NEW YORK — When Rue La La last month named Robert Hall chief marketing officer, there was some collective head scratching within the fashion industry. Hall had been vice president of brand development at Boston Beer Company for the last decade. His appointment begged the questions: Do beer and fashion have anything in common, and if they don’t, does it matter?
“It may look like we made an untraditional hire,” said Ben Fischman, chief executive officer of Rue La La. “Bob has a combination of fabulous brand building experience and an understanding of viral marketing. He has a great knowledge of the Internet and the brands we work with. Just because he doesn’t come from an Internet company on the West Coast doesn’t mean he can’t be successful.”
Rue La La hopes Hall will help the e-commerce site’s participating brands communicate more with its member base. “Unlike many of the people in the private sale space, we believe we’re a platform for our brand partners,” Fischman said. “We want to put our brands on a pedestal.” The e-tailer eschews traditional advertising such as TV, print and outdoor, opting instead for less-expensive crowd sourcing, leveraging the power of friends telling friends and virality.
“The specialty beer market operates much like high-end spirits and wine,” said Hall, adding the business has similarities to luxury fashion. “What interested me was the opportunity to extend my understanding in lifestyle marketing. What [also] excited me about coming to Rue La La is the dramatic change in consumer behavior. This is a rapidly growing category.”
“[Rue La La] wanted someone who was going to be an intelligently disruptive thinker,” said Gene Manheim, a managing director at Herbert Mines Assoc., who led the search. “They wanted someone who would make the company a little uncomfortable as it’s considering what it’s going to do to attract and retain customers.”
Fischman said Rue is not having difficulty accessing merchandise as the field gets more crowded. “Our members love that they’re buying product they see in other stores,”he said. “We also leverage excess fabric or excess capacity. It’s about all opportunistic opportunities. Because we’re a lifestyle destination, there’s always plenty of opportunities because we can sell a great contemporary fashion brand or great sneaker brand or a luxury hotel in the mountains or a luxury skin care brand. That provides us with the flexibility, so there’s always something. We run brands fairly infrequently on purpose. We limit brands to four times a year because we want to constantly be offering new and exciting options.”
Rue La La might take its business outside the e-commerce space. “We have done some testing of giving Rue La La a pop-up-shop mentality and taking the excitement of a New York pop-up sale across the country,” he said. “The great part of Rue La La is the event nature of our business.”
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)