With the SS12 shows complete, appetites for the latest trends have been thoroughly whetted. Retro, underwater, florals – we all know now which trends are going to be big. Yet we have to wait six months before the first garments drop. Highstreet retailers like Zara are quick to fill the gap with lower priced versions, but it seems the luxury market is really missing a trick. Net-a-Porter‘s visionary Natalie Massenet agrees. In conversation with Business of Fashion last year she said:
‘There can’t be anything more frustrating than being shown something really beautiful and wonderful that you want, particularly if it’s weather appropriate, and not being able to get it.’
Her remedy? To skip a season and make catwalk and luxury product direct-to-buy. It’s a topic attracting much comment, and is particularly relevant as more brands are getting onboard. The latest is Uniqueness, a collaboration between Pinko and Alessandra Facchinetti, former designer at Gucci and Valentino. The trans-seasonal collection went online after the show for delivery in an impressive 48 hours. Facchinetti, who is ‘inspired by the web’, says her aim is to break ‘away from the traditional cycles’ of the fashion industry.
We’ve saluted Burberry‘s digital brilliance before so it came as no surprise that they top L2 Think Tank‘s chart of digital IQ ranking in their latest report, released this week. Burberry’s sales climbing 30% in the first half to September is proof that digital works. Their SS12 collection, available for purchase online immediately after the catwalk, captivated watchers worldwide.
With catwalks being live-streamed to a vast and global audience, the attention these events garner should be harnessed by brands and translated into sales. Burberry and Uniqueness, though most publicised, aren’t the only ones showing foresight. As early as 2008, American designer Jared Gold was tapping into the audience’s demand for purchasable goods, hosting the first ever ‘pop-up’ shopping event post-catwalk. Henry Holland‘s AW10/11 collection was shown in conjunction with the launch of a mobile app, where attendees at the show could purchase t-shirts as they watched. Gareth Pugh sold a limited edition scarf through SHOWstudio who live-streamed his SS11 show last Autumn. Proving that demand is there, luxury e-tailers Moda Operandi host virtual trunk shows of new collections days after they’ve shown, taking half payment for orders which will then be manufactured and delivered six months later.
Style.com have cottoned on too. Later this month they launch Issue 01 of their magazine; their first forays into print offer deep coverage of the SS12 shows, which don’t normally feature editorially for another three months. They are also teaming up with six New York designers (Eddie Borgo, Jason Wu, Proenza Schouler, Rag & Bone, Phillip Lim and Alexander Wang) to bring their readers Instant Gratification – a purchasable selection bringing online, print and retail together harmoniously. Massenet knows it, Burberry know it, we know it…’the season’ won’t live forever.