It all started innocently enough. Missoni for Target was set to go on sale September 13. The commercial created a buzz in the fashion community but no one could have guessed that what would come next would be forever known as Missoni Madness.
Target is known for being the big box retailer with class. It’s more stylish than Wal-Mart and several years ago it began working with top designers to feature collections for the fashionable but frugal.
It started with Zac Posen and blossomed into Target Style, giving the brand it’s distinctive edge. The store has featured everything from Rodarte to Calypso St. Barth and even the coveted Mullberry bag showed off a few cousins of slightly lesser quality and construction. All of these were popular, especially Mullberry, but even the coveted bag of bags couldn’t compare to the introduction of Missoni for Target.
I’ve always been a Target girl, and I have a piece or two from several of the collections in the past but I’ve never actually panicked while refreshing a web page for something that wasn’t concert tickets.
There were lines around stores, with scenes inside rivaling those of Black Friday and people fought over everything from blankets to tights, stationary to flatware, all bearing the signature Missoni pattern.
In short, people went crazy and made Missoni shower curtains into the Tickle Me Elmo of 2011. By closing time, stores were bare of most Missoni stock save for a few lonely sweaters and the odd size 5 ballet flat.
What really turned heads about Missoni Madness was the online panic that ensued. Target’s entire website crashed and stayed down for most of the day. For a retailer of its size and market presence, this was beyond embarrassing; it was just bad for business.
Scorned buyers (myself included) took to Twitter to express their rage at being unable to get their digital hands on a little piece of frugal fashion history. Missoni and Target quickly became trending topics, drawing a 140 character nod from a variety of tweeters including news outlets reporting the crisis and celebrities like Jessica Alba sharing her own quest for the Target Missoni bike.
In no time, items were popping up on eBay and going for prices 3 times higher than the retail price. One woman is listing a pair of rain boots for $31,000 to fund her daughter’s college education. While not everyone is this lucrative (read: crazy) resellers are still making a considerable profit on coveted items.
In the end, I got lucky. After a few stressful hours of leaving the Target page open, I was able to order the sweater I had my eye on and a few other impulse buys to qualify for free shipping.
Now that the rush is over, some retail analysts are calling the items (which, it turns out, were made in China, not Italy like normal Missoni lines) collectibles. Target is not planning to restock, so while those who didn’t jump on the bargain bandwagon can pay exorbitant prices on eBay, it looks like Missoni Madness has wrapped up for now.