maiden names.