Filling in the Gap:

It seems the Gap is indeed, ready for its close-up. Sharon Stone was seemingly the one who made it chic to wear the Gap and put a high profile fashion face on the chain when she wore that now famous black Gap turtleneck to the Academy Awards (paired with a Vera Wang floor length skirt) several years ago.

I myself have always been a fan of the Gap’s (not just for its basics- ribbed cotton turtlenecks, sleeveless lycra tops, endless variety of jeans) but for its outerwear and bags that have very often been ‘right’ on for the price and look. Remember last spring’s buying frenzy over the Gap’s well priced and appealing bubble gum pink crisp cotton balmacaan? They were spotted on many chic urbanites, and were sold out almost as soon as they were introduced. Even the Today Show’s Katie Couric (an admitted penny pincher) bemoaned that she couldn’t get her hands on one. (I’m sure the Gap made sure that she got one). And in fact, in my recent New York Industry Fashion Report, I singled out the Gap’s $78 ¾ tan Mac for spring as one of the best tan coats for the money.

So all the recent publicity surrounding this middle- American household name has hardly been surprising. In today’s WWD, there was an article “Gap Hires KCD for P.R. Push”- which revealed that KCD (one of the most high profile and prestigious fashion p.r. firms) has “been retained to work on the brand’s fashion public relations efforts in the U.S.” and in fact, their Paris office has been representing the Gap in Europe for the past year and a half.

And just a few days prior to this, there was an article in Tuesday’s ‘Front Row’ fashion section of the New York Times, “A Sportswear Talent Steps Up”- which dealt with the way in which by “vigorously promoting its new designers, Gap seems to be signaling a fresh direction.”

Coincidentally (or not), the two new designers in question (Emma Hill and Pina Ferlisi) were both ‘plucked’ from none other than Marc Jacobs, a company practically synonymous with producing must have fashion items, handbags and accessories season after season. And who is the public relations firm for Marc Jacobs? KCD, of course.

Emma Hill, 34, who had been Marc’s handbag designer, was named Vice President for Accessories at the Gap in 2002, and more recently, Pina Ferlisi, 38 the “creative talent” behind the 2000 launch of Marc by Marc Jacobs, has been brought on board to design a brand new sportswear collection for the Gap.

All I can say is, touché! With the continued high cost of designer fashion, this will be an interesting story to follow and an interesting company to watch. What the fashion world needs more of is fresh, appealing, wearable, and wonderful design, at affordable prices.

– Posted by Marilyn Kirschner

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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