Target Launches Missoni Italian Fashion Line, Website Goes Boom

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“Maybe we should have gone with the line from Wet Seal instead.” Alright, so that’s not really what Target said after its website crashed and burned yesterday as fashion-crazed shoppers swarmed the company’s servers and wrestled Target.com to its knees, but it might be close.

What it actually said, in a message to visitors after the site imploded: “Woof! We are suddenly extremely popular. There is no need to refresh your browser. Please stay here and we’ll get you in as soon as we can! Thank you and our apologies for the inconvenience.”

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The chain store’s trying to market itself as hip to upscale fashion items from luxury clothing designer Missoni, but with a discount spin. Target managed to secure a limited-edition line of clothing from the Italian designer. The line debuted Tuesday.

And then—nothing. The New York Times says Target.com was missing in action for much of yesterday, overwhelmed by frantic shoppers, and that the company’s claiming demand for items outpaced your average Black Friday, typically the year’s biggest get-out-and-shop event.

Missoni’s apparently a big deal, speaking as someone who’s fashion unconscious. Also: ridiculously expensive. Search on ‘Missoni’ and you might conjure a Banded V-Neck Dress selling for just under $1,500 or a Beaded Evening Dress for $2,345. But the Target line has items for as little as $10 (a Missoni for Target Purple Thong) and Girls’ Brown Leggings for $25.

“The excitement for this limited-time designer collection is unprecedented,” said Target spokesperson Morgan O’Murray. Target public relations: masters of the obvious!

The web site was back Tuesday night around 11:00 p.m. Eastern time, though while I was poking around for this story, it was running at just two speeds: “slow” and “hung.”

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Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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