Budget-conscious fashionistas dragged themselves out of bed and queued up early Sunday morning to await the launch of Target's collaboration with upscale designer Jason Wu.
The women's fashion line from the young designer, best known for dressing First Lady Michelle Obama for the inaugural ball, features 53 pieces including dresses, separates, handbags and accessories. Prices range from $19.99 to $59.99.
By 7:45 a.m., more than 100 people were waiting outside the Target store in West Hollywood, many wearing sweatpants, stifling yawns and clutching cups of coffee.
"This is insane. I'm totally shocked," said Jennifer McNamara, 23, of West Hollywood, while eyeing her competition in line. "I cannot believe how many people are in line. It's just clothes."
Promptly at 8 a.m., Target employees began letting in groups of 10 to 15 shoppers at a time. Once inside, dozens of women (and a few men) swarmed the displays and grabbed hangers of gauzy blouses and printed frocks, some snatching clothes from other people's hands. Some circled the racks like hungry lions posed to devour a fresh kill, swooping in to pluck an item up from in between the hordes.
Standing beyond the scrum of shoppers, Sheila Guilford, 55, triumphantly holding an armload of colorful dresses and tops. Guilford said she had learned her lesson after standing in line last September for the wildly popular Missoni line at Target: Get to the store early, and be prepared to elbow your way through the crowd.
"The Missoni launch was really chaotic. People were shoving and pushing and rushing into the door," said the West Hollywood teacher. "This is much more civilized and tame."
However, when employees brought in fresh stock to replenish the empty racks, shoppers began grabbing clothes before they could be hung.
"We will start kicking people out of the store if you don't wait!" a security guard barked. "Stand back until we hang up the clothes!"
Similar scenes of civilized madness played out at other Target stores.
In Eagle Rock. about 50 people standing in line hurried into the stores after the doors opened.
"No running. And be kind to each other," Target assistant manager Joseph Tong implored shoppers.
After a fraught five minutes of grabbing and snatching, just a few skirts and dresses -- size 14 -- remained on the racks.
In Valencia, early-morning shoppers also rushed to the Jason Wu section, filling their carts with blouses, dresses and purses, clearing most of the racks within a few minutes.
Some shoppers griped that they could not find what they were looking for despite getting up early.
"It's a little disappointing," said Santa Clarita resident Bernice Bank, who spent $200 total on blouses, purses and other items. "I thought there would be more."
Many shoppers also woke up early to buy items online, and reported the Target site working well, although many pieces sold out within hours. Target's launch of Missoni last year angered many shoppers after heavy traffic crashed the retailer's website and prevented some people from buying online.
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Were you able to snag any pieces, ONTD?