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Target Goes 'Vintage Modern' with O'Brien

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, May 16, 2005

Minneapolis — “Vintage Modern,” the home furnishings collection created by designer Thomas O'Brien, fills the last of the designer/high-end statements in the five-pronged Target home furnishings lifestyles.

Vintage Modern will top the modern lifestyle, joining the Isaac Mizrahi collection called “Isaac in the Home” that sits atop the contemporary statement, Fieldcrest for traditional, and Simply Shabby Chic for casual. Global, the first of which earlier this year highlighted a company-sourced home collection from around the world, will again be designed and sourced internally.

The 500 sku Thomas O'Brien home furnishings collection that ranges from home textiles to furniture to tabletop, rugs, accessories and housewares is being previewed this week in New York simultaneously with the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. It will be launched in the Target stores in the fall.

According to Gregg Steinhafel, Target president, it is one of the largest collections Target has launched and “is among the best quality offers” in the company's repertoire.

O'Brien, a designer of highend home furnishings, considers his work “warm modernist” with products that reflect a classic background interpreted in a mid-century manner. He avoids the term “contemporary” when defining his work.

His is the among the first of high-end home furnishings designers translating a full home furnishings collection at mainstream price points.

He defines his work as “authentic” when discussing “classic” and “modern” as categories and focuses on understated, elegant design.

His collection for Target follows this path with an appreciation of classics interpreted in a soft modern mood.

O'Brien is known for his extensive furniture collection at Hickory Chair as well as lighting at Visual Comfort, Simmons mattresses, Salton at Home tableware, Groundworks decorative fabrics, Waterworks bathroom fittings and hardware and an exclusive bed and bath textiles program for Marshall Field's.

From the perspective of his impact on the high-end, designer-driven consumer segment, Jay Reardon, president of Hickory Chair, commented, “The collection will allow consumer to buy the finest designs from Thomas at Target, and they will appreciate the depths of the products they acquired. And rather than diminish our position, they will appreciate ours even more. Anyone today who denies that customers cross-shop is out of reality with the world.”

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