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The New Face of Style.com

NEW YORK — Style.com, the online home of Vogue and W magazines, will unveil today a redesign aimed at attracting a broader audience.<br><br>"The old Style.com captured hard-line fashionistas passionate about shopping and runway, the kind of...

NEW YORK — Style.com, the online home of Vogue and W magazines, will unveil today a redesign aimed at attracting a broader audience.

“The old Style.com captured hard-line fashionistas passionate about shopping and runway, the kind of people who not only know who Nicolas Ghesquière is but can also spell his name correctly,” said editor in chief Jamie Pallot.

“Now we’re reaching out to people who know who Nicolas Ghesquière is but can’t spell his name,” added Style.com executive editor Janet Ozzard, who joined last December.

Both Style.com and WWD are owned by Advance Publications. The new version of the site includes a revamped home page that engages news junkies as well as visualists, a redesigned logo and a promotional campaign starting in October with ads in W, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Lucky, Allure, Jane and The New Yorker.

Normally, traffic on the site booms during fashion weeks and declines in the off-season. During the fall 2002 shows, the site clocked 560,000 unique visitors, versus 441,000 to 490,000 average unique visitors per month from April to July. Now Style.com is attempting to cultivate a year-round audience.

The Web site also claims to be thriving with a more traditional type of e-commerce centered on advertising. “Our previous arrangement with Neiman Marcus involved building a Neiman’s store on our site and transacting e-commerce directly,” explained Ozzard. “Now Neiman’s has bought an ad package with us and are positioned throughout the site, so that shoppers can click through to their online store to transact. We’ve found that not only is Neiman’s making more money this way, but so are we in commissions.” Pallot would not disclose actual click-through sales figures or ad rates.

Pallot rattled off a laundry list of year-to-date advertisers on the site, such as Absolut, Chanel, Mercedes-Benz, Diesel, Emporio Armani, Nike, Ralph Lauren and Saks Fifth Avenue. New accounts for fall include Sharp, MAC Cosmetics and Nine West.

The latest redesign follows previous changes at the site. In February, Style.com closed down its popular “Gossip,” “Models,” “Celebrities,” and “Advice” forums, a vox populi where angry users could vent their aggression at targets ranging from Gwyneth Paltrow to Sophie Dahl. But the forums ultimately proved uncontrollable. “They were a huge drain on our energy, we were constantly fielding complaint calls from socialites who’d been insulted online,” said Pallot. “Plus, a lot of the forum people weren’t fashionistas, they were just enraged people looking for an outlet.”

Style.com instituted four new forums — fashion, beauty, shopping and Vogue — which are less prone to eliciting invective. So where do fashion rage-aholics congregate now? “I’m sure they’ve found a new home at, like, http://www.vulgarity.com or something,” said Pallot.