SLIDESHOW: The start-to-finish madness of Jason Wu x Target at the Northgate store. About 90 women were lined up when the doors opened this past Sunday, February 5.

Few things get me out of bed before ten on a Sunday morning, but the release of Jason Wu’s Target collection is one of them. Waking at 6:30 on Februrary 5, I checked the Target website for the status of the collection: sold out. That was my first indication that the Northgate Target would be a nightmare. Deciding to forgo a cup of coffee, I raced out the door and was roughly the thirtieth person in line at 7:15, forty-five minutes before the store opened.

This was clearly my first time at the rodeo. I passed on Missoni for Target last September, and opted to stay warm and indoors for the Lanvin Hearts release at H&M in chilly November, 2010. So when the store manager came out 10 minutes before opening to inform the crowd of about ninety women that no pushing, stealing out of carts, running, or fighting would be tolerated I smiled naively thinking she was just being overly cautious. When she then pleaded with us to please only take what we personally wanted, in our own sizes, it hadn’t occurred to me that anyone would behave differently.

How wrong I was.

The doors opened and a stream of women power-walked at a pace just on the verge of running to the five racks situated about fifty feet from the entrance, and then, mayhem. I managed to snatch up a sleeveless floral-print chiffon dress in my size while those near me indiscriminately grabbed three or four. The crowd pushed me around the rack where I found the blush-colored sheer blouse I had lusted over online, again thankfully in my size. I looked for the black flared dress only to find an empty rack and one woman carrying several of them–including two that would fit me. Sigh. Making one final scan of the remaining hangers for anything that I could reasonably wear and seeing that my sizes were all gone, I slowly backed out of the madness.

From the periphery I observed carts spilling over with tote bags, people complaining and gesturing wildly to the manager, women unsure of what they had picked up while sorting through their handfuls of finds amidst the melee. It was like Y2K with shift dresses and trench coats instead of canned goods and bottled water. One shopper whispered to her clothing-laden friend, “let’s head over the bedding section to see what we got.” My two items and the straw satchel I found looked pretty pathetic by comparison.

By 8:15 there wasn’t an item left on the racks. I made my purchase and was heading out to my car as a hopeful latecomer ran past me in the parking lot. I briefly thought she looks about my size, I wonder if she has any cash on her before reprimanding myself for getting caught up in the profit-motive of the morning.

Click through the slideshow for images of the Northgate Target bedlam, and take a minute to let us know if you were among the early birds, and how you fared. Seen Wu merch at a far-flung Target outside the metro area? Anything in our size? Don’t hold back on us.