Of course a bicycle is included among the 50 exclusive gifts by top fashion designers – hello Marc Jacobs, Prabal Gurung and Rodarte — in the new Target + Neiman Marcus holiday extravaganza. The bloom-bedecked and belt-buckled 3-speed cruiser ($499), below, by Alice + Olivia, rolls with feathered cocktail dresses, martini shakers and leopard slippers as a sign of the good life. And why not?

Alice Olivia Bicycle for TargetThe promotion, which popped up on Fifth Avenue for one day only yesterday and goes live online Dec. 1, is the latest of the mass merchant’s partnerships to promote high-style, yet affordable, fashions and accessories by top names. And it’s not Target’s first foray into themed two-wheelers. A European-style bicycle imprinted with Italian luxury knitwear maker Missoni’s signature zig-zag pattern was included in a ’60s-inspired capsule collection for Target last year.

The holiday offering is one more example of how the fashion industry embraces cycling. While I can’t say I’m a fan in general of big-box store bikes, especially when comparably priced models are available from mainstream brands, the value of these promotions seems less about the machine itself than about its promise.

In the fashion arena, a bicycle placed in an ad, a shop window or an editorial layout, becomes the creative representation of healthy, stylish and carefree living. Greater emphasis on lifestyle, as well as lessons from retail fashion merchandising, must surely be food for thought as the cycling industry seeks to attract more people – especially women — to the pleasures and practical advantages of cycling.

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