New York – In a technology-obsessed world, where new gadgets top everyone's holiday gift wish-lists, it's up to clothing retailers to come up with new ways to entice customers to give wearable items as gifts. Gone are the days when a new pair of socks or pajamas can hold their own against a video game console or smartphone, which is something that Gap's creative director Patrick Robinson had in mind when he designed the Holiday 2010 collection.
"It's not about these obvious snowflake gifts that you'll usually see for Holiday," explained Robinson at a preview for the collection on Thursday, July 15. "You have to get into people's minds a different way."
The new strategy takes into account the buyer's personal relationship with the product in the store, so it's not just about designing clothes that would make good gifts for others. For Robinson, it's deeper than that.
"The whole collection is about clothes for you," he said. "You first fall in love with it yourself, and then you give to someone else."
So come late fall, when the holidays are just around the corner, Robinson is banking that you'll fall in love with his continued elevation of the Gap brand, with pieces that hold their own against designer trends, from a dress that is inset with delicate strips of tulle and paired with a tough leather jacket, to well-shaped puffer jackets and motorcycle jacket-inspired knits.
And you won't want to dispense with your skinny pants just yet, because they'll still be a wardrobe staple this winter. In this case, they come as skinny cargo pants worn under chunky sweaters. Brightly colored platform clogs, a major spring trend, get reinvented in electric blue or neon red.
"For holiday, you have the playfulness of going out and having fun," said Robinson. "But not seriously, it's not a ball gown, but just girls who want to look really great, guys who want to look cool at a bar or going out to dinner."
Banana Republic will offer a similarly nonchalant take on going-out clothes, but still with the brand's stamp of sophistication. The emphasis for Holiday gifts here will be on a an assortment of glittery accessories, including metallic purses, sequined clutches, jeweled ballet flats, studded gloves and a north Indian Himalayan sequined elephant tote. As with Gap's dressing down of getting dressed up, you'll see casual and sporty paired with evening, like a Fair Isle sweater or shearling lined jacket worn over a silk gown. For men, a rugged hunting vibe prevails, with chunky sweaters worn underneath tweed blazers and fur-lined hunting caps.
For the most traditional holiday stocking stuffers, Old Navy will be a safe bet with scarves, slippers and fleece blankets in a range of bright colors. Clothing is playful, with lots of pattern mixing, like argyle tights paired with plaid skirts and cheerful nautical influenced striped tees and sweaters that will remind you of warmer summer days.