Spotted! Target struts its stuff at World MasterCard Fashion Week

The retailer used the sponsorship opportunity to debut some of its holiday-themed gear, as well as promote its in-house fashion and home lines.

Three fur-coat clad women clamber up the stairs to take their seats, three rows back from the runway. One excitedly grabs a blanket thrown on a nearby fold-up chair. Showing it off to her friends, one of them gets excited, and the three discuss whether the blanket is free to take home.

Scenes like this are playing out across the room as folks attending Target’s inaugural World MasterCard Fashion Week show slide into their seats. The room had been decked out in the retailer’s holiday gear, including red and white fuzzy blankets, the aforementioned faux-animal print throw, and Christmas-themed pillows, and regular fashion show-goers aren’t used to getting home-oriented swag.

Two male models in matching red sweaters walk up and down the runway, pushing a Target-red shopping cart full of Christmas-wrapped parcels, while “Jingle Bells” blares over the loudspeaker. Lights, in the shape of targets and snowflakes, sweep the crowd. And the walls are adorned with holiday prints, such as reindeer and Christmas tree-carrying station wagons.

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Though the fall fashion show is usually geared at launching designers’ spring and summer collections, Target bucked the trend, opting instead for a holiday theme.

“Given that we’re showing so many looks for women and men and for the home, we wanted to inspire shops that could happen within the week,” Livia Zufferli, VP marketing, Target, tells MiC. “We didn’t want our guests to have to wait until the spring to pick up those great looks. We wanted to make it very accessible.”

The retailer had a presence at last year’s event in the media lounge (because it didn’t have retail locations yet to send potential customers to), this year it wanted to really show off its clothing lineup at the week-long fashion event, Zufferli says.

Though well-known in the fashion industry for its limited-time designer partnerships (such as the recent one with New York-based Phillip Lim), the Fashion Week showing was specifically geared at displaying some of the brand’s private label lines, such as Merona and Mossimo (the front row seats were also replaced with plush Threshold chairs, the brand’s in-house furniture line).

But the real star of the show was Bullseye the bulldog, the brand’s mascot, who came out at the end of the show with model Erin Wasson (pictured top right) while confetti snow rained down on the models. The audience seemed to collectively coo and pulled _MGL3630_sm (1)out their smartphones en-masse to snap a shot of the pup, who didn’t seem to mind the attention at all.

To promote the show, the brand took a PR-heavy approach, working with Toronto-based Veritas, relying on early seeding with key fashion bloggers and press. It also tapped fashion blogger and TV host Dan Levy to help create behind-the-scenes material for the pre-, during, and post-show, including live-tweeting and video content, which lived on Target’s owned channels.

The show also promoted the hashtag #Mykindofholiday to preview its upcoming seasonal push, which will bow in the coming weeks, says Zufferli (take a sneak peak below).

Finally, the brand partnered with L’Oreal’s Maybelline New York to offer Fashion Week attendees an opportunity to have their makeup retouched, and give folks a chance to pose on camera in front of a backdrop of cozy winter sweaters, which will run all week.

Photography by Jennifer Horn.