Have you noticed that in the past several years that J. Crew has been coming out with some uber-expensive luxury pieces that are part of the J.Crew Collection? The Collection includes high-end items like jackets, dresses, shoes, bags, and jewelry. It is clear that they are trying to compete with designer labels instead of their regular rivals like the Gap, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor. (Although in all fairness, Banana Republic stepped up their game with the BR Monogram line.)
Not sure what I mean? Well, take for example the Snakeskin stacked heels for $358, or the Tortoise sequin jacket (shown here) for $3,000 (that's right, $3,000!!!)
The new line uses high-end fabrics that are sourced from the same suppliers of retailers Chanel and Vera Wang. Executives at J. Crew clearly believe there is a market for their Collection line. Millard Drexler, chairman and ceo of J. Crew Group, said, "As we looked at the market, we said we're going to keep stepping up quality, design and detailing and see if we meet with any kind of [price] resistance... Whenever we did this, customers kept buying and liking it more. They still are, and want more of the best. For us, it's a natural opportunity...The best costs too much." According to Catherine Curan of MSNBC (click here for article), J.Crew is even opening up their first J.Crew Collection store in Manhattan on Madison Avenue and 79th Street this summer.
I do like the new luxe line: there are some pieces with gorgeous patterns and fabrics, and the quality looks better too (although the J.Crew regular line is of great quality in my opinion too). However, the price tags does seem off-putting (especially since I typically buy regular J.Crew items "on sale"). Although I have purchased two items from their collection line (they were both on sale from the original $300 price tag down to $100 each), I doubt I would buy anything regular priced from the line.
What do you think about the luxe J.Crew Collection? For those prices, would you turn to the more established designer labels (like Marc Jacobs)? Do you think this line will alienate J. Crew's core customers?