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Before I write a review of the presentation of the Bitten by Sarah Jessica Parker line on today’s Oprah, I want to first clear up some misconceptions:
1. I like Sarah Jessica Parker, but she isn’t the patron saint of budget shoppers. She made a smart business move and has excellent pr people who know how to push your buttons to get you to buy. We do need more bargain shopping options and I am glad that Steve & Barry’s is providing it.
2. I like Steve & Barry’s. In fact, I was just there about 1 month ago, because Tobias begged me to buy him a pair of Starbury shoes.
3. The prior issue had nothing to do with my review of the line (which actually was pretty even handed, read it here) but with the use of promotional photos and TBF readers reactions to the line.
4. I get the impression that many of you feel that celebrities like SJP are doing you a favor when they “design” these lines. While I’m positive SJP and Stephon Marbury care about consumers, they are doing these lines because they make money.
5. I also think there’s this major misconception involving fashion bloggers. We’re not necessarily “fashion insiders”, but we’re not “fashion outsiders” either. We go to fashion week, visit the showrooms of major designers, write books published by major publishers, work as TV correspondents, and shop at stores like Steve &Barry’s.
Now that this is cleared up.. On to Bitten…
Ask yourself if Sarah Jessica Parker’s name was removed from the line, would you still buy it? If someone, other than celebrity created this line, would the line have been on Oprah?
The one thing that separates the Bitten by Sarah Jessica Parker line from the other celebrity lines, is that the sizing (2-22) reflects the true sizing range of America and it for this that I wanted to like the line. I also find the $20 coats to be refreshing (I will probably buy one). But, and this is just based upon what I saw on Oprah and my discussions with people who have seen the line and work with Steve & Barry, the line really isn’t anything new. When Isaac Mizrahi did a line with Target, that was new. When Stephon Marbury wore the $14.98 Starbury basketball shoes in NBA basketball games, that was something new.
Take away sizing from the Bitten and you can get all those pieces from stores like Old Navy, Mandee, Marianne, Payless, Forever 21, etc. Plus the quality may leave a lot to be desired- the seams appear wavy (a sign of poor stitching) and the front of the pants were bunchy on the models (go back and watch the segment and notice how every pair of pants bunched in the front and how the seams on the pants didn’t lie flat) It is my hope that the next batch of clothing from the line will step it up on the quality front.
But what I noticed the most was the lukewarm enthusiasm shown by the Oprah audience. I watch Oprah everyday and when the audience loves something, they LOVE it. They seemed pretty unmoved by the Bitten line, with Oprah at one point responding to a lukewarm reception of the audience to a $14.98 knit dress with “Come on it’s $14 dollars.” Compare that to the audience’s reaction regarding the truly impressive bridal dresses by Isaac Mizrahi at Target and you see what I mean.
All in all, this line will be a success, because people still confuse personal style with that created by a stylist. People will also buy because of the continued popularity and strength of SJP’s Sex and the City character.
But again, ask yourself… if her name was removed from the line, would you even be reading this right now?