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By Ajit Berg, Published September 23 2011

Berg: Missoni mayhem hits home for Fargo fashionistas

If you are not a fashion junkie, you may be asking yourself who is Missoni, and what’s this hoopla all about?

I was a fashion stylist in LA for 15 years, and I have news for you: Mayhem and Missoni did not start at Target.

Missoni has been a sought-after line for decades, and celebrities will buy it at any price. It’s considered a fashion crime to not have Missoni if you’re rich and famous.

I happened to be a personal shopper and stylist for Barneys New York in Beverly Hills, and I frequently waited by the shipment truck that brought the “precious” cargo from Italy to our store. I wanted to be the very first to get all the best pieces for my VIP clients. If I didn’t, I would truly have been out of a job.

Harrison Ford was among my clients who loved to buy the special pieces for his girlfriend (now wife), actress Calista Flockhart. Other celebrity Missoni lovers include Cameron Diaz, Demi Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba and Katie Holmes.

Missoni is a famous fashion house in Italy known for its luxurious knitwear. Its geometric, zig-zag patterns in a kaleidoscope of colors give it its distinct and timeless look. The designs have a bohemian vibe, as the line boomed in the 1960s and ’70s. For some, it’s an acquired taste, but once you know how to work the pieces into your wardrobe, you can really become addicted. The dresses are sexy and feminine and pop with fun colors and prints. Just a cardigan or scarf can be enough to spice up your outfit.

Missoni also is a family-run business and has been around for three generations. The granddaughter of the original founders, Margharita Missoni, is the creative designer for the Missoni for Target line. She’s a celebrity in her own right; the Missoni family is considered fashion royalty around the world.

Price points are high, anywhere from $600 to $3,000 depending on the item. The Missoni for Target line offers affordable prices for tops, sweaters and dresses from $19 to $54 and accessories from $2.99 to $54. The line also offers menswear, children’s wear and housewares.

Target has done collaborations with other designers in the past: Stella McCartney (daughter of Paul McCartney), Alexander McQeen (designer of Kate Middleton’s wedding dress), Zac Posen (2003 designer of the year) and Rodarte (one of Natalie Portman’s favorite designers). So I was beyond excited to hear Missoni was doing the biggest collaboration with Target and that it would be coming to Fargo.

I knew it would be mayhem in LA and other big cities. My friends told me they were waiting in line at 5 a.m. for the doors to open and it was like a stampede when they went in. They said people were just throwing things in their carts and everything sold out within an hour. I never dreamed it would be chaos here in Fargo, too.

I wasn’t able to go to Target until the second day of Missoni’s arrival here and was shocked to see it was almost cleaned out. I managed to snag the last makeup bag and a gorgeous jacket for my 22-month-old, but I couldn’t believe I had missed the boat.

I asked a few women looking at the items where they heard about Missoni, and they said on the news and online. Some salespeople told me there were women actually fighting over pieces. Many people bought the items just to sell on eBay and were able to get up to triple the prices they paid for them, especially since the items are not available in Europe and Asia.

I was disappointed to not have gotten more of the special limited-edition pieces my first time around in Target, though I did pick up a beautiful dress and some sweaters, along with a gorgeous tote bag, on a more recent trip. Turns out someone had made a big return.

So my fashion tip for Fargo fashionistas: Don’t give up. Keep checking back at the store. There is always the chance of a few new things hitting the racks.

And when Target is ready to launch its next designer line, I will be the first to let you know.

Ajit Berg is a former personal shopper for Barneys New York in Beverly Hills. She and her husband, Chris, live in Fargo with their daughter. Ajit can be reached at abenepal@yahoo.com.

Look for more fashion columns by Ajit in the upcoming SheSays section of The Forum, launching Oct. 3.