The announcement of a third Mayle pop-up left me feeling underwhelmed. The previous two, quite honestly, were overpriced and the execution and design was lacking. That's not to say that there weren't some nice pieces. I love the Vera coat I bought from the second pop-up, and thought the coats were generally lovely and well made, but many of the dresses and blouses looked somewhat dated and the fabrics and manufacture were not what I'd expect from Mayle--or any other designer at that price point. Truthfully, they were more the level of Zara or Urban Outfitters--many dresses had no linings, the patterned silks tended to be thin, and the finishing and details weren't there.
I understand why the quality of the dresses/blouses was compromised--Jane was clearly producing in such limited numbers that there was no way she could maintain previous quality and have them be affordable. But therein lies the rub--if she wants to design, she should do so, but do it properly. There's a recession and few people wants to, or can, spend $500+ on a dress that isn't as well made or designed. It's clear that she wants to avoid the fashion cycle, and that I respect, but at the same time, her customers want something more--dare I say, better--than the pop-ups have offered.
Another peeve is the still high prices for Fall merchandise--pieces that have been available online for months. A few coats are 40-50% off, but this is too small a reduction given that it's May and that means Fall 2012 coats will be shipping in two or three months. I know there is a small coterie of customers who buy immediately, who have very deep pockets (like the celebrities that follow Jane), but once these people have purchased their pop up pieces, the rest of us are Jane's customers. If it hasn't sold, it won't sell at that price point.
All this reminds me of the ebay sellers who just continually relist items for months at the same (too high) prices without getting that the lack of customers means that their prices are way too high. If it hasn't sold by now, it won't at that price--and maybe it won't sell at all. I know people want to get a return from their investments, but sometimes, the market speaks and it does so loudly. If you want to sell, you have to price at the right level.
Now, it may just be that Jane will issue further reductions--I may also be completely wrong and everything might very well sell out at these prices. But my gut tells me (as does the silence online and the reports from the none-too-crowded pop-ups first day) that these prices are still too high--20% reductions on fall merchandise won't make people change their minds and spend--particularly as we all sense yet another pop-up will inevitably happen soon, that this one could run longer and the clothing will still be available, long after its initial charms faded, still waiting for customers who may very well have moved on and away from a brand whose new incarnation as a pop-up may have sullied its image.