Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Zara has overtaken Gap

In sales, that is, not style, which happened light years ago. But I have stopped buying Zara, however affectionately I remember its badly made dresses:

Unlike Gap, there isn't a definitive Zara look - it is so dedicated to following the twists and turns of fashion that its very lack of definition is key to its philosophy. It is as hard to pin down and as fast-moving as mercury. But it does do directional, it does great winter coats, (one of my most memorable buys was a bright yellow swing coat which reminded me of Courrèges in the Sixties) smart trenches and brilliant tuxedo evening trouser suits. It is capricious and fun. I don't always find something there, but I wouldn't dream of going more than a fortnight without a visit.

While Zara innovated, Gap never responded imaginatively to the arrival of the internet and its instant catwalk reports, or to the globalisation of production and demand. (Meanwhile, Zara was zipping from "inspiration" on a catwalk in Milan to a Zara production line in Spain and back to a store on the King's Road.) Or to the fact that we have all started dressing up more; we are all ladies who lunch now and, if necessary, invent events where we can dress up - just like Sex and the City - indeed the queues to get in to that movie were red-carpet gangs of girls wearing you-know-what.