NEW YORK — “Runway to reality” is no longer just a catchphrase this fashion week.
After testing the concept quietly last September, QVC is moving full steam ahead with its runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, where, on Feb. 14, the shopping network plans to stage a live runway show and two-hour selling portion of the pieces from the runway on TV. It means the spring merchandise can land in shoppers’ homes within two days of the show — and months before the fall collections, also on view that week, hit the stores.
QVC is using the runway exposure to introduce several new lines, including Logo by Lori Goldstein, A List by Alvin Valley, Elisabeth Hasselbeck for Dialogue, and a handbag line by “Desperate Housewives” stylist Cate Adair. The show will also bring existing QVC brands M by Marc Bouwer, B. Makowsky and Simply.Chloe Doa to the Bryant Park tents.
QVC was encouraged to return this season after its test run resulted in viewership nearly triple that of other programs.
“We exceeded our sales objectives,” said Michael George, QVC’s president and chief executive officer. “We had 22 sellouts of the 27 products we sold, so the customer interest in the products was high. But even more important than that, we posted an all-time QVC record for highest viewership outside of the fourth quarter.
“Both from the commercial sales aspect but also from the entertainment value, it really energized our consumers,” George added.
QVC’s use of the runway to fuel clothes sales could further inspire other designers, who have often lamented that the heightened media attention and immediate coverage of shows on Web sites and blogs doesn’t always serve the business best, to adopt similar tactics. Last February, Halston teamed up with Net-a-porter.com to offer two pieces from its fall runway for immediate delivery. Like Halston, the QVC initiative helps capitalize on the buzz and interest in the shows, but at a mass price point.
“We are clearly trying to expand our fashion business, and bring those sorts of designer names to our customer and our price points,” George said.
Among the new designers the firm has recruited is “The View” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. She already had some fashion experience under her belt, having worked at Puma and Reebok, designed her own wedding gown and studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. “I am aiming to achieve something that is tasteful, chic, has a hint of the past but is attentive to a modern woman’s needs, in terms of fabric, makeup, lining and price,” Hasselbeck told WWD. The collection, which retails from $40 to $80, includes a Ponte knit dress, a jacket with a brocade feel, an animal print cardigan, a long cable knit vest sweater with a ruffled sleeve, and a cropped ruched jacket with a nautical lining.
Hasselbeck famously campaigned with Sarah Palin during the election but sees her collection on many different types of women. “I don’t discriminate....I think all women will be happy with these clothes,” she said. “The woman who shops for QVC is smart and knows the clothes need to work for her.
“[Palin] would absolutely fall into that category, but so would Michelle Obama, I bet,” she added, noting she plans to wear the pieces herself. “I think I snuck a piece on the air already,” Hasselbeck said.
Stylist Lori Goldstein, who has worked with designers such as Vera Wang and magazines like Italian Vogue and W, is also new to the lineup. The network is relying on Goldstein to bring an insider’s fashion point of view to the program, and her collection for QVC, priced from $30 to $120, will include a military-style jacket with a ruffled detail, a black and white faux snakeskin bag and a military-style jacket with taffeta ruffles on the button, and several scarves (Goldstein rarely leaves home without a scarf). “QVC has given me this opportunity to really pick out my favorite pieces and put them together in the way that I always style and dress,” she said. Goldstein is also expected to offer her view on fashion week, designers and trends.
“It is an amazing time to be looking for ways to take the brand in different levels, especially in this almost nonexistent economy,” said Alvin Valley, whose line for QVC will retail for $54 to $89. (He will also show his signature collection during fashion week on Feb. 12.)
“QVC has a following which does not diminish the appeal to my brand but rather creates a new way to reach a consumer directly,” said Valley.
QVC plans to return with the show concept in coming seasons, adding new designers each season.
“Fashion week for us is also an opportunity to tell our story, and to begin to move away from those 20-year-old, outdated stereotypes of home shopping, to what it is today: a multimedia platform for educating and entertaining customers, providing great fashion to them,” George said. “I think there is a lot of misconception about what our business is. This is a way to really break through those misconceptions and show beautiful product from great designers, with the excitement and energy from fashion week behind it.”
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)