The Gap’s Fast-Track to Irrelevance

Despite helping to develop the Gap’s 1969 premium denim line, the company’s vice president of design, Patrick Robinson, was dropped last week. Considering the brand is in the midst of a design-team reform, the news hardly came as a surprise, but we still think that 1969 was one of the best ideas to come out of Gap in years. So what’s next for this fading American brand?

A new story by Jezebel’s Abe Gurko breaks down Gap’s swift decline, pointing out the rare, rather pathetic occasions during which you might actually step into a Gap store. “You are on vacation and the weather is not quite what you hoped and you are a few layers short. Off to the nearest Gap,” he writes. Furthermore, although they’re a workhorse for basics, Gap’s cuts aren’t as flattering as those of, say, H&M or Uniqlo.

Speaking of fast-fashion brands, H&M’s wildly successful designer collaborations should spur Gap to roll out similar initiatives. Remember how hyped we all were after the Alexander Wang, Vena Cava, and Pierre Hardy collabs? A full capsule collection with a fresh, emerging designer might be just the creative boost they need. Maybe that lucky designer could even help Gap with their image.

After last year’s attempt to update their logo, Gap devotees came out of the woodwork to protest the change, forcing the brand to rather embarrassingly revert back to their old lettering. As Alisa Gould-Simon explained then, the seemingly ill-advised move was actually genius, as it made the brand relevant again by proving that they still have fans who care about their image. But despite their efforts to pull fast-ones just to stay in the news, there’s no denying that their identity needs a refresh. Gurko suggests they give their advertising a more editorial feel (“but do NOT hire Terry Richardson”). He also thinks they should build a marketing campaign around the fact that their designs are Made in America in order to “become a strong voice for creating jobs in the USA.”

Regardless of which route they take, Gap is in dire need of a new concept, and we’re hoping a new creative director will help them get there. Too bad Clare Waight Keller has already been snatched up–she kills it at this rebranding stuff.

Gap Partners with Valentino, the Row to Follow?

Not only is Patrick Robinson’s SS11 collection for Gap looking pretty good, the chain retailer will team up with Valentino for a capsule holiday collection to hit stores later this month. Following in the footsteps of a limited batch of Pierre Hardy shoes is a line from Valentino (no longer run by its namesake) that will include “an exclusive capsule collection of 7 essential pieces made to form a perfect silhouette,” reads a press release. Colette, Dover Street Market, and Gap’s flagships in London and Milan make-up the handful of retailers that will carry the collection, in stores November 29th.

The Row may be next. The Olsens recently revealed they are in fact contemplating potential collaborations. “Both [sisters] see their three lines expanding into full lifestyle brands, and, for The Row, they are planning to add handbags next fall, followed by shoes,” says Women’s Wear Daily. Muses Ashley, “it would be a proper American luxury brand, made in America, with retail businesses and maybe collaborations with other brands.”

First Look: GAP’s Anti-Heritage SS11 Collection

The controversy surrounding GAP’s attempt to revamp its logo is dying down just in time for the debut of their SS11 collection, and Patrick Robinson is keeping things neutral. “Heritage doesn’t turn me on—it’s about America today. Let’s face it, a 28-year-old wants more fashion in his or her wardrobe,” Robinson said, detaching himself from the dialogue surrounding fashion lineage, most luxury brands’ favorite buzzword this year. “We have some dresses and skirts, but somewhere around August or September, I started noticing girls were wearing more pants,” Robinson added by way of example.

Those pants are cut full, and definitely call to mind Balenciaga with their flared ankles. Besides the change in silhouette, most of GAP’s SS11 looks play it safe: Robinson is serving up classic trenches, trousers, and loose-fitting silk dresses in a predominantly beige and ivory palette. What’s most interesting about the collection is perhaps Robinson’s admission that he looks to current trends to influence what he’s presenting for the next season, effectively choosing street style over a completely new vision. H&M, Topshop, and Zara have been doing it for years. But, whether that helps GAP’s suffering bid for relevancy remains to be seen.

Stevie’s Ark: Who to Save in NYC Nightlife

And the lord said to Noah, come with all your household into the ark, for I have seen you to be righteous (upright and in right standing) before me in this generation.” Genesis 8

Have you noticed the rain? We watched the lightning from the lobby entrance to the Rivington Hotel and counted 1 alligators, 2 alligators, 3 alligators, 4 in a super-scientific attempt to determine how far away the magnificent bolts were from my merry band of Sunday travelers. Then it was upon us, and I said to my flock, let us flee unto Spitzer’s and partake in friendly fare. So we went to Spitzer’s. I had the PBLT and the rest had salad. My arteries must be getting hard. The downpour came at us hard, and we huddled with the masses and drank and ate and waited and watched in wonder. Mother nature ain’t happy. The busboys tried to lower the windows, but it was a slow go, and the windswept rain wiped out the first two rows of diners. We got a little wet, but we were an intrepid band, and it washed away the sweat of shopping and strolling. I bought a cool hat at Still Life. The rain was traveling sideways in torrential sheets, thunder and lightning were right above us, and we didn’t have to count critters to understand that. It was a rain of biblical proportion, then it ended in sunlight — and then it happened again yesterday.

It’s been a seriously rainy last couple of months. It’s been cool too. I know, I know, I guess if my writing/designing career doesn’t work out, I could try to be a weatherman, but one has to seriously wonder if those scientists Al Gore’s using didn’t get their educations from that guy on TV who teaches you how to make money selling stuff on eBay. We joked of building a great ark and plotted to take two of every job in clubdom. Who would I save? I’m not taking into account breeders and non-breeders … doesn’t seem like Noah did either.

Owners? Well for sure I’d grab Eric Foss (Lit) and Paul Sevigny, who will, I’m sure, open something biblically amazing soon. I’d consider Eddie Dean if the wise judge rules favorably this week and the Pacha owner is still in business. I’m sure there would be considerable pressure to bring Noah Tepperberg because of he’s name-appropriate, and maybe the ship needs to actually make money. I’d ask Richie Akiva and Scott Sartiano, but it’s a boat and they’re jet-setters.

The door would be my boys Wass and Jon Lennon. No way they would have let mosquitoes and roaches in the first time around. For DJs, I’d go with Cassidy because who else would throw in a Dolly Parton tune; and I’d sacrifice a lamb to get Junior Vasquez because he makes me happy and will do the 40-day-and-40-night gig easy — he’s done gigs like that before. For bottle hosts, I’d grab Denise Robinson and Jayma Cordoso. I know, Jayma — you’re an owner now — but if you don’t want to get on the boat, let me know. You’re the best bottle host in town, and that owner slot is crowded.

For events, I’d ask Francis X. McHugh and Kevin Crawford. I’d bring Patrick Robinson and Julie Park to manage the whole thing — somebody’s got to get the bussers to sweep up. On security, it’s Luke Petit and Jeff Craig because I trust them. Waitrons: Lelanea Fulton and Ayana Frazier. It’s gonna be a 40-night excursion, and I’m gonna need a bunch of bottles with lots of smiles. These gals have great … smiles. The bartenders for real sure are Seamus Regan and Blaze. For promoter, hmmm, maybe we only need to bring one promoter. OK, if we have to bring two, it will be Kenny Kenny and Emma Cleary. I know, Emma, you’re an owner, but I really liked your Monday-night Femme Fatale party at Katra, and these days almost anyone can call themselves an owner. Nightlife blogger? Well since it’s obvious to anyone who knows me I have never had much interest in self-preservation, I’d opt for Rachelle of Guest of a Guest and Brittney of ChiChi212. I’d ask Scott Solis of Down by the Hipster, but I think he would be thrown overboard before we left port.

Links: Kanye West @ The Gap, Katherine Heigl Makes Out

● Fashion students beware: Kanye West is after your internships. Word is West has been spending lots of time at The Gap offices shadowing creative director Patrick Robinson. [Stylelist] ● Things might not all be well on the set of Katie Holmes’ new film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark; rumor has it she made the crew sign a “no Scientology questions” contract. [] ● The band The Living Things will play The Ramones in Floria Sigismondi’s Runaways biopic; the lead singer is the husband of the film’s director, which probably helped their chances. [spinner]

● In the latest toy-to-movie conversion, Dreamworks is set to acquire the rights to the popular Viewmaster toy and somehow make it into a movie. [EW] ● Remember En Vogue? Well, networks take note — they want a reality show as “another venue to get their music out,” i.e. reinvent their career. [mediabuffet] ● Katherine Heigl admits her husband doesn’t particularly like it when she makes out with hunky co-stars like Gerard Butler, but as she tells him, it’s her job. [news24]