With on-site laundry facilities and gyms, Google Inc. has earned a reputation as one of the more employee-friendly companies in American business, so vice president Marissa Mayer is often asked what her favorite perk is.
“It’s actually the fact that you can ship and receive from the office,” admitted the 35-year-old search guru and confessed shopaholic. (When asked during her Q&A, she allowed that she was wearing Oscar de la Renta.) Mayer established her Internet consumer bona fides in support of a light-handed critique of the way most fashion brands design their Web sites. She called out bad habits such as an overreliance on Adobe’s Flash animation software, which is hard for Google’s search team to index and can add to load times, as well as tough-to-navigate page setups.
“Of course the fashion world loves Flash,” Mayer said of the program, which is often used to display runway shows and elaborate page introductions. “We try to do the best we can with Flash, but Flash is probably overused in the fashion retail world.”
Mayer moved on to overly paginated search results, another presentational pitfall.
“I almost always go to this page and click ‘view all,’ ” she said, displaying a Web page showing about 30 products. “Because the truth is, there’s only about 100 items, and people can scan them and scan them quickly.…Why not just get rid of pagination on these sites entirely?”
Another tip she provided was to make sure a company’s Web site offers the ability to ship and bill to different addresses, since many consumers — such as herself —have purchases shipped to offices and not their homes.
Mayer provided a few areas Google has focused on in recent years from which the fashion world might take its cues, beginning with speed. The company recently rolled out its Instant Search function, which allows users to see search results in real time as they type and is shaping customer-service expectations.
“This kind of instantaneous interaction with users is causing people to expect instantaneous turnaround,” Mayer said. “Speed really matters.”
Another Google focal point has been personalization. By introducing custom skins in Gmail and iGoogle, the company has allowed users to apply its products however they’d like.
“Platforms are really rising up and letting people personalize the things they love,” Mayer said, pointing to Gucci-, Diane von Furstenberg- and Tory Burch-branded themes on iGoogle. To illustrate the point further, she showed an industrial design mash-up she had seen at a recent design forum of an Eames lounge chair reimagined as a high chair.
“How do you take a mass-produced object and personalize it?” she asked, before citing cases such as indiDenim and NikeiD. “We’re seeing more examples of this in retail.”
Taking the idea of personalization a step or two further, Mayer said that Google is always on the lookout for “hacks” — which she described as “taking something and using it in an unexpected way” — such as Lady Gaga’s now infamous meat dress.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a Google executive, especially one who has served as head of search products and user experience, Mayer’s overall pitch was for companies to think about their customer data in a different light.
“In a lot of businesses…data really describes what’s happening,” Mayer said. “At Google, data really decides what we do next.”
@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)