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Target designer? Tres chic

Times Staff Writer

The Target bull’s-eye has come to the toniest of shopping streets, Melrose Place, with a “pop-up” store, open until Aug. 31 only. The mass market retailer opened the space Friday, on the corner of La Cienega, to launch the latest of its limited-edition GO International collections, this time from French designer Sophie Albou of Paul & Joe.

With boudoir-like dressing rooms and cameos on the walls, the all-white space is as sumptuously decorated as the nearby Marni and Marc Jacobs stores, though most of the Paul & Joe for Target pieces cost no more than $29.99. Paul & Joe is a high-end line known for vintage-like wallpaper prints and whimsical animal motifs, and it is stocked in a handful of U.S. boutiques and Barneys New York. Fans include Sienna Miller, Keira Knightley and Kirsten Dunst, and prices range from about $200 to $1,200.

Highlights of the Target collection include a plaid frame bag with an owl applique, a tie-back paisley blouse, a plaid poncho, the perfect jersey kimono dress, cropped cuffed pants and a buttery cream leather jacket with a ruffled collar.

It isn’t much different from her actual collection, the designer said Thursday morning, in from Paris for the store opening party that night. And it’s true: It has the same French flair, with flirty baby doll tops, skinny pants, capes and twill culottes. The finishing on the pieces is excellent for the price.

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“There are many prints from the main line and fits too,” she said. “We are not lying to people. It’s the real Paul & Joe.”

Of course, there are no Target stores in France. But Albou knew about the retailer from shopping there during her vacations to America, mostly so her sons, Paul and Joe, could buy the latest DVDs and video games. Even so, when she was approached about the project last year, she was reluctant.

“People said you have to be careful, Paul & Joe is a high-level French brand.” But she soon came to her senses. “I saw the super cool things that they were doing with Isaac Mizrahi and other designers; I was really impressed,” she said. “For me, this is a way to introduce the brand to America.”

Albou is in Los Angeles quite a bit to visit her brother, who is in the telecommunications business here. So there are certain things she has to do -- eat at the Ivy, shop at Decades and hit a garage sale or flea market. “There is a lot of fashion influence from L.A. Things you see here, you see everywhere two to three seasons later.”

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Target has used the pop-up store concept before, in Manhattan during the 2002 holiday season, with a boat off Chelsea Piers, and the next year at Rockefeller Center, when it introduced the Mizrahi collection.

“It started out of necessity, because we didn’t have a store in Manhattan,” said John Remington, the company’s vice president of marketing. “But as it has evolved, it’s become a strategy in and of itself. Now we use it to launch special collections. We decided to do it with Paul & Joe here because the sensibility resonates with L.A. It seemed like a perfect fit.”

In an era when retail looks much the same from city to city, it’s no wonder Target’s pop-up stores have been consistent hits. Nearly all of the merchandise in each one has sold out, Remington said.

The strategy has worked so well that other brands have embraced it too. In 2004, Comme des Garcons opened the first of several temporary Guerrilla Stores in Berlin. During New York Fashion Week last February, the offbeat design house Imitation of Christ operated a movable store, encased in plexiglass, which set up shop in a different location in the city each day.

Last summer, Fila had a pop-up store on Melrose Avenue for a month, which didn’t sell anything at all. Instead, customers were invited to stop by and design their own T-shirts. And recently Target has taken the concept online with its Red Hot Shops, which feature limited-edition merchandise on the store’s website.

Chanel’s new luxury age cream

It was a funny sight last week to see Hollywood’s loveliest young ladies turning out in their finest to fete an age cream. But this isn’t just any age cream. It’s Sublimage, Chanel’s $350-a-jar entry into the luxury line-eraser market (think La Mer). The party was a blast, held at Jeff Klein’s breezy Terrace restaurant at the Sunset Tower Hotel.

Liz Goldwyn was there, chatting about her forthcoming book about burlesque, while the Juicy Couture girls Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor were coming off of the launch of their new fragrance line exclusively at Bloomingdale’s. L.A. designer Jenni Kayne is in the final planning stages for her wedding this summer in Malibu. She’s not designing her own dress (Monique L’huillier is), but she is dressing the rest of the wedding party.

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Co-host Kelly Wearstler looked fab in a fluted silver lame gown (Chanel, of course). The decorator is spending her summer working on her new line of home furnishings, called kwid. Nicole Richie’s beehive hairdo made her a little Audrey Hepburn. Her nails were painted with Chanel’s latest, greatest polish, Black Satin ($18). The wait-listed shade could just be the new Vamp.

Get it if you can.

Lady in black, what can’t she do?

Paris-based Diane Pernet is a fixture on the fashion scene, with her towering black hair and all-black clothing. A photographer and fashion designer in the 1980s, she’s now a talent scout, documentary filmmaker and fashion blogger. She’s also the curator, along with photographer-artist Dino Dinco, of “You Wear It Well,” a fashion film festival being held Tuesday at Cinespace in Hollywood.

An open call appeared on her website, ashadedviewonfashion.com, in May, and since then more than 25 films have come in, from designers Martin Margiela, Jeremy Scott, Kim Jones, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Bernard Wilhelm, illustrator Ruben Toledo, photographer Nick Knight and others. One film, shot in an afternoon by Brazilian photographer Marcelo Krasilcic, stars Chloe Sevigny trying on clothes.

“These are not fashion shows,” Pernet said. “They are entertaining, from Jeremy Scott’s ‘Dynasty'-like film with Tori Spelling to Maison Martin Margiela’s, which shows 30 cafes in Paris at the same time.”

The films will screen continuously from 7 to 10 p.m., and admission is $10.


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