Westward Leaning is betting on Olivia Palermo’s selling power.
Editorial coverage of the 28-year-old, front-row regular and former reality star wearing Westward Leaning sunglasses has spurred more sales for the company’s e-commerce site than shots of much bigger stars — Justin Bieber, Charlize Theron or Jessica Alba — sporting the brand.
And today, the company will capitalize on that trend and release an eight-style collaboration designed in partnership with Palermo that will be sold for $210 a pair exclusively at oliviapalermo.com/olivia-palermo-x-westward-leaning/.
“Keyword searches featuring Olivia or some derivative of her name are the only individual-specific keywords in the top tier of revenue-driving organic searches related to Westward Leaning,” cofounder Robert Denning told WWD. “No other person makes it into the top echelon, [or] has the kind of conversion power that Olivia has. When Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez broke up, he left wearing the pair of sunglasses we’d gifted Selena. I thought it would lead to a huge spike in sales, but didn’t move the dial at all.”
The collaboration with Palermo includes black, tortoiseshell, frosted white and frosted gray translucent frames with either faux sea glass or blackened redwood inlay on the temples. All styles have tarnished gold, mirrored lenses.
Palermo said “gold is the new tan” and noted the collection was striving to be “elegant, cool and not too in-your-face.”
Westward Leaning launched as an e-tail site in March 2012 with the intent of building a direct-to-consumer business. But interest from Barneys New York, Opening Ceremony, bloomingdales.com, saks.com and Urban Outfitters — all of which now carry the brand — caused the company to change course, Denning said. The eyewear is carried in more than 70 doors worldwide, up from 25 in November, and more than half of the company’s sales now come from wholesale accounts.
“If I had my way, it would have always stayed as an online business,” Denning said. “I would make sure the tissue paper was folded exactly how I wanted to. But you can’t reach the audience you want. A lot of pure-play e-commerce startups are starting to realize that this snobby attitude toward ‘generic retail’ is starting to change. It’s a bias and more and more brands are realizing what we’ve realized. There is this huge segment of the customer base that is untapped if you don’t move beyond your own Web site.”
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion
@longchamp, which marks its 70th anniversary this year, just opened its biggest U.S. store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. On the lower level there’s a floor-to-ceiling display of the brand’s iconic Le Pliage bag – in all of its different colors, shapes and sizes. Customers can also have their product personalized in-store by imprinting names, initials or emblems. #wwdfashion (📷: @ericmtownsend)
“Whenever I’m in that place of sound and music, I don’t have fear or nervousness…This album has a lot of themes of courage and boldness and I want to be the soundtrack for people’s lives. I’ll be so happy if [my songs] evoke strength in people, which I know music has done for me,” says @kimbramusic of her newest album “Primal Heart.” The New Zealand-born singer sat down with WWD to talk about her music, newest tour and connecting with hear fans — read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)