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Marka Hansen, president of Gap North America, described McCartney’s aesthetic as “a really natural fit,” for the company, adding that the designer’s insight into children’s likes and dislikes was a plus. “[McCartney] has hands-on experience as a mother, so she understands what kids want to wear and the practical considerations that parents have when dressing their children,” Hansen said.
And McCartney was just as eager to partner with Gap on the collection, since she was determined that her children’s collection be affordable. “I think [Gap] makes a great product for the price point, and I think that it’s really important for kids to deliver really high quality and have it accessible to people,” said McCartney. “I felt that I could get the right quality of product with them.” Prices for the collection run from $14 for wool tights through to $128 for a military-style jacket.
Though the designer has created a collection for price points far lower than those of her own line, McCartney has still managed to work in plenty of details. A girl’s taupe trenchcoat, for example, is lined with cotton printed with the words “I Love You,” while the military jacket is sewn with intricate gold brocade and a tailored jacket in brushed cotton has silk lapels. “My job is to push for the best that I can do [for the price point], and [Gap’s] job is to control the cost and also give the best they can do for the price they know is realistic for their customers,” said McCartney.
And the designer took an equally democratic approach to the ad campaign. Instead of casting children from modeling agencies, McCartney put a call out on Facebook for regular kids. The images, shot by Ryan McGinley, feature 20 children ranging in age from one to eight years, who share the spotlight with fluffy baby chicks, iguanas, rabbits, a miniature donkey and even a fox. “I wanted to get real kids, and also give real parents the opportunity of having their kids in an ad campaign of this scale,” said McCartney. “We cast in Notting Hill and there were, like, queues of kids and parents around the block.”
After the runaway success of McCartney’s 2005 collection for H&M, when customers fought to grab her designs, McCartney declined to predict if the collection with Gap would create a similar frenzy. “It’s a totally different kettle of fish,” said McCartney. “It’s talking about kids, and I don’t know if the parents are going to have a frenzy buying something for their kids.”
McCartney did allow she’s looking forward to the response. “It’s kind of nerve-racking and also really exciting,” she said.