Missoni For Target Fashion’s Night Out Pop-Up Store: I WENT IN!

I am not really a brave person. Soldiers and firefighters and schoolteachers and parents of newborns are brave. I freak out at needles. I hate loud, scary sounds. I’d throw up within the first five minutes of “Final Destination.” Crowds? No way. Change? Please, no. But when it comes to fast fashion I am an armed war horse. Which is why I rolled up my sleeves (figuratively—I was wearing a tank) took a few cleansing breaths, and went into the belly of one of New York’s Fashion’s Night Out biggest beasts: Missoni For Target’s pop-up store in Times Square.

So, you know how Times Square is usually a zoo where the animals are human beings acting like animals, and it’s just SO upsettingly sticky and chaotic, and there’s always a mussed-up guy dressed in an off-brand Elmo costume? The scene on 42nd Street swarming the Bryant Park pop-up was exactly that. (I even saw the Elmo guy, of course.) The line just to get into the pop-up and access the long-awaited, much-ballyhooed 400-piece Missoni For Target collection and grab $39.99 tea sets, bath towels for $12.99, and OH, the ballet flats was like McQueen long. It stretched from Sixth Avenue to Broadway, and then I lost sight of where it ended (if it ended) south of 41st Street. People may have been lined up down to Coney Island for all I knew. Target-ready shoppers as far as the eye could see.

When I previously arranged with one of the extremely helpful PRs running the event to come early to take photos of the pop-up, she was graciously accommodating yet issued only this caveat: “I’m concerned for your safety.” But I’m serious about Target. (I’ve been known to visit the Virginia Beach Target East location twice a day when I visit my parents back home). I still remember my first Target GO International purchase (the Proenza Schouler palm-print gauze dress, April 2007, Saint Petersburg, Florida). And I AM FEARLESS ABOUT FASHION.

So I went in.

The line outside of Target for the Missoni collection.
Photo: Tamar Anitai/MTV

I bypassed the line and got in around 5:30 (felt bad about it but had FASHUN to cover!). The pop-up’s two open doorways darkened with wide-eyed onlookers kept at bay by nervous-looking security guards trying to keep order while making sure no one tried to gank one of the 17 Missoni bikes ($399). Remember those photos crowds gawking at Kanye West at last year’s FNO? It was getting to be like that, but more orderly. Racked tweeted that nearly 300 people were in line by 5 p.m.. Apparently only 150 people would be let in at a time. Still. That’s a lot of potential elbows to be potentially thrown over those really pretty rain boots ($34.99).

Train cases for Target x Missoni collection.
Photo: Tamar Anitai/MTV

Inside the Missoni For Target pop-up, in the minutes before the public’s descent, everything was TENSE. And everything was MAD HOT. (The eggplant carpeting and expertly arranged studio lighting were excellent touches but also caused me to reconsider why I keep using a fancy deodorant that smells good but works for s***. Just being honest.) Perspiration was my reality as I cased out the perfectly placed shelves of floral-print organization boxes ($9.99), $24.99 train cases (LOVE a train case), and the holy grail of Missoni For Target housewares—the $19.99 melamine serving trays. Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” played overhead as I gingerly petted a pair of stripe-toed pumps. Neatly organized hanging rows of airy chiffon sweaters and LIKE-TO-DIE black pleated maxi skirts with chevron detailing (bought two, haaaaaaay!) and breezy bossa nova music all reminded me of Italy, where I’ve never actually been but only know from Fellini films where women wear glamorous headscarves…like the $14.99 scarves waiting flouncily in bins near the cash registers.

Angela Missoni and Margherita Maccapani outside of the NYC Target store on Sept. 8.
Photo: Getty Images

Fashion’s Night Out is like a celebrity playground. (Note: Celebs like shopping too, but most of them are paid to show up.) But at the Target pop-up, most of the celebrities had hit up the Missoni For Target pop-up the night before at a private preview party. Like the commoners who’d stomp the yard a half hour later to Supermarket Sweep-style scoop up as much affordable Missoni as possible, apparently even rich celebs went bonkers buying as much Missoni as possible the night before (despite the fact that…you know…they could afford real Missoni. Whatever. Stars really ARE just like us, I guess!) But, at the regular-people pop-up, I did espy some URPs (Unidentified Rich Persons) speaking what I used my context clues to deduce was Italian. And I spotted the impeccably dressed (duh), confoundingly beautiful Margherita Missoni (heiress, model, actress and designer—she’s also featured in the Missoni for Target ads) and her molto glam mother Angela Missoni, the brand’s creative director, walk in, visibly excited for the big reveal. (While I was visibly excited by their gorgeous gowns. Ugh. Jelzies.)

So, it’s 5:42, tensions are mounting in that “ooh-the-ball’s-about-to-drop” New Year’s Eve-ish way. It was clear that New York’s most dedicated shoppers were on the edge of glory. Anxious myself, I headed upstairs—where the best goods were, IMO—to do a quick sweep of the display bed, made with militaristic precision, only to be effing RANSACKED by shoppers later on.

The final swirled glass serving bowls and vases (Veuve Clicquot at, like, Diet Pepsi prices) were set in place. The staff was prepped. The $599.99 patio set was prepped. It was time to unleash the Kraken. It was time.

And then it was 6 o’clock, and they went in.

These ladies love their Target x Missoni throws.
Photo: Tamar Anitai/MTV

In a flash, the Target For Missoni pop-up went from an elegant, orderly experience to a high-velocity Technicolor blur of affordable everything. Remember “Double Dare,” when they’d start the Final Challenge and people would just haul ass? It was like that but with shopping. People CHARGED IN, Pamploma style. Like the double-sided Kandinsky, order was upended into absolute madness—entire racks cleared off in minutes. I saw someone attempt to grab EVERY AVAILABLE VELOUR THROW (couldn’t blame them, they were soft like buttercream frosting), not taking into consideration the limited span of two human arms. Zigs were zagged, zags were zigged. And I was in the eye of the storm. People were quickly starting to lose their damn marbles. And it was really pretty awesome.

After snapping some photos of people pillaging V-neck sweaters (HOW COULD YOU NOT? THEY WERE JUST $44.99!?!) I alighted the stairs, which were a logjam of shoppers ready to put the hurt on their Mastercards. And then the rationalizations and negotiations began. “She’ll grow into this, right?” one woman asked her friend before scooping up the lion’s share of girls’ $24.99 knit miniskirts (admittedly adorable). One woman, sprinting toward the $39.99 silky robes (and I can now proudly boast that I own one as well) dropped a very expensive-looking bracelet. I picked it up and gave it back to her. Because I’m a nice person. Unlike another woman who I watched swiftly swipe an entire sheet set that tumbled out of the arms of another shopper, unbeknownst to her. Oh well. Finders keepers where Missoni For Target’s concerned!

A lonesome rack.
Photo: Tamar Anitai/MTV

Main floor. 6:16. Racks swung from the ceiling, absolutely empty save a lonesome hanger. Shoppers were dashing around like they had a connecting flight to catch. Some were wheeling the $169.99 wheely bag, so maybe they were actually off the airport. Who knows? The point is, NO ONE was wasting precious s***-grabbing time.

The line to buy the Target x Missoni goods.
Photo: Tamar Anitai/MTV

6:42. The checkout line was pretty much a super swarm, to put it in Foursquare terms. Because I’m not a shoplifter and despite nearly drowning in my own sweat (did I mention that it was very, very hot, and that I perspire?), I braved the checkout line to pay for my robe, two pairs of pajama pants, and two maxi skirts (I went for two sizes, just in case, because there was not a Popsicle’s chance in fiery purgatory I was trying that ish on, though the dressing rooms did look cute.)

A pile of Missoni.
Photo: Tamar Anitai/MTV

It then became clear that the checkout line had turned into an ad hoc trading post, as the guy behind me, who sounded like a lost Jersey Shore cast member (and whose wife was WAY out of his league, if I may be frank), yelled out “WHO’S GOT A FREAKIN’ TEA SET I COULD HAVE?” Shoppers were frantically rooting through their goods, piled into miniature Missoni mountains on the floor, shoving their bounty ahead toward the cash registers. Elsewhere in line, a women congratulated her friend—”I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU”—over her soon-to-be purchases like she’d just announced a pregnancy. (Mazel tov on your Missoni!)

Then I was up! A cashier frantically waved her arm at me. I smiled wearily in some kind of tragi-comic sympathy. She was in for a very long night. My total came to $212.19 (told you I go hard). Since I’d spent more than $100, I learned I would be afforded the opportunity to have my photo taken with the beautiful Margherita and Angela Missoni, both of whom miraculously appeared impervious to sweating. Would I, a regular American with frizzy hair and mad schvitz, baking inside of this hyper-charged macro microcosm of fast-forwarded fast fashion, of affordable silk scarves and a reasonably priced yet still unattainable well-designed patio sets, want to take my photo with the glimmering Italians who made this all possible? DUH! OF COURSE I WANTED THAT. So I did! And Angela Missoni complimented me on my necklace (!!! unsolicited, I might add) and told me that her favorite piece of the entire Missoni For Target line was the luggage, because I’d asked. Margherita told me hers was the puffer jacket, which I instantly regretted not purchasing. Regrets, regrets, regrets.

My transaction and Target For Missoni Fashion’s Night Out pop-up experience complete, I squeezed past a security guard watching over one shopper’s brand-new Missoni bike as she gathered up her textured Missoni throw pillows and various breakables and figured out exactly how the eff she’d get it all home.

Finally outside (SO MUCH COOLER! BODY TEMPERATURE REGAINED! HOMEOSTASIS REGAINED!) Angela Missoni popped her head out, amazed at the still serpentine line. It was less than an hour into the pop-up (which is scheduled for three days but will likely be cleaned out by the time you read this), and the line had barely moved (credit to the staff for not letting enough people in to create a stampede). Walking out, the patient front-of-liners, uncertain if there’d be a mere $10.99 hand towel left behind, gaped and gasped when they saw I’d made it out WITH ACTUAL PURCHASES! Complete and total strangers with adoring shopping eyes (I almost felt like Pippa Middleton for a second!) surrounded me, bombarding me with questions: “What was it like?” “Show me what you bought!” “Was it worth it?” And my favorite, “Was it good?”

Oh, lady. It was good.

With that, I hopped onto my Missoni bike and rode off into the night.

The Missoni For Target collection hits stores Sept. 13.

Read more from Tamar Anitai at MTV Buzzworthy.

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