Why Celia Birtwell's Express Collection Isn't Working

A top from Celia Birtwell's Express line Photo: Courtesy of Express

Remember how Celia Birtwell was supposed to do a capsule collection for Express inspired by her late husband, Ossie Clark? Of course you don't. No one does — that's the problem. But her small collection of printed shirts and dresses made it to Express stores this week with basically no buzz in tow. According to the Shophound, shoppers are taking little note, and it's not necessarily that Birtwell's designs are less then stellar. After all, she's designed clothes for Topshop that sell like hotcakes and the Express pieces aren't bad. But Express and Topshop are two very different things with two very different customers. We appreciate that Birtwell's got some affordable merchandise in there, but we exist in a fashion bubble and the typical Express customer probably doesn't. That's great for them (really, we know we're ill), but not so great for Express. Many don't realize that display in the front of the store of all that patterned stuff is actually something special. We'd probably notice it immediately — if we shopped there, that is. The Shophound, like us, doesn't shop there either and notes, "We would imagine that Bergdorf Goodman's or Barneys' insider-y customers, for example, would be far more receptive to a Birtwell collection, at a much higher quality level, of course."

Sigh. Maybe when Express can work on a branding strategy that's accessible to shoppers who aren't just fashion bloggers, someone can start turning a profit.

Celia Birtwell's Express Collection Debuts To...Crickets [Shophound]
Celia Birtwell for Express [Express]