SYDNEY — Westfield has recruited Hollywood superstylist Rachel Zoe to inject a little Tinseltown glamour into Australian online shopping.

Zoe is the special guest stylist and judge for Westfield StyleStream, a new integrated social media campaign and live consumer-generated runway event that will run over four hours daily from Monday to Wednesday.
Zoe won’t actually be trekking to Sydney for the launch. Tonight at 6:30 p.m., a half-hour before the first show starts, she will conduct a livestreamed press conference with a group of Sydney online fashion journalists and bloggers from center stage: the StyleStream Studio on level five of the new $1.2 billion Westfield Sydney development.

“StyleStream is a world first, exclusive to westfield.com.au,” stated Zoe. “I love it because it allows shoppers to decide what they want to see on the runway.”

On Nov. 7, Westfield invited consumers to style their own runway looks from products retailing on westfield.com.au and also cast their own models. The 800 best outfits, as selected by Zoe and Westfield, will be showcased in a series of runway shows staged on level 5 of Westfield Sydney, with the citizen stylists alerted 15 minutes prior to showtime that their outfits have been selected. They can watch the shows in person on level 5, catch the livestream at the StyleStream Hub on level 2 or watch online. For the Twitter-savvy, there’s a @style_stream Twitter handle and #stylestream hashtag. Voting is being done by Facebook, with the top 10 looks that attract the most Facebook “likes” shortlisted to win a return trip for two to Los Angeles and a three-hour styling session with Zoe’s team.

After two days the Westfield StyleStream microsite had attracted 3,000 entries, 9,000 Facebook “likes” and 26,000 unique visitors.

 Launched in April, westfield.com.au boasts 160 retailers, a small percentage of Westfield’s total offer in Australia. To pep up its online portfolio, simultaneously with the Zoe competition Westfield will launch The Designer Collection, a series of online pop-up boutiques selling local designer brands such as Sass & Bide, Alex Perry, Ksubi, Ginger & Smart and Ellery, with free shipping offered during the introductory period.

“Online for us is in a very embryonic stage” said Westfield Group Australia and New Zealand managing director Robert Jordan. “We opened in April. We’re still really putting the site together. These things take two things: time and a commitment. It’s very early days for us, but we’re very committed to it. We see online as a new medium via which we can communicate with our customers. And we’re always looking for new ways we can do that. It’s a way that we can reinforce our brick-and-mortar assets.”

According to a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Frost & Sullivan, Australians will spend more than 13.6 billion Australian dollars, or $13.89 billion at current exchange, online in 2011, up 13 percent on last year’s 12 billion Australian dollars, or $12.26 billion. The bad news for Westfield and other Australian operators, however, is that 6 billion Australian dollars, or $6.13 billion, of that is expected to be spent with offshore e-tailers, a 25 percent increase on the previous year.

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