Designer Collabs: What Cost Designer?

I saw a little something on Pinterest recently: a picture of pretty shoes with the caption proclaiming that Manolo Blahnik will be doing a collaboration with J.Crew in the fall. Manolo Freaking Blahnik. The man whose shoe sketches used to adorn my walls in high school. The man with the impossible stiletto. My heart beat a bit faster. My palms began to sweat. My fingers began to fly across the keyboard as I searched Google for more information.

And then, all my hopes came crashing to the ground. My vague hope of one day wearing my very own Manolos were dashed by the revelation that the collaboration of Manolo prints on a rather simple J.Crew pump is still ringing up at approximately $550. For that price, you could buy a Manolo label shoe.

Manolo Blahnik for J.Crew

Target perfected the designer collaboration, and now many stores that cater to a shopper without an unlimited budget are collaborating with big names. The Missoni x Target collab showed that collaborations are highly in demand. Generally people will pay a little more for the designer name, with the knowledge that the quality will be on par with the store’s usual brands. It’s a trade-off. And sometimes it’s worth it. There are a lot of great designer collabs out there. Some worth looking at:

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Get the Look–Long Overdue: Reese Witherspoon’s Dress

There is a short list of books that I love.  I read all the time, which means I’m pretty picky about my favorite books.  One of those favorites combines some things I love: history, the circus, elephants, and drinking jake.  (Just kidding on the last one.)  The book is Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.  It recently got made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson (hey, something else I like!).  Saw the movie, it was good, almost lived up to my high expectations.  During the initial opening weekend hype, though, I fell in LOVE.  I fell in love first of all with Tai, the movie’s elephant,

but I also fell in love with Reese Witherspoon’s Jason Wu dress:

Love the shape, love the embellishment, love the black and white.  And, of course, I love the vintage feel.  I took on the challenge to find a dress that replicates the general feel of this dress.  Since we can’t all afford designer dresses, we can certainly get the basic look of this gorgeous dress.

First up: The Royal Reef Dress from Modcloth.

Yes, it’s purple.  The basic shape of the dress is the same; a full skirt with a high scoop neck and wide straps.  In place of the contrasting embellishment, it has floral brocade and a beautiful abstract floral ruffle cascading down the front.  It replicates the vintage feel and the special occasion sense of the dress.

Next up is the Audrey Mini Dress from Trashy Diva Clothing.

It is the quintessential LBD.  Audrey, of course, stands for Audrey Hepburn–how could it be for anyone else?  She is the essence of classic chic.  Again, the high scoop neck, full skirt, and wide straps are in place.  It has no embellishment, other than a very simple belt.  It is by no means, plain, however; the cotton velvet material makes it classy.

In a slightly different direction we have the Dance of the Swans Dress from ModCloth.

This is not at all a duplicate for the Jason Wu dress.  However, I felt like this has something of the delicacy and femininity of the original dress.  I was enchanted by the tulle skirt and the ruffles.  And, of course, it shares the original black and white color scheme.

A real vintage look comes with the Annalise Dress from Pinup Couture.

This black swing dress is embellished with blue swallows.  I love the sweetheart neckline on this dress.  It’s a little longer than any of the other choices, and could almost go from day to evening.

My last pick may seem a little eccentric: the Finalist Dress from ModCloth.

It’s  not black and white.  It’s not a scoop neck.  It’s blue and silver and brocade with a keyhole under the u-shaped neckline.  But it’s FABULOUS.  It’s a statement dress, just like the original Jason Wu.  I love the waist so much; I feel like anyone could be hourglassy in this dress.

So, what do you think?  Did I capture the essence of the Jason Wu dress?  Or did I miss the mark?