Gap on Wednesday said it's launching a new limited-edition collection with Sarah Jessica Parker, who starred in a series of Gap ads in the early 2000s. The assortment of girls and boys apparel and accessories is inspired by Parker's family tradition of saying "rabbit, rabbit" on the first of every month for good luck, according to a company press release.
The collection, available in toddler and kids sizes, uses ginghams, stripes, florals and eyelets in "classic Gap silhouettes," the company said. Parker worked with Gap to help create two women's dress styles to go with the collection. Rabbits are embroidered on many pieces, along with sewn-in 'property of' tags to detail each wearer throughout the years, which takes inspiration from the large Parker family's hand-me-down tradition.
The collection is launching without Jeff Kirwan at the helm of Gap Inc.'s flagship brand. Kirwan had led Gap as president and CEO since 2014, around when Art Peck took over as CEO from Glenn Murphy. (Murphy is now at Lululemon and recently took on an expanded role there as executive chairman after the ouster in recent weeks of CEO Laurent Potdevin.)
It's no wonder that Gap Inc.'s flagship banner is motivated to turn to a fashionista like Sarah Jessica Parker, who was affiliated with the brand at a more prosperous time. In a new growth manifesto unveiled last summer, Gap Inc. acknowledged the flagship brand's weaknesses, and said that the stronger Old Navy unit (along with its much smaller athleisure brand, Athleta), would underpin a campaign for "long-term, balanced growth."
Over the last several years, the Gap brand has attempted several fashion reboots, but misfired a number of times, bringing in and firing a series of designers and creative directors. That culminated in an attempt four years ago to double down on essentially style-less "normcore" at a time when fast fashion was cleaning up by knocking off haute couture runway designs. (Meanwhile, less expensive Old Navy kept ringing up sales.)
It's not too late for Gap, according to GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders. "Gap isn't really broken, it's just not really well cared for," he said in an interview with Retail Dive last year. "There needs more effort in terms of range and product and more force in terms of marketing."
The tie-up with Parker, who remains influential in fashion even in this post-Sex in the City era, aims to accomplish all those things. Both Parker and Wendi Goldman, Gap executive vice president and chief product officer, emphasized the new collection's longevity, saying the pieces, while nostalgic, are meant to survive as welcome hand-me-downs — a shot across the bow against the quickly fading trends pushed by fast fashion.
"Creating this collection with Gap has been such a treat as a mother, as one of eight children, and as a reconnection with the brand," Parker said in a statement. "I hope the pieces are cherished by the children who wear them, that items are passed down among generations, and that some great memories are created while wearing them."