Monday, March 1, 2010

lands' end canvas...?

Lands' End, that trusty old purveyor of preppy clothing for conservative dressers and their children, has apparently launched a new line clearly aimed at a slightly younger, somewhat less married, far less child-ridden demographic than we two: Lands' End Canvas. I know. Huh? How "canvas" is supposed to signify urban casual hipness is beyond me. Canvas = casual? Or maybe canvas = art = loft = urban? The catalog's indoor scenes do suggest an artists' loft. And the inside back cover does prominently feature a pair of old-school canvas sneakers. My first thought was canvas = sailing, for some reason--that old Lands' End theme, I guess. Hmm. So maybe a good choice after all, with all those associations floating about. But still it seems a little awkward.

The catalog itself, which arrived in the mail today, is much better. It's more than a little reminiscent of early 1990's J. Crew catalogs (remember those? I miss them)--quite on purpose, surely. Check out the feature photo from the swimsuit collection--bandeau bikini top, cardi, playful soft hat, even the pose--is it not vintage 1990 J. Crew? Except that the Lands' End models appear to have been caught on a Saturday afternoon, tooling around their in-the-process-of-being-revitalized urban neighborhood, whereas the early J. Crew crew often looked as though they were vacationing in the Hamptons or perhaps Vermont. Maybe the Lands' End gang will go on vacation in their next catalog.

The catalog has got kind of an anthropologie hit to it, too, although the clothes are not nearly as precious--it's all those soft-focus, backlit photos of women with their hair in artful disarray. The online catalog is a lot like all the rest, with the models just modeling their clothes against a studio (canvas) backdrop.

The inventory is cuter than the "real" Lands' End, which I used to think only 40-somethings would wear until I myself became a 40-something. I haven't looked at the prices, but it has to be cheaper than J. Crew, my old go-to catalog store--but J. Crew has gone so upscale and thin that I simply cannot shop there anymore.

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