Brand Partnerships: A Brilliant Way to Dial Up Your Cool


Nothing gets me quite as excited as coming across a collaboration between two disparate brands that propel each other to new heights of greatness when partnered.

Conversely, nothing is as lame as a partnership between two has-beens.

This past week I ran into examples of both. But let’s start with the collaboration that I believe raises the bar for what a successful brand partnerships looks like.


Hearth & Hand with Magnolia at Target

Last October I visited Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, Texas. It was powerful retailing. Link to blog post here.

  • Based on the crowds of shoppers and the buzz around the place, I knew someone would swoop them up. And that somebody is Target
  • It’ll be a win-win for both
  • The Gaines’ show, Fixer Upper, is the top show on HGTV with 4.3 million viewers (after 5 years, the Gaines’ have announced this will be their last season)
  • Joanna’s aesthetic is homey but very chic (most of my NYC designer friends love it)
  • Of course, the collaboration and design process will be featured prominently on the show (I don’t know this for sure – but of course it will!!)
  • Their home and lifestyle brand includes 300 items ranging from tabletop to home décor to giftables
  • The partnership extends over several years with many seasonal collections
  • The first collection arrives in store on Nov. 5, just in time for the holidays.

Read on below for 3 more winning collaborations plus two that miss the mark.



DISARONNO x MISSONI Limited Edition Bottles


LOVE this concept, now in its fifth year, and especially love this year’s Missoni designs. And truth be told, this is the first time I’ve seen this collaboration.

  • Disaronno’s Icon project was launched in 2013. Each year’s collaboration has been built around an iconic Italian fashion brand e.g. Moschino, Versace.
  • The Missoni edition launched last Monday (September 25)
  • A percentage of sales are also donated to the Disaronno charity:  “Fashion 4 Development.”


 Adidas Originals Collaboration with Alexander Wang


  • The Adidas brand has been on fire lately.
  • Their athleisure collaborations were a first step in putting them back on the map – especially over the last two years with a new management team at the helm.
  • The two Alexander Wang collaborations have been especially strong and have created a huge amount of buzz around the brand.
  • They’re clearly firing on all cylinders. Their basketball shoe sales were up 40% during August in comparison to a sales drop at Nike.
  • Shares of Adidas are up 50% this year vs. +5% for Nike and -36% for Under Armour
  • As I write this, Adidas is mired in a college basketball bribery scandal so we’ll see if the brand is still on an upswing next month.




  • Have been a major fan of the Supreme brand for 20 years.
  • They’re masters of the most creative and innovative partnership and have done numerous ones over the years e.g. BAPE, North Face, Thom Browne, Comme des Garcons
  • This collaboration with Vuitton, however, took the brand to another level
  • And just to hammer home exactly what I missed out on, one of the women working by me at Ludlow House, whips out her Supreme x Vuitton wallet after lunch every day and I’m pea green with envy.
  • Big shout out to Michael Burke, Vuitton’s chairman and CEO for coming up with the concept and to Kim Jones, Menswear Artistic Director and major streetwear and skatewear aficionado, for seconding the idea. Jones, in fact, used to work for Supreme (in the shipping department) while he was in college.
  • The line was sold exclusively through Louis Vuitton stores and pop ups but NOT at any of the Supreme stores. If you go online (as I did after I saw the wallet), beware of scammers. Price points vary from $100 to $3000. My tablemate told me she bought hers at the Vuitton store.


Marie Claire’s Pop Up With Mastercard


  • I didn’t have a lot of hope for “The Next Big Thing Concept Shop” but it was even more of a yawn than I had anticipated.
  • All the so-called tech innovations (iPads, smart mirrors, using an app to pay) have been around for years so there’s absolutely no reason to put this pop up on your to-do list.
  • But should you be forced to check it out, it’s at 130 Wooster Street, thru Oct 12.

Hy-Vee’s Collaboration with Wahlburgers and Orangetheory Fitness:

  • There is just so much wrong with this marriage of brands starting with the fact that Wahlburgers is having all kinds of problems paying their vendors in NYC (they’ve had to close their Coney Island location while their Times Square location has been on indefinite hold).
  • Why go into business with a brand that is flatlining – or worse? It tarnishes your own brand.
  • And why does Orangetheory feel it belongs in the supermarket?

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