Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Trend Spotting: The Gap's Image Makeover

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 4:30 PM

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Mike Albo's hilarious Critical Shopper piece in yesterday's Times, about the Gap's mission to lure back youthful customers with new designer Patrick Robinson -- comes packaged with an amazing little nutgraph. It follows Aldo's distaste and incredulity over the amount of Europeans who were pushing and shoving and snatching their way around the flagship store he visited:

At first it was difficult to understand why the Eurofolk were so intense about this place. It leaves the bland taste of the 1990s in my mouth. I see the square blue sign, and it calls to mind Helen Hunt on "Mad About You," sitting on a puffy couch in comfy khakis and a big, shapeless chambray shirt, holding a huge mug of tea with both hands. When Gap was at its peak of influence, Seinfeld was a style icon. Blech.
Hah! "Blech," he intones, and truly, that says it all. Guess not even having those hottie knuckleheads from Gossip Girl pose for the chain's print ads last winter could take away the pleated-khaki taint of Mad About You.

Incidentally, the Gap's image first took a major aesthetic shift, for me, after the release of that semi-creepy "Mellow Yellow" commercial, featuring a floor-full of doe-eyed early-day hipsters who were all in blue shirts and brown corduroys. I was ever so hopeful, but boy were those pants ill-fitting. Maybe it's because, as Albo notes later in his piece, the cords were clipped or pinned to fit the models as they are store mannequins:

It is my hope that during the next presidential administration I can form the Truth in Visual Merchandising Commission and put an end to this travesty. Be warned, retailers: End this deceitful practice now! Either stop clipping or tucking your clothes, or get fatter mannequins!
Someone get this guy a style blog, stat.

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