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Features

A Target for brides with tight budgets

By DALIA WHEATT
Published May 31, 2007


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Wedding gifts, wedding cards and even the wedding dress itself.

Now Target really does sell everything.

On May 5, the retail giant's Web site debuted Isaac Mizrahi Bridal for Target, a collection of gowns, tuxedos, bridesmaid-style party dresses and bridal accessories. The highlight is a line of wedding dresses ranging from $89.99 to $159.99. They're available only online, in white and ivory, sizes 2 to 18.

The gowns are the creation of New York-based fashion designer Mizrahi, who hosts a show on the Style Network and already makes clothing and home decor items for Target. This is his first bridal collection.

"I'm banking on the fact that there are many brides out there who want to be chic but don't have that much cash, " Mizrahi said in an e-mail to the Times. "They should have the same beautiful things as anyone else."

* * *

To check out the quality of hundred-dollar bridalwear for ourselves yes, we were skeptical, we ordered three dresses - the tulle princess ($159.99), point d'esprit ($159.99) and strapless sheath ($89.99).

The gowns we tried on appeared surprisingly well-made. They were heavier than we'd expected, crafted from a poly-silk taffeta and seemingly durable enough to withstand alterations. Feel-good touches included satin lining and tulle netting, while interior construction, bra-keeps and button loops added function to fashion.

While you won't find elaborate beadwork or hand-sewn Swarovski crystals, the no-frills styles are pretty much timeless.

"I was trying to make every gown an eventual heirloom, " Mizrahi wrote in his e-mail. "I want every girl to consider storing the dress for her daughter to wear when her wedding happens." Certain gowns arrive in a keepsake box with a note from the designer.

For better or worse

But not everyone found the dresses so fairy-tale perfect. Although two gowns - one of which was the tulle princess - received average customer rating of 5 out of 5 stars ("Wow, what a beauty!" one bride-to-be raved on Target.com), some buyers were less than thrilled.

The sizes run small, they complained. A shopper who bought the two-piece gown noted that the top was too yellowy to match the skirt. A button fell off, one woman wrote. The material is "cheap, cheap, cheap, " warned another. Some said the skirts were too long. Or not long enough.

One customer gave 3 out of 5 stars to the point d'esprit dress, which features vintage-style polka dot lace around the neckline.

"Ladies, don't get your hopes up, " her review said. "At the end of the day, it's still a wedding dress from Target."

Gowns in new condition may be mailed back within 90 days for a full refund.

'I do' to low prices

Maybe it's partly psychological - who wants to give up the Cinderella fantasy by getting her wedding dress from the same place she buys toilet paper? But consumers leery of a bargain dress for the actual ceremony may be more apt to change into a Target gown for the reception. And teens can pass them off as debutante or quinceanera dresses.

Still, a budget-conscious bride can't overlook the Mizrahi collection's bargains in bridal accessories: gloves starting at $9.99. Veils for the cost of a large pizza. Shoes for prices you'd expect to find at, well, Target.

"I think people are more savvy about clothes now in general, " Mizrahi wrote. "People realize now that you don't have to pay a lot for things to be wonderful."

Dalia Wheatt may be reached at dwheatt@sptimes.com

On the web

The gowns

Check out the selection of Mizrahi bridal gowns at target.com.

[Last modified May 31, 2007, 06:47:34]


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