LONDON — The big brands dominated Net-a-porter’s fall buy, along with some hot, emerging labels that have been selling out on the luxury e-tailer’s web site.
“I think the power of Gucci continues in a very big way,” said Lisa Aiken, retail fashion director at Net-a-porter. “It’s a brand where there’s a little bit of conversation around longevity. We are not seeing any slowdown, and they really built out every category. That’s when you really see the power coming through.”
She said the most investment went to the top five names, including Gucci, Prada and Chloé. “They are all in there,” Aiken said. “We call them our power brands.” Aiken pointed to the Gucci logo T-shirt as the biggest selling item last season. “We also sold out some of the casual jeans,” she said. “So it went everywhere very quickly.”
Among the key pieces on the retailer’s shopping list for fall were a statement skirt from Prada, the logo T-shirt from Gucci, a blue plaid blazer from Victoria Beckham, a high neck line blouse from Fendi, a floral print dress from Acne Studios, knitwear from Calvin Klein and Balenciaga, a minidress from Chloé, wide-leg pants from Joseph and an oversize coat from Saint Laurent.
On the other end of the spectrum, Aiken said one of Net’s fastest-growing brands is Off-White. “Some of that growth is down to the fact that they’ve increased their additional categories. So bags and shoes are becoming much bigger proportion of their business. But also, Off-White is selling out as soon as it goes online. It means that there’s more potential there for growth.”
She said there were high sell-throughs with Magda Butrym coats and Alanui knitwear and the site sold just over 250 units of Isabel Marant blazers.
Dresses were among the primary categories the retailer focused on for fall. “I think dresses are really coming back into the spotlight,” Aiken said. “Dresses always count for around 30 percent for spotlight. It’s just not about those tailored styles that she is wearing to the office; it’s about introducing those fashion pieces that make a statement in their own life.”
Aiken spoke at Net-a-porter’s fall presentation held at the Tapestry Room at the Ned in East London. It was the first time Aiken has led the trends presentation for the retailer since Sarah Rutson, vice president of global buying, stepped down from her role.
Aiken, who works with 20 buyers at Net, spoke about the site’s “Hot Five,” a strategic method showing how the retailer buys. She noted that 15 percent of the fall buy is earmarked for high summer. She said they bought Ganni, Ellery, Joseph, Staud, Missoni, Topshop Unique, Kiini, Rebecca Vallance and Zimmerman.
She also noted the rise of the cult piece, which is focused on logos, and pointed to items including Off-White’s over-the-knee boots, Vetements logo hooded coat and Gucci’s logo T-shirt. The T-shirt sold more than 1,000 units in a matter of weeks and Aiken said the retailer has restocked 5,000 units for the season ahead.
Among the 50 upcoming launches for the retailer are Borgo de Nor, Brandon Maxwell, Hellessy, Hunza G, Joos Tricot, Khaite, Koché, Sid Neigum, Staud and Wanda Nylon.
Meanwhile, for accessories the luxury e-tailer will see brands including Ellery jewelry, Danse Lente, Neous, Trademark, Cult Gaia, Roger Vivier and The Volon join the roster.
Aiken said statement earrings will prevail and can be worn with eveningwear as well as casualwear. She pointed to the collaboration with Catbird as one of its biggest brands as the site maxed out production with the Brooklyn-based jewelry store.
The exclusive launch of Cartier’s new Panthère watch, which WWD reported exclusively last week, saw the first watch sold within two minutes via Whatsapp, the messaging app, she said.
The Saint Laurent crystal diamanté slouchy boot, which is priced at 7,000 pounds, or $9,018, was a standout piece for the retailer. Aiken noted a big resurgence in sexy heels, calling them jewelry for the feet. Other styles that were key included footwear in hues of white and red, kitten heels, stiletto, slouch, sock-like shoes and combat style footwear.
For bags the retailer highlighted Gucci, Prada and Balenciaga and said that customers love Gucci, Chloe, Isabel Marant, Saint Laurent, Fendi, Loewe and J.W. Anderson.
In terms of trends, she touted tan as a key hue while styles in unusual shapes, hands-free styles such as backpacks and belt bags — influenced by sportswear — were also key.