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As designers begin to offer instant gratification instead of six months of anticipation, the big question is: How well will they deliver to customers?

This story first appeared in the October 12, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

WWD reviewed the in-store and online shopping experience for brands who made spring 2017, fall 2016 and capsule collections available for immediate purchase during the recently ended fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Our reporters tested the process, from ease of ordering and the helpfulness of sales assistants to how quickly a purchase arrived — and each brand was given one to five stars. Who really delivered on the instant fashion promise? Read on to find out.

BURBERRY

The Review
By Kari Hamanaka

How We Shopped: In-store and online

• Full disclosure: WWD was invited as part of an intimate group of guests to sip Champagne at Burberry’s Beverly Hills store on Rodeo Drive and watch a live-stream of the fashion show in London — a unique experience that wasn’t necessarily open to the masses.

It was exciting to be somewhat a part of the presentation, oohing and aahing as models glided through Makers House and applauding as they took their final walk. At the Beverly Hills location, employees tore down the paper covering the store’s window displays the moment the show ended, adding a bit to the drama as we clamored upstairs to see what had just been streamed before our eyes. Guests looked in awe at the painter who was hand-personalizing bridle bags while they examined military-style wool coats, silk pajama blouses and pants, organza skirts and ruffle bags displayed under cloches. “This is actually fabulous,” one shopper said to his friend of a tapestry print shift dress retailing for $2,395.

Sizing appeared ample and business appeared to be brisk. I placed a call to the store a couple hours after the live-stream ended and a manager urged me to get there as soon as possible if I wanted to see something in person because many items were selling out as we spoke.

For customers who couldn’t make it to a store, the online experience delivered just as much drama with an offering nearly as robust as that found in the bricks-and-mortar locations, if not a bit more shoppable (although some may have found the opposite to be true). There really would have been no excuse to have not known the nuts and bolts of what was happening: Burberry’s social media team did a fine job of making sure anyone who cared had all the information about what was going on and when the items would become available for sale. Once the show ended, pictures of each look from the runway appeared alongside a breakdown of what each outfit consisted of, making it easy to click the items I wanted.

Item/Cost: Puff-sleeved wool jacket with detachable snakeskin collar, $3,995

Delivery/Return: Checkout was a breeze. My order was placed Sept. 19 and shipped the next day. It arrived on my doorstep at 1:50 p.m. Sept. 21 — not bad for $20 UPS overnight shipping on an expensive item. The coat arrived in a beautiful Burberry gift box tied with a red sash. There’s nothing like bringing luxury from the computer screen to real life. Burberry really nailed it.

 

URBAN ZEN

The Review
By DANA WOOD

How We Shopped: Online

• Pioneer, thy name is Donna Karan. As one of the industry’s first — and most vocal — proponents of instant fashion, Karan has long waved the flag for offering in-season goods. And now that it’s an official thing, she definitely could have seized the moment a bit more forcefully. How about live-streaming? Or at least a little fanfare and hoopla on the web site? Dialed-in Urban Zen customers would know that the Alchemist fall collection was new and available, but the rest of us interested parties were left playing fashion detective. In an exciting week packed with distractions, a more straightforward “Look at our cool new stuff!” might be just the ticket to pop sales. Another sticking point: The navigation on the site is tricky, requiring several clicks to home in on what you’d like to buy from the 31-piece assortment.

Item/Cost: Long-sleeved wrap and tie dress, $1,295

Delivery/Return: Though the ground shipping was free, there was no mention of when my order was expected to arrive. It did, of course, just a few days later. But I was borderline shocked at the way this not-inexpensive dress arrived. It was on a hanger, but otherwise very loosely wrapped with flimsy paper. Yes, it’s crafted from a scrunch-able viscose jersey. And yes, Urban Zen is aimed at the “nomadic traveler,” who, in theory, likes to travel light. Still, a garment bag — or at least plastic wrap — would have been nice.

The Review
By Aria Hughes

How We Shopped: In-store

• Urban Zen’s Twitter account featured a Snapchat invite for consumers to get an exclusive look at the Alchemist presentation, but there was nothing indicating that this collection, which was presented in a studio space next to the Urban Zen shop in Manhattan’s West Village, was available to purchase immediately afterward in the store. The presentation wasn’t open to the public — therefore I didn’t go — but when I visited the store, the associates knew that pieces from the collection were available to purchase immediately.

The shopping experience was fine, but the see-now-buy-now concept wasn’t something that was promoted to customers. There was no messaging in store that used “see-now-buy-now,” and none of Urban Zen’s social media platforms pushed the idea that the clothes that had just been presented were available to purchase right away. Ultimately, it was another see-now-buy-now event that was really focused on the press.

Item/Cost: Long-sleeved deep cowl-necked dress, $1,495
MICHAEL KORS

The Review
By Dana Wood

How We Shopped: Online

• For the spring season, music to Michael Kors’ ears came from two sources: One, Rufus Wainwright, who entertained his head-bobbing, foot-tapping guests to a fare- thee-well, and two, the sound of the digital cash register pinging and binging as look after look from his capsule collection sold out.

Dubbed “Michael’s Picks” and unveiled a few hours after his show wrapped, the 13-piece assortment included shoes, bags and a smattering of clothes ranging from cozy knits to peppy florals. (In that regard, Kors nailed the wear-now ethos with a mix of fabrications and a palette that could read either fall or spring.) While I wanted to get my mitts on the “Love” cashmere sweater, the extra-small size was already gone by the time I bellied-up to my computer monitor with my credit card. Shifting my purchase game plan from slouchy to sleek, I landed on an ivory pencil skirt.

Item/Cost: Soutache-embroidered pencil skirt (above), $995

Delivery/Return: Kors wins the prize for the world’s coolest paper-packing, hollow cone-y things. Almost MoMA-worthy, they definitely take the delivery presentation up several notches. My sole quibble: returns aren’t processed as quickly in Michaelville as they are in other designer lands.
The Review
By Rosemary Feitelberg

How We Shopped: In-store

• Rufus Wainwright’s music wasn’t playing in Michael Kors’ Bleecker Street location shortly after his fashion show, but shoppers couldn’t miss the just-off-the-runway looks.

About six spring apparel items such as a textured white knit skirt and long-sleeved ruffled top, a summery pink printed dress and short-sleeved white sweater with accentuated shoulders, were artfully displayed dead-center in the store. Nearby, the oversize navy cashmere sweater emblazoned with “Love” in white letters was folded precisely on a white display case. Consumers who may not have tuned in to live-stream the show only needed to look at the Plexiglas pointer near the sweater that read “Ready-to-Wear, Ready-to-Go. Key just-off-the-runway pieces from the spring 2017 collection are in stores right now.”

Carrying trays with flutes of Champagne, two outgoing saleswomen offered the sparkling beverage or a choice of water. “Were you at the show?” one asked, before explaining the buy-now concept. Friendly and conversational, they suggested I try on a few items, predicting that the $995 Love sweater would be in great demand. Other runway items were offered — a white long-sleeved shirt from fall to wear beneath the sweater and $425 loafers to wear with $1,650 wide-legged navy pants. But as it turned out, those were fall runway finds, not see-now-buy-now for spring.

Although the sizing options were limited that afternoon for the spring items, staffers assured me that finding additional sizes would not be a problem. One sales associate also explained how the West Village boutique changes its concept each month and that the Bleecker Street store’s block party was planned for the following day. “Are you sure you don’t want a glass of Champagne?” she asked.

I followed her suggestion to check out the Kors’ collection store on the Upper East Side, where I found five spring items, including a $2,995 black stretch dress with chiffon sleeves. As a woman danced out of a dressing room wearing the designer’s pink floral dress, three sales associates offered their approval, “Yes!” The uptown location had the aforementioned Love sweater and two $1,395 pink beaded V-neck vests. There were also a few spring handbags and three pairs of platform shoes, averaging around $695.

 

KENDALL + KYLIE

The Review
By Aria Hughes

How We Shopped: In-store

• The power-sister team of Kendall and Kylie Jenner held private appointments in early September for editors to see their spring contemporary collection followed later that day by a party that was open to the public.

The collection was generally lauded as on trend, but not as anything amazing. The party was held at the Samsung 837 space in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. I did not attend the presentation but I did go to the event, which wasn’t heavily promoted to consumers.

Although the party was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., it started at 6 and it seemed to mostly cater to industry attendees. In the Jenners’ defense, they did live-stream the party on the brand’s e-commerce site. As the evening got closer to 8 p.m., about 100 fans were lined up to enter the space — and everything was commendably orderly. The pop-up featured pieces from the fall 2016 collection, which was discounted for the private party attendees, but regularly priced for the public. Nothing was branded as see-now-buy-now. Because the Jenner girls were gone by the time the public entered, the party was pleasant and calm. The clothes were easy to see and purchase and there was a customization area for spray painted T-shirts and accessories. Overall, it was a nice experience, but it wasn’t focused on the customer.

Item/Cost: Asymmetric hem T, $68

The Review
By Marcy Medina

How We Shopped: Online

• Because I followed the Jenner sisters on various social media channels (their individual Instagram and Twitter accounts as well as their apps; their Kendall + Kylie contemporary clothing line has its own accounts, too), I knew about a week in advance that they’d be throwing a party to launch their New York pop-up shop during fashion week.

A Google search also yielded news stories from outlets ranging from Vogue to the Los Angeles Times to various style blogs. At 3 p.m. PST both sisters tweeted that the live-stream was starting in 20 minutes, so I jumped on the Kendall + Kylie site via my laptop, where I noticed the event was called “Fall ’16 New York Pop-up.”

I hoped to find items for sale that weren’t already on the site or at online retailers like Lyst and Neiman Marcus — I didn’t. While watching the event, I could see an airbrush artist personalizing boots and bags for guests at the party and both sisters were filmed doing interviews while wearing pieces from their spring line, which had been presented earlier that day (those images were also online immediately, but I couldn’t find the items for sale anywhere). The cameras spent considerable time capturing the “scene” at the party, held in Samsung’s three-story interactive lounge in the Meatpacking District. I recognized several of the fall 2016 styles on various guests, presumably either working for or dressed by the brand, and the fall video was playing in a constant loop on giant screens.

Watching all the hubbub put me in the mood to shop so I clicked back and forth between the live feed and the “Shop” page and settled on a stretchy black, double-lined Modal T-shirt dress with small circular cutouts forming a “mesh” pattern that captured the ath-leisure-meets-dressy vibe of the fall collection. I noticed that all my favorite items were available in my size, XS, though many were sold out in other sizes, perhaps because the merchandise had been available for at least a week.

Item/Cost: Laser-cut mididress, $168 (above).

Delivery/Returns: The transaction itself was quick and easy with a minimum of clicks even as a first-time buyer, and I immediately received an e-mail saying my package was “on its way” with a tracking number. I placed the order on the Wednesday of the presentation and paid for next-day shipping (an additional $31.63), but by Thursday and Friday, no package. By Sunday, an automated e-mail acknowledged receipt of my inquiry e-mail, and the package arrived on Monday. Two days later, I received an e-mail from Ashlyn in customer service apologizing for the delay in response and confirming that it was indeed delivered two days ago. The personal, girlfriendlike tone of her e-mail matched the packaging itself — the sisters’ signatures with an “xo” printed on the brown cardboard box and on the matte black gift box within. The black tissue paper inside also unfolded to reveal a black-and-white photo postcard of the sisters looking at an iPhone with a cursive note saying, “From our closet to yours. Can’t wait to see how it looks on you. Be sure to show us your #OOTD #wearkendallkylie,” and signed with another “xo” and red lip print. The item itself was well-made and flattering, and also returnable within 30 days. It’s an annoying extra step to have to return to the site to log in to get a return authorization number, but otherwise the transaction was hassle-free. A few days later I spotted a flack wearing the dress with heels while she was working the Emmy Awards’ red carpet, showing the sisters’ style of dressing things up and down.

 

BAJA EAST

The Review
By Allison Collins

How We Shopped: In-store

• Baja East threw a shoppable party.

While not easily accessible by your average consumer, the capsule collection created by Baja East’s Scott Studenberg and John Targon was inspired by the Minions (from the film “Despicable Me,” of lesser fame) and went on sale at their runway show’s after party. Items were sold from a truck on the third floor of the same New York Financial District parking garage where the show had been presented on a lower level. The situation was hot — as in sweaty.

An interested customer would have been able to find out about the collection ahead of time through press coverage, but without being named on the after-party guest list, any potential shopper would have been relegated to buying the collection online. And while many banana- and leaf-printed items strolled the catwalk, only some of them appeared to be for sale afterward in the truck at the venue.

Well-staffed and teaming with stuffed minions, the truck, conveniently located next to the only bar at the party that was handing out water, was stocked with items ranging from $35 accessories to a $295 banana-printed, short-sleeved, button-down shirt. The shirt was also donned by one half of the hip-hop pair Rae Sremmurd, who was performing upstairs on the roof of the garage, where the main party was happening. Other items for sale included bathing suits, tank tops and Baja East by Minions T-shirts, all available in the brand’s size range of small to large — which is roughly equivalent to women’s size zero to 10, according to the brand. Other items, such as dresses and caftans, did not appear to be available at the time. One of the vehicle’s staffers noted that the Baja East by Minions T-shirt had seen quite a few takers. And while it didn’t appear possible to try on any of the merchandise, the same staffer assured us it was.

Overall, though, the partygoers were focused on partying instead of shopping, and most stayed on the upper tier of the garage where the entertainment — and the breeze — was to be found.

The Review
By Maghan McDowell

How We Shopped: Online

• Despite spectacular lighting, the scene inside the Friday night parking garage venue of the Baja East show seemed, from social media at least, sweltering — which might have had something to do with the fair amounts of on-trend underboob on display.

But this San Francisco reporter was spared the heat by following along online. Hitting the “refresh” button every minute after the appointed 9 p.m. start time on Twitter and Instagram, I hoped to catch a glimpse of the “see” portion of the brand’s see-now-buy-now offerings.

As expected, the e-commerce shop at baja-east.com was updated shortly after the show ostensibly began, but the pieces seemed more fitting for after-concert merchandise than the full runway experience; think T-shirts, earrings and baseball caps. Nonetheless, if it’s good enough for #BajaBaes Justin Bieber, Karlie Kloss and Ruby Rose, it should do the job.

Mercifully, we were able to overnight the only Minion-themed piece: the surf tank top emblazoned with Minions and surfboards. The back was printed with an advertisement for the spring show, but if it means joining the party, we’ll dive right in.

Item/Cost: Minions surf tank top (above), $125

Delivery/Return: We paid $55 extra for expedited shipping, but the tank arrived, as pictured, seven days later. When we checked back on the web site a week later, the price on the tank had been lowered to $95.

 

THAKOON

The Review
By Kari Hamanaka

How We Shopped: Online

• “Runway, in real time” was the promise.

The designer delivered.

Buildup for Thakoon’s fall 2016 presentation was splattered all over the designer’s web site and social media pages, so it wasn’t hard to find out what was going on and when. The live-stream of the presentation through Periscope was not the best possible experience, but it was sufficient. The truth is, nothing can ever really beat the live, in-person reality, so I wouldn’t hold that against anyone. Following the presentation, I scrambled to the web site to peruse what was immediately available. All the looks from the show were there, easily identifiable by pictures. It was a mix of items for immediate purchase — from a plaid ruffle skirt and matching gauze button-down top to a wool trench with a dot pattern — along with items that could only be previewed. The majority of the runway looks were available, most of which were in sizes 0 through 10. For items that couldn’t be purchased immediately, it was clear when those pieces would be offered for sale.

Item/Cost: Ruffle-trim floral georgette dress, $650

Delivery/Returns: Checkout was a breeze and delivery was quick although the extra $42 paid for overnight service to get the dress to the West Coast was a bit pricey. My order was placed on Friday, Sept. 9, and shipped the same day. The only hitch was the weekend, but the dress arrived at 8:42 a.m. Monday, Sept. 12. It’s always nice when people or companies go the extra mile: The dress arrived on time, wrapped in white tissue. The invoice was slipped into a baby blue card stock envelope on which “Thakoon” was printed. An actual handwritten note — not something computer generated that looked handwritten, but something actually composed by human hand — was slipped into the box and addressed to yours truly, saying “Hope you love and enjoy your dress.” A nice touch to cap an overall successful instant fashion experience.

The Review
By Debra Borchardt

How We Shopped: In-store

• Thakoon was the most organized and best executed see-now-buy-now collection that I experienced ­— and he is one of the few designers showing real-time retail on the runway. Instead of a season ahead, Thakoon presented clothes for the current season.

Two weeks prior to the runway show, the designer celebrated the opening of his first physical store in New York’s SoHo on Aug. 31. As part of the store’s launch, he announced that his show would be current season and that the looks would be available for immediate purchase. Roughly one-third of the designs were in the store the morning after his runway show, with some of the key items from the collection available. The show itself was well reviewed with some hailing it as the best show of the day. Thakoon’s double-faced wool car coat, sleeveless cape with mohair collar and yellow ruffled silk crepe de chine dress were all for sale. The dress was front and center at the store and video of the runway show was playing on a large screen on the back wall. The sales associates were well informed and knowledgeable about the collection and the designs’ availability. I was told that additional looks would be available as of Sept. 28 and when I went back to check, Thakoon had delivered on the promise: More looks were on display and for sale.

In addition, a special shopping event was announced for the evening of Sept. 10, which included a meet-and-greet with the designer. It was free, but the event reached capacity within hours.

Item/Cost: Ruffle silk crepe de chine dress (above), $595

 

TOM FORD

The Review
By Rosemary Feitelberg

How We Shopped: In-store

• Tom Ford needed about 11 minutes to show his fall collection at the Four Seasons restaurant and by the following morning, shoppers in the designer’s Madison Avenue store in New York could take their time studying every look.

“Did you watch the show?” was staffers’ icebreaker of choice, as a handful of shoppers milled around the boutique checking out the fall line. The unseasonably humid September day didn’t really make you want to wrap yourself in a tricolor mink coat or tweed pencil skirt. But with their easy rapport, the sales associates offered suggestions, encouraging browsing and trying on the just-off-the-runway looks. “Sorry, I got lost in the shoes,” confessed one shopper after momentarily deserting her saleswoman while en route to a dressing room.

In fact, the entire store showcased the women’s and men’s fall looks. Tweed jackets with double riding belts, tricolor mink coats, shimmery floor-length evening gowns, cuffs, sky-high heels and bags were displayed on mannequins, in store windows and on racks to the nth degree. First-day shoppers were clued into the fact that Tom Ford-ers worked through the night to make sure every last look was perfectly aligned. “Have you seen the camouflage jacket?” (right) an engaging sales associate asked, noting that one had already been sold. Gesturing toward a plum-colored sleeveless gown made with oversize paillettes for just under $14,000, she said, “This is really stunning.”

Waiters dressed in white tails repeatedly and politely offered coffee and breakfast snacks. Shoppers found a good range of sizes. As for what the restocking plan was, staffers said that would happen as needed thanks to the designer’s e-commerce site. But she allowed, “It’s a little first come, first serve.”

Later that same afternoon, 30 shoppers were on the hunt, and the in-store music had been cranked up a few decibels and the Champagne was flowing. But as one observer noted, the ambiance was more trunk show than the typically subdued designer boutique shopping experience.

Bergdorf Goodman also amped up its Tom Ford fall collection the day after the show at the Four Seasons, but the styles were far from plentiful. Walking through the designated area Thursday morning, I found 12 mannequins decked out in evening gowns and other fall looks as though they were walking on a runway. Nearby were empty chairs with name cards like “Zayn Malik,” and “Iman.” A saleswoman said the store was not yet stocked with more everyday pieces, save for a few items in size 4. “This is nice,” she said, pulling a short leopard-print trench from a rack. “I think it’s from last fall.”

The Review
By Dana Wood

How We Shopped: Online

• With a little hindsight under my (I wish) Two Buckle Hip Belt, and after having experienced several instant fashion New York live-stream situations, it is my very firm opinion that Tom Ford did it best.

Like, a lot better than everyone else. From the crystal-clear pre-presentation messaging (every social-media platform got some teaser version of the collection’s burgundy paillettes, along with the “Show. Shop.” verbiage), to the digital curtain lifting exactly on time and the cohesive, head-to-toe looks available directly afterward, he knocked it out of the park. At the risk of waxing quaint and corny, it was as if Ford had — gasp — actual respect for the customers sitting at home in front of their computer monitors. No, we weren’t invited to the physical event — that was reserved for Hollywood types like Julianne Moore and Tom Hanks. But we could ogle the starry step-and-repeat, watch the show, listen to a mini concert by dapper crooner Leon Bridges and then crack open our wallets.

With very few exceptions (we’re talking a handful of individual items), the entire collection was for sale, each item presented online exactly as it was shown on the runway, right down to the boots, belts, bags and blush. Also great: the breadth of size offerings. It was impossible to walk away from that without thinking; this is a guy who crosses every T.

Items/Cost: Leather top with ruched sleeves, $2,850, and tweed midiskirt with removable leather tabs, $1,750

Delivery/Return: Here’s the thing with free shipping — you’re at the mercy of the shipper. After placing my order by 10:30 p.m. on the Wednesday of the show, I received the first of two packages the following Monday (apparently weekends don’t factor into two-day shipping), and the second on the following Friday. If I’d been hoping to see how the full look I’d ordered actually appeared ensemble — and still wanted to make the 14-day return cut-off date — I could have gotten pretty stressed-out. A lack of communication about when the second item would arrive — and a superfrustrating call to customer service in which I got tossed around from rep to rep like a hot potato — detracted from an otherwise stellar shopping experience.

 

RALPH LAUREN

The Review
By Rosemary Feitelberg

How We Shopped: In-store

• As soon as his runway show ended, Ralph Lauren began buy-now shopping for his collection (and the after party) by welcoming guests into his Madison Avenue store with a come-on-in wave.

A day or two later, sales associates in the store demonstrated similar enthusiasm about the runway looks, all of which were well displayed on the second-floor. Lauren’s Western way of life was very much in evidence: a buffalo plaid shirt paired with a long black skirt, a broken-in leather bomber jacket, cowboy-style detailing on pant legs and ponchos. And just as the latter prompted a city dweller to ask, “Who actually wears this and where?” that same look appeared in a video of the runway show that was playing quietly in one of the discrete shopping areas. Without asking, Stella Tennant, Carolyn Murphy and less recognizable models were showing how it was done.

Merchandised to the nth degree — so much so that removing items from a rack seemed to veer on the criminal — about 150 styles were on view in various vignettes: A $2,990 swishy long black skirt here, featherweight $1,690 white wide-leg silk pants there and a $4,990 brown suede rancher-esque coat with white floral detail. The show’s jewel-colored evening gowns were the one offering that seemed a little sparse. The selection of sizes didn’t seem to be an issue, but when asked, a staffer said, “Well, that depends on what you’re looking for. We’ve already sold so many.”

Engaging without hovering, the sales associates chatted about the show and how the designer had really returned to the company’s DNA with his fall collection. While I was admiring the $3,490 bomber jacket, she assured it would only get better with time. Nearby another staffer told a shopper without the slightest trace of irony, “There is so much more meaning to clothing than what you wear.”

Accessories were also at the ready, with ankle boots, bags, evening bags and shoes strategically showcased on tables, in display cases and on shelves in walkways. Throughout the second floor, mannequins wearing fall looks were interspersed. The flagship’s serenity ran counter to the weeklong pre-show production that included street-front bleachers.

During the post-show shopping, a runway watcher told a sales associate that she knew just what she was after, while another shopper picked up a pair of silk pants and said, “If these are the size 10s, I’d better take them or they’ll go.” The store’s ample seating areas and frosty air-conditioning made you want to linger, and one woman looked right at home, plopped down contentedly, texting with her purchase in a shopping bag beside her.

The Review
By Marcy Medina

How We Shopped: Online

• The well-oiled Ralph Lauren machine issued nary a squeak on the Wednesday night of his show.

Even though the “September Collection” was scheduled for 8 p.m. it started nearly 90 minutes late, but those eagerly awaiting the Facebook live-stream passed the time by chatting virtually, with fans checking in from Wales, Australia, Ohio, North Carolina and so forth, exchanging emojis and Ralph anecdotes such as “I love all his sequined evening gowns” and “Ralph is the best.” Virtual audiences also got to see the celeb-filled front row and noted “Jessica Alba looks gorgeous.”

Even for Luddites, the link to ralphlauren.com was clearly embedded on the brand’s Facebook page; and from the e-commerce site, a link back to the show video was readily accessible and loaded and played quickly with no buffering. In this case, the advantage went to online shoppers, who could pause on and replay their favorite looks. All 62 clothing pieces and the accessories were available at the same time online, although several product pages noted “only one left” just a few hours post-show. Bonus points for Lauren as I was able to complete the entire experience from viewing to purchasing, even toggling back and forth between show and shop pages, on an iPhone, in record time with a minimum of screen taps.

Item/Cost: Beaded sweater gown (left), $3,990

Delivery/Returns: My gown, a sinuous take on the collection’s black and cream Western motif and embellished with jet beads at the bodice, was ordered on the evening of the show and was promised to arrive by Friday with my $25 payment for next-day shipping. (Lauren offers a 60-day return policy.) The glow was still going strong the next day when the official confirmation arrived, and even a day later on Sept. 16 when an “Important Delay Notification” arrived explaining that the item was on its way in one to three more days.

Sadly, on Sept. 23, another e-mail delivered the unhappy news that “Unfortunately, all of the items you ordered on Sept. 15 are out of stock and not available at this time. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. You have not been charged for these items.” The good news for Los Angeles online shoppers: The collection, which also was available the day after the show in Lauren’s global flagships, was for sale in his newly renovated Rodeo Drive store, which reopened on Sept. 30. Another chance to view the runway show, this time on a larger screen, and find the dress front-and-center.

 

ALEXANDER WANG

The Review
By Allison Collins

How We Shopped: In-store

• It seems Alexander Wang loves an event.

The designer created a brandfest of a party after his fashion show, where following the runway presentation of his expected designs, he surprised the crowd with a collaboration with Adidas. And after the splashy introduction, several low-key events for the Alexander Wang and Adidas collection continued over the next day. Wang (or Adidas) enthusiasts waited in lines around New York City to purchase a limited number of items made available for immediate sale from the collaboration, all of which were offered from an Alexander Wang and Adidas branded truck complete with an upside-down Adidas logo. Merchandise was displayed on the street and worn by salespeople, but the styles were wrapped in plastic and not really available for trying on. Shoppers who strolled into the street to look at the merchandise were verbally corralled back onto the sidewalk by security.

The events were promoted by posts on Alexander Wang’s social media channels and were also covered by the press, but they were not publicized well in advance. The pop-up truck shop was a wink at counterfeit culture — having the styles distributed starting at Canal Street, one of the biggest spots for the sale of phony goods in New York City — with purchases given to customers wrapped in garbage bags and some of the clothing and merchandising featuring images of non-disclosure agreements and emails crossed out with red X’s. The items available from the truck-based collection were different from those shown on the runway, although the truck styles were worn by performers, including Korean singer CL, at Wangfest the evening before.

Once they were able to get in line, the mostly young customers perused a cardboard menu of the available ath-leisure lineup, including photos and prices, plus locations where the truck was stationed that day: Mercer and Canal, Fifth Avenue and 57th Street and Brooklyn’s McCarren Park.

Shopping was limited to four items per purchase and buying multiples of any design was a no-no. The all-black (and white) lineup included a graphic T-shirt for $80, shorts for $150, a long-sleeve T for $100, a graphic hoodie for $180, a jersey for $110, a graphic crew-neck sweatshirt for $160, a tracksuit for $210 and a skate shoe for $180. Some consumers left empty handed — and wanting more. The truck made it overseas to London and Tokyo after its time in New York.

 

LELA ROSE

The Review
By Debra Borchardt

How We Shopped: In-store

• Lela Rose did very little preshow hype about being able to buy the clothes from the new collection. It was confirmed in a phone call, but it wasn’t promoted to consumers and it really felt like the designer was only doing it because so many others were. There were some Instagram pictures about the upcoming show to be presented at fashion week, but no mention of purchasing any designs. The company confirmed that it was not giving a typical runway show during fashion week and instead was having a casual event at a restaurant where models wearing the small assortment of new items walked during a luncheon.

Two styles from the show were available in the brand’s Dallas store: a yellow crepe dress with a high neck and lace hem and a green-and-black dress that looks like a separate top and bottom; the top has a green crinkled check pattern with a high buttoned-up collar and the skirt portion is a black-and-white check. They were the least “springy” of Rose’s Forties-inspired collection, which had been well received and lauded for its attention to detail. The dresses are available in all sizes at the store, and on the day of the show, an Instagram picture of the two dresses together was released.

Item/Cost: Pleated gingham taffeta full-skirt shirtdress, $1,495

The Review
By DANA WOOD

How We Shopped: Online

• Somewhere in New York, Lela Rose is probably kicking herself for not live-streaming her — from the sounds of it — quite delightful spring presentation. Rose’s retro frocks, presented during a sit-down lunch at Café Altro Paradiso, should have played just as lovely online as they did in person. Instead, she opted to go industry-only, and put just two looks up for sale afterward.

Item/Cost: Textured crepe full-sleeved dress with lace hem (left), $1,595

Delivery/Return: In a season in which “next-day shipping” has proved a maddeningly fungible term, Lela Rose literally delivered as promised. On the day after her two see-now-buy-now looks were made available, I placed my order. The next afternoon, the box was on my Florida doorstep. And, may I add, very prettily packaged.

 

TOMMY HILFIGER

The Review
By Rachel Strugatz

How We Shopped: In-store

• Tommy Hilfiger’s splashy carnival on the night of Sept. 9 gave way to a collection that was available immediately after the show on tommyhilfiger.com and in stores, both the designer’s own and at retailers such as Macy’s. I visited Macy’s Herald Square shortly after the store opened at 9 a.m. Saturday, and found that the Gigi capsule collection was displayed in a pop-up shop dedicated to the much-hyped line. The remainder of the runway show was not available for sale at Macy’s. A sales associate explained that the Gigi display wasn’t set up until that morning, so there were no throngs of shoppers coming to Macy’s the same night the collection launched.

At the store, a manager was explaining the concept of see-now-buy-now to associates at 9:25 a.m. in front of the pop-up display. She said the Gigi collection appeared on the runway last night and was immediately for sale. “So cute, right?” mused sales associates as they took a closer look at the clothes. Logo-printed “Gigi” boyshort underwear retailed for $25, with other items priced up to $495 for an olive green peacoat. No crowds were there at that early hour.

After leaving Macy’s, I paid a visit to the Tommy Hilfiger store on Fifth Avenue, which opened at 10 a.m., and saw their front windows were dedicated to the Gigi capsule.

The entire Gigi collection was available on the third floor, with the rest of the runway collection a floor above. A sales associate said about 50 percent of the runway collection shown the night before (excluding the Gigi capsule) was for sale in limited quantities. Dresses and pants were available up to a size 12.

The same sales associate said there had been a by-invitation preview on Friday morning for customers to see and shop the Tommy x Gigi collection before the runway show. The Gigi windows were installed Thursday night for Friday’s opening.

The Review
By DANA WOOD

How We Shopped: Online

• P.T. Barnum ain’t got nothin’ on Tommy Hilfiger. His preshow social media blitz was so intense for his South Street Seaport “Tommy Pier,” that if you missed it, that’s some rock you’ve been living under. All of which made the snoozy start to the live-streaming such a letdown. Yes, the neon lights twinkling against the Manhattan skyline at twilight were festive — for the first five minutes. A half an hour later, yawn. OK, onto the postshow shopping. I was initially confused by the flood of individual offerings Hilfiger unleashed online after the show. Having stalked his web site in advance, I knew he’d already been doling out a few of the mega-hyped Tommy x Gigi pieces. So in an effort to guarantee purchase of a spanking-new item, I watched the entire Tommy Hilfiger show a second time, then defaulted to a customer-service rep. “How can I know which looks were just shown on the runway?” I tapped into the tiny chat box. “Is it the ‘new arrival’ merchandise?” After being ensured that that was in fact the case, I got clicking. Presentation: Though online visitors could see guests milling around right away, the real action didn’t start for a good 40 minutes. That’s just business as usual for seasoned showgoers, but you have to wonder how many Hilfiger fans threw in the towel at, say, minute 21. Evidently not many; postshow sales were brisk.

Item/Cost: Gigi Hadid wool slim peacoat (left), $495

Delivery/Return: In short, Hilfiger’s customer service is unimpeachable. Not only did they include a Gigi tote bag gift-with-purchase with my order, once I’d returned the peacoat (and the gift) the company sent word that they’d like to offer me a make-it-right peace offering of 20 percent off my next online order. I may just take them up on that.

 

COACH

The Review
By DANA WOOD

How We Shopped: Online

• “Decidedly un-fun” is the way I might describe sitting at my desk waiting for the Coach 1941 live-streaming to start. Was I already jaded at this point in the week, having viewed a sizable roster of shows including the Triple Ts (Tom, Tommy and Tory)? Probably. Still, I’d like to think I bring a modicum of professionalism to each and every one of my tasks. So I buckled up and got down to brass tacks; once the models started lapping that apocalyptic wrecked-car installation, my eyes were trained on those purses like Bradley Cooper picking off a target in “American Sniper.” And at roughly 7:45 the morning after the show, I jumped the gun online and ordered. Though the capsule collection wasn’t due to go on sale until 8 a.m. that day, I had no problem scoring a “Dinky Elvis” considerably earlier.

Item/Cost: Dinky15 with embellished Elvis patch leather bag (above), $395

Delivery/Return: Coach has a seamless give and take (or, more accurately, take and give) in terms of package presentation. That itty bitty, relatively inexpensive bag was so preciously wrapped you would have thought a Birkin was tucked inside. Brilliant marketing on Coach’s part, with zero issues on the return front.
The Review
By Debra Borchardt

How We Shopped: In-store

• Coach’s spring show was noted for its punk-rock-with-a-splash-of-Elvis feel. And reviewers seemed to applaud the edginess of Stuart Vevers’ collection. In advance of the show, the instant fashion items were promoted on Coach’s Twitter feed. Their Instagram feed also publicized the available styles three days before the show, with cropped photos of a handbag being shared.

All that pre-show promotion put Coach under pressure to make a handful of items available to purchase online the next day. But what was on offer felt more like a token effort at see-now-buy-now — something spun out to feel like a special, limited run.

The accessories giant made it clear that these were exclusive limited editions and rare one-off styles and the web site advertised that they were for sale at 8 a.m. on Sept. 14. On offer was an Elvis-inspired collection with a $2,200 leather jacket, a T-shirt with Elvis’ picture for $165 and a $295 small handbag with an Elvis tag in various colors.

A trip to the bricks-and-mortar store confirmed that none of the items were available to purchase. The store associate was quick to point out that the runway show was for spring and not the current season. She was knowledgeable about which products were available online from the show, but did not offer to help me make an online purchase while I was at the store. She did ask for my opinion about the show, and we talked about various items from the runway collection that we liked.

Coach reportedly sold out of the limited-edition products within one day.

Item/Cost: Leather jacket, $2,200.

 

OPENING CEREMONY

The Review
By Marcy Medina

How We Shopped: Online

• The program from the Opening Ceremony runway show, on the Sunday night of Sept. 11, which featured celebrity and real-life models and politically charged narration by “Portlandia” duo Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, stated: “For the first time ever, O.C. and Saks Fifth Avenue present a presale of the Fall II collection. Customers may place orders immediately after the show at Openingceremony.com and saksfifthavenue.com and have them delivered in just three weeks. Additional wholesale partners will go live with presale starting on September 15.”

Although the show wasn’t live-streamed or archived on video, the next day, 35 designs (a representational fraction of the 40 full runway looks) were indeed on Opening Ceremony’s site, with many of the product page descriptions stating “Act Fast! Low in Stock!” and the larger sizes already sold out for most items. Perhaps fans took it to heart that real-person-sized notables such as Whoopi Goldberg modeled the clothes. Fashion reviewers seemed to agree that the actual clothes were lost amongst the novelty, but the fun, functional pieces, inspired by designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon’s immigrant ancestors, were what most Opening Ceremony fans expect.

The “get-it-now” adrenaline rush was fleeting, for just below those lines, the online product page read, “This item is expected to ship no later than October 25,” a full six weeks after the presentation. After toggling back and forth between runway images found on other sites (the show video and the full run-of-show weren’t available on the brand’s) and what was available for sale, it became apparent that except for a couple of dresses and a ruffled-sleeve top with matching skirt and pants, it wasn’t possible to re-create an exact runway look head to toe.

Item/Cost: Mercer ruffle top, $350

Delivery/Returns: After placing several items in the site’s virtual “tote” and preparing to hit “purchase,” a careful reread of the return policy revealed that preorder items were nonrefundable. A phone call to customer support confirmed it. After mulling it over for two days — after all, to re-create the layered look involved buying three items totaling 1,000 non-refundable dollars, I whittled my order down to one black silk ruffled Mercer blouse, removing a striped knit mock turtleneck and circle skirt. I noticed the no-returns policy was now clearly added underneath each item on the page in red and blue hyper-linked text. Once my order was confirmed, with an above average number of clicks required, I received a lengthy note explaining that despite the fact that my credit card was being charged immediately and I was paying $27.47 for UPS next-day delivery, preorder item availability was not guaranteed. My purchase was slated to arrive sometime between Oct. 3 and 23. Cult fans may tolerate these inconveniences, but even an enthusiastic shopper doesn’t want to feel a sense of delayed, even uncertain, gratification.

 

TOPSHOP UNIQUE

The Review
By Natalie Theodosi

How We Shopped: Online

Topshop held only partially true to its see-now-buy-now promise. Immediately after the show, six pieces from the collection were available to buy — a small portion of the 36-look show. And the online offering was anticlimactic: Presented in flat-shot images, these pieces were clearly the preprepared option to stay online until the web site was updated postshow. Five hours later and there were 31 items available to buy, with most sizes in stock, including the show-opening Perry Blouse (143 pounds, or $188.50) and zebra-striped Vaughn Jacket (550 pounds, or $715).

Item/Cost: Irving blouse by Unique (left), $280

Delivery/Returns: The checkout, like the rest of the site, is seamless and Topshop offered its customers free shipping to celebrate London Fashion Week.

 

REBECCA MINKOFF

The Review
By Kari Hamanaka

How We Shopped: Online

• I was about as close to Greene Street without technically being there the day of Minkoff’s fashion show as you could get. The thoroughfare in front of her store was shut down just for the occasion and at exactly noon — when her web site and social media had all proclaimed a live, 360-degree view of the show would begin streaming — I was delivered to the scene of the presentation. It was just like I was there. Well, almost.

I could pretend from the comfort of my desk in my air-conditioned digs that I was there in the heat and stuffiness, where some in the audience fanned themselves as others snapped photos. The show didn’t start right on time, so I took in the general restlessness that tends to build before these things, which never start at the designated time anyway.

The minute the show was over, I bounced to the site, anxiously waiting for images of the looks to transmit. Pictures went up not too long after but the “buy” buttons hadn’t yet been added. There appeared to be a little bit of tweaking happening on the site’s back end, but within an hour, the “buy” function became available and nearly all of the looks that trotted down the runway could be purchased. That included accessories such as the embroidered guitar straps and booties.

Item/Cost: Lucinda dress (right), $348

Delivery/Return: My order was placed just before 2 p.m. on Sept. 10, was shipped out Sept. 12 and was delivered at 9:55 a.m. Sept. 13. Not bad. Although, the $69.60 in shipping and handling for UPS Next Day Air seemed a little bit steep for a $348 dress. I suppose if someone truly needed it right away, the expense was well worth it.

The garment came in a simple brown box, packaged with care. The dress came on a hangar, covered in tissue and then covered again in plastic for extra protection. It didn’t exactly go the extra mile relative to other designers, but it was also above and beyond simply shoving something in a plastic mailing bag and sending it along its merry way. Overall, a well done and well-executed runway-to-retail experience.

The Review
By Sharon Edelson

How We Shopped: In store

• Rebecca Minkoff’s web site said the designer’s live runway show on Sept. 10 would take place in front of her SoHo store at 96 Greene Street, and that immediately following the show, customers could shop the looks that were presented.

I had to be one of the first to buy Minkoff’s fall line. I got there in time to catch a glimpse of models wearing wool coats, some with faux fur, on one of the hottest days of the summer. When the show was over, customers navigated the sidewalk to get to the store, with a line overflowing to the street.

I admit I’m a fashion junkie, but I’m not dedicated enough to cool my heels in 90-plus degree heat, so I browsed at some neighboring stores. When I returned an hour later, the line was still there, so I went to lunch. At around 3 p.m., there was no wait.

Near the store entrance, a few racks of clothing were identified as “hot off the runway.” The store appeared to be well staffed. A sales associate asked if I had any questions and I told her I liked a chiffon dress with an asymmetric hem, but didn’t see it on any of the racks. She turned on her tablet and played Minkoff’s runway video, which ended with images of the collection. She quickly pointed to the Anake dress, but it wasn’t the one. Then, I saw it, the Fleur dress. She said it was the first look on the runway. The Fleur wouldn’t be in stores, but she could order it for me and it would be delivered to my home in three to five days.

“Is there anything else from the runway,” I said. “There’s a rack in the back of the store against the wall, but Rebecca’s there working with people,” the associate said. That sounded like an off-limits area, so I stepped over to a rack with a long suede coat and touched it to gauge the quality.

She asked what size I was. A six, I said. “We have them in all sizes,” she said, clarifying, “they come in small, medium and large.”

Black moto jackets emblazoned with phrases such as “We Are One,” “Love Is Love” and “I (Heart) NY” were hanging beside filmy black dresses with gold Lurex dots. “The jackets are like the one Rebecca wore on the runway,” the sales associate said. “Would you like to try one on?”

“No thanks,” I said, thinking about the temperature outside.

 

SERENA WILLIAMS FOR HSN

The Review
By MARCY MEDINA

How We Shopped: Online

• Within minutes of Serena Williams’ runway show’s end, the entire 42-minute replay (from red-carpet interviews to the 17-minute show to post-show recap) was viewable on HSN.com.

The “Front Row” runway and shopping event was featured prominently on the site’s homepage, along with a link to shop 12 head-to-toe looks (there were far more styles on the runway, but I lost count after the 10-minute mark), immediately. Some buy-now looks even included pieces from the costume jewelry collection Diamonds Unleashed by Kara Ross for Serena Williams, incorporating statement geometric choker, cuffs, earrings and rings in gold and mixed metals that were designed especially for the show. Most regular and plus-size items were available, as were most color options (the collection’s palette was black, cream, rose, red and sand). Still, two pieces — a black scuba bodysuit with a deep-V neckline and a lightweight double-breasted maxi coat — sold out within hours.

I decided to shop “Look 9,” a collarless cream Sherpa duster over a black shell and high-waisted leggings that epitomized the clean-lined, universally flattering and neutral-hued collection. Bonus points that the accessories used to gussy up the looks on the runway — a black lieutenant cap and double-wrap belt — were also available on the same page with the apparel. The transaction was simple — HSN was an online shopping pioneer, after all — although the fact that each of the five items had a separate expedited shipping charge (ranging from $13.70 to $17.45) seemed to run counter to accessibly priced fashion.

Items/Cost: Collarless Sherpa duster coat (above), $159; zip-back shell, $39.90; ultra high-waisted legging, $79.90; lieutenant hat, $29.90; double wrap belt, $24.90

Delivery/Returns: The entire Serena Williams look from head to ankle (third-party shoes were also available) totaled $334.50 (plus $77.79 for the redundant shipping) so it was a relative no-brainer. I never received a shipping confirmation, but five separate packages arrived on my doorstep on Sept. 14, two days later. The Sherpa duster didn’t disappoint — the faux Mongolian lamb was soft and didn’t look chintzy, and the item was sold out in my size two weeks later — but the other items weren’t as glam as they looked in pictures and video. The 30-day return policy (the expedited shipping was nonrefundable) and preprinted adhesive labels that went on the original packaging made the send-backs a no-fuss affair.

 

BANANA REPUBLIC

The Review
By Kari Hamanaka

How We Shopped: Online

• Banana Republic tried it; I’m just not sure I get it. First, the retailer has dabbled with a see-now-buy-now limited offering in the past, so it wouldn’t have been far-fetched to think some Banana fans might have wanted to know if the company had plans to do something similar for its spring presentation. It was like pulling teeth trying to find that information.

A little over a week ahead of the presentation, I called the company’s South Coast Plaza store in Costa Mesa, Calif. A perfectly nice associate didn’t have the information but assured me customers who were signed up for the retailer’s e-newsletter would find out specifics much closer to New York Fashion Week. OK, way off. That was strike one. I then physically dropped in at the Beverly Center store in Los Angeles and inquired with one very polite employee who was in the midst of helping a customer over the phone, so she immediately directed me to another associate. That second employee went off to find a manager, only to come back and tell me he was on the phone and I could wait, but she wasn’t sure how long that might take. Strike two.

I called Banana Republic’s corporate offices. A flustered receptionist, who was very nice, said she didn’t know what department to send me to but I could leave a message for Art Peck. That’s cool to make the chief executive officer available, but suppose I was a consumer and had no idea who Art Peck was and that he was the ceo of Gap Inc., which owns Banana Republic — maybe I’d just be confused and frustrated. Major points, though, to Peck for making himself available to customers.

I reached out to New York’s World Trade Center location and was told the only physical store that would have product would be in the Flatiron District. OK, getting warmer. An associate at the Flatiron store confirmed that, yes, there would be an event, but no designs from the runway would be sold because that’s spring 2017 — the future — she emphasized. Close but not quite accurate. That turned out to be the chain’s only brick-and-mortar location selling the capsule.

The day of the presentation, images of 12 looks from spring went online hours ahead of the show. That’s not really see-now-buy-now. Three of those outfits could be fully purchased (two dresses and a skirt-blouse combo). The remaining items available were only elements of the 12 outfits: a blouse here or a bag there.

Item/Cost: Short-sleeved scalloped shirtdress (below), $128

Delivery/Return: The order, placed on Sept. 10, shipped out Sept. 12 and arrived the following day in the afternoon. Ordering was no different than Banana’s typical process through its site: simple and easy enough. The $22 shipping and handling fee for next-day delivery was a bargain compared to others and the retailer made good on its word. The dress arrived on time, folded neatly in plastic.

 

TORY BURCH

The Review
By DANA WOOD

How We Shopped: Online

• Compared to a no-stone-unturned instant fashion effort like Tom Ford’s, or, to a lesser extent, Michael Kors’ substantial capsule collection, this felt a little like the Emperor’s New Anorak. Especially when you consider how much merchandise Burch could have moved had she truly embraced see-now-buy-now rather than merely nodding at it. (Among the stylish, logo-crazed moms in my suburban neighborhood alone, she could have made a killing.) Still, no one lies awake at night worrying how Tory Burch pays her bills. If she wants to unleash precisely one item postshow — and a tricky-for-many-complexions bright green rain slicker at that — clearly, it’s her prerogative.

Item/Cost: Spring 2017 runway-exclusive concorde anorak, $295

Delivery/Return: Fast, beautifully wrapped and hassle-free — there’s nothing to quibble with in Burch’s delivery and return processes. In filling out the paperwork, it pained me to tick off the “Did Not Like Item” box as my rationale for sending the anorak back. I did like the item. I liked the item very much.

The Review
By Debra Borchardt

How We Shopped: In-store

• There was very little preshow hype about Tory Burch’s see-now-buy-now offerings and, ultimately, the designer’s attempt to sell immediately to consumers was unorganized and poorly executed. There were some Instagram pictures about her upcoming show prior to fashion week, but no information about buying any of the items. Burch’s web site was updated with news that the runway show would be streamed live on the company’s site and also presented “behind-the-scenes” photos ahead of the fashion show.

The show was dubbed East Coast Meets West Coast and attended by celebrities such as Jessica Alba and Joe Zee. Reviewers called the collection “fresh.”

I made phone calls to the designer’s store in New York prior to the runway show and got confirmation that a limited selection from the event would be available. But on the day before Burch’s show, the store couldn’t confirm how many days after the runway presentation the designs would arrive. On the day of the show, I visited the store and the sales associate had to check with the “team” when I asked about buying what had been shown on the runway a few hours earlier. She said only a couple of styles, including the green anorak jacket and a handbag (without specifying which one) would be available later in the week. No specific day was given. I was asked to give my name so that they could contact me because the limited supply was expected to sell out quickly.

The jacket was still available for purchase and had not sold out as of press time.

Item/Cost: Green anorak jacket, $295

 

MILLY

The Review
By DANA WOOD

How We Shopped: Online

• Punctuality is not Milly designer Michelle Smith’s strong suit. At minute 54 in the Facebook holding pen for the (cough cough) 2 p.m. live-streaming fashion show, I bravely reached into the digital void: “Anyone still here with me?” Crickets. Whatever. I hung tough, and circa 3:30-ish, I finally got to see the goods. But back on the Milly web site, when I didn’t see one word about the possibility of instant purchase, I quickly bailed to watch the U.S. Open semifinals on ESPN. (A gal can only do so much fashion-waiting in one lifetime, and Novak Djokovic and Gaël Monfils were locked in a bitter battle.) The next day, spotting a four-item capsule collection available for pre-order, I pounced. My purchase is expected Halloween weekend. What’s another several weeks when I’ve already given Milly so much of my time?

Item/Cost: Kourtney dress (right), $385

Delivery/Return: Estimated arrival date: Oct. 28

The Review
By Sharon Edelson

How We Shopped: In-store

• “Straight from the runway to your closet,” the message on Milly’s web site, is a bit of an overstatement. More accurate would be, “Four items straight from the runway to your closet.”

I visited the designer’s Manhattan store at 900 Madison Avenue near 73rd Street a few days after the runway presentation but the sales associate seemed unmotivated to discuss merchandise from the spring show. “We don’t have any of it here,” he said. “You can preorder it. That’s what people are doing with the runway stuff.”

“Can I see the clothes and preorder them here?” I asked. “Oh sure,” he said, disappearing to the cash wrap area, where he could be seen typing frantically on a computer. “This is the preorder stuff, right?” he asked another staffer. “Yeah,” she said, nodding.

The sales associated clicked on a web page with four looks. The stretch cotton poplin Blythe top in blue with black trim was selected. “Do you know the price?” I asked. The associate tapped the image several times. Nothing happened. “This isn’t working,” he said. “I’ll get the paper.” He returned with a price of $325.

While the web site showed the looks on models sauntering down designer Michelle Smith’s runway, only half of each of three outfits was available for preorder. The Blythe top, in blue and black versions, was paired with a black knee-length skirt. A query about the price of the skirt was answered with, “The skirt isn’t for preorder. It’s just three tops and one dress.”

A white stretch cotton poplin wrap miniskirt was worn with a matching white crop top that wasn’t available, nor were the white pants shown with a bright orange Italian cady Jade top that could be ordered ahead. The fourth item that could be advance ordered from the spring designs was a black Kourtney dress.

It was disappointing that so few styles were available for preorder. WWD praised the collection, saying that Smith used “pure, natural fabrics such as cotton and silk and by creating sultry, seductive shapes — but in a modern way.”

The preordered merchandise would arrive in two to three weeks, the associate said. “Actually, it’s the 28th,” he said.

“Of September?”

“No, October 28.”

 

CLUB MONACO

The Review
By Maghan McDowell

How We Shopped: Online

• In its first presentation at New York Fashion Week, Club Monaco on the Friday morning of Sept. 9 offered a combined men’s and women’s collection at Grand Central Terminal. The limited-edition fall styles were available to buy on the brand’s web site a few hours before the models began to walk and were also available in stores in New York and Toronto.

The brand teased a few backstage images on Instagram and Twitter, and retweeted a few snaps from attendees, but aside from the styled shots online, the full, live presentation was viewable only to those visiting in person.

Nonetheless, from my San Francisco location, I scanned the Victorian-meets-military pieces on the Club Monaco web site before clicking through to buy the dress from Look 15 of the runway show. Even before the 11:30 a.m. presentation commenced, a few sizes were no longer available. Luckily, we snagged one and it was en route before the day was out — and good thing: A few hours later, only two sizes were left.

Item/Cost: Clardina dress (right), $289

Delivery/Return: The dress arrived five days later; the extra $35 for expedited shipping was a bit of a waste, but all things considered, that’s pretty swift for fashion week to front door. And, it looks like the stock was replenished; a week or so later, the full range of sizes were back for sale.

The Review
By Rachel Strugatz

How We Shopped: In-store

• As a vertically integrated retailer that doesn’t have to worry about wholesale logistics, the 21-year-old brand had the see-now-buy-now thing down pat. Club Monaco’s web site had a “The New York Fashion Week” collection takeover on its homepage the morning of Sept. 9 at the same time that the designs were being shown at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal.

The collection was showcased in the front windows of the brand’s 57th Street store, as well as at its Flatiron bricks-and-mortar location, all with signage that introduced the Fall Fashion Week Collection as being available at three shops in New York — SoHo, Flatiron and 57th Street — as well as in Toronto.

When I arrived at the Flatiron store on the afternoon of the runway show, servers were offering platters of appetizers and drinks to customers as a toast to the new line and a sales associate explained that the “fashion week” collection was displayed and available for purchase throughout the main, center hall of the store, with some of the non-fashion week fall collection mixed in.

The pieces, which will likely appeal more to the fashion crowd than Club Monaco’s regular fall collection, include a $245 Italian wool crop top that’s available in camel or navy — shown in a full look over a $169.50 flounce sleeved silk blouse — and merino wool and mohair tiered, bell- and balloon-sleeve sweaters that retail for $229 and $249, respectively.

 

MOSCHINO

The Review
By EMILY BACKUS

How We Shopped: In-store and online

• An animated medicine bottle danced, exploded and spilled acid-colored pills across the Moschino homepage to announce live-streaming of the “SS17 and Capsule Collection.” Sitting at a computer screen made the wait unbearable. On the Internet, I am accustomed to punctuality, variety, absolute control and instant gratification.

The screen finally switched to a darkened room 13 minutes later. The gold Moschino logo hung across red velvet curtains as peaceful piano music tinkled for another 20 minutes. If I had been at the live show I would think nothing of the delay, I realized. Milan’s runway shows generally start late as there’s an accepted grace period for people to settle into their places.

Creative director Jeremy Scott’s spring runway collection unfolded — an extended riff on living paper dolls and cartoonlike trompe l’oeil versions of late Eighties and early Nineties femme fatale looks. Then came the signal. A model carried a yellow and red capsule-shaped mini-umbrella. Others followed wearing or carrying pieces from the capsule collection, but the designs were tough to identify as they were mixed with non-capsule collection pieces. The cameo was over in 45 seconds. If I had glanced at an e-mail, I would have missed it.

After the show, I looked in vain for the capsule collection on Moschino’s web site. After roughly 30 minutes of searching, I sent a message to customer service asking where it was. About to give up, I found it loaded onto the site’s homepage.

The capsule collection was true to the medicinal theme, but bore little relation to the runway show and only a third of the 18 items had made the online store. One of them — a body-clinging sleeveless knit minidress priced at 486 euros, or about $546, was available only in size 40 (U.S. size 6). Other garments were there in a full range of sizes. I bought a pill-themed iPhone cover for 47 euros, or $53. Then, when I switched to the U.S. delivery web site, I found prices to be 14 to 47 percent higher, depending on the item.

The morning after, I shopped at Moschino stores in Milan. Both window displays showed variations of a mannequin crawling from a giant medicine bottle in the capsule-printed sleeveless black minidress. The sales clerk had no trouble finding my size, which is not 40. I tried it on along with another style that had appeared in the runway show (above). At the posh downtown flagship, under the gaze of a towering doll wearing a biker-gang look from the autumn collection, a sales clerk offered me three sizes of a yellow rayon jersey minidress. It cost 729 euros, or $818. I sipped an exquisite espresso offered by another sales clerk, admired a pair of mammoth black pumps that doubled as comfy leather chairs and slipped out the door.

 

ALICE+OLIVIA

The Review
By Maghan McDowell

How We Shopped: Online

Alice + Olivia’s spring presentation at The Gallery at Skylight Clarkson Sq. in New York included a see-now-buy-now element, but sadly, it didn’t provide the chance to instantly wear the ethereal silhouettes and bright colors that were a part of the entire spring collection.

Instead, the designer added a capsule collection to the mix that seemed entirely separate, and somewhat more of a marketing promotion than a seasonal offering. Most of the assortment was made up of classic basics such as a white button-down, a leather jacket and jeans.

Designer Stacey Bendet called it the “#LoveYourself” capsule, and phrases like “Love Yourself,” and “Always Right” were embroidered across the back of each item; some of the denim could be personalized with monogrammed phrases, names or initials.

Alice + Olivia previously tried the see-now-buy-now thing in April at Coachella, but this time around, the offering was somewhat hard to come by: Aside from a section on the web site under “clothing,” and a few small social media mentions, a customer might have altogether missed this promotion, which offered designs immediately on the company web site and in boutiques and at some retail partners. A couple days after the show, it’s worth noting, a promotion did pop up on the brand’s homepage.

Item/Cost: Brita “Loving You” button-down shirt (below), $265

Delivery/Returns: After browsing the offerings on the web site the night of the presentation, I finally settled on a white button-down with “Loving You” printed on the back that, after taxes, was $289.51. The sizes seemed plentiful, but the piece wasn’t expected to ship for another six weeks. So, “see-now-buy-now-wear-in-the-fall” is more like it.

 

MACY’S

The Review
By ALLISON COLIiNS

How We Shopped: In-store

• See-now-buy-now worked for Macy’s to publicize its fall fashion offerings.

Their instant-shopping experience was simple and straightforward: find out about the show through press, social media, flat-screen displays at Macy’s stores or their web site; watch the show on the E network, and shop the show as it unfolded, as many of the items were already available in-store, and all were available online.

Finding out about the event wasn’t difficult. A web search before showtime yielded results ranging from a press release to Macy’s special web site dedicated to the event, where items were for sale long before the show aired. Macy’s also promoted the extravaganza on its social media platforms and blog, letting consumers know that tickets to the event, featuring musical artists Ariana Grande and Flo Rida, were available ahead of time via Ticketmaster or the Madison Square Garden box office for $55 or $80.

The event itself was a spectacle, held at Madison Square Garden with host Carson Kressley on Sept. 7, and featuring live performances by Grande and Flo Rida, along with the debut of Betsey Johnson’s Trolls (as in the movie) collection with Johnson doing one of her famous splits. Media coverage seemed to focus on the event itself more than on specific lines featured in the show.

Shopping at Macy’s Herald Square location proved an exercise in tourist-dodging — but finding the clothes themselves the day after the MSG event was relatively easy. While not all items were available, a good selection had already been displayed on the floor before the MSG show took place and remained on offer at the Herald Square outpost after the E broadcast aired — Betsey Johnson x Trolls, for example, was nowhere to be found, although a salesperson said it was in the store, just not on display yet. Other items, like an INC International Concepts faux leather color-blocked pencil skirt (part of Iris Apfel’s line for the brand), $89.50, were available, as was the Nike logo fleece top, $110, and a floral-printed maxidress from Rachel Roy for $199. All the items were available in a wide range of sizes.
The Review
By MAGHAN MCDOWELL

How We Shopped: Online

• On Sept. 7, Macy’s hosted Macy’s Presents Fashion’s Front Row at Madison Square Garden, and E network hosts Giuliana Rancic and Brad Goreski emceed the television broadcast version of the event on Sept. 17. One hundred percent of the purchase price of the tickets sold benefited the Council of Fashion Designers of America Foundation Inc. and Ronald McDonald House New York — and visibility for Macy’s fall assortment.

The event included live musical performances from Ariana Grande and Flo Rida and intermittent runway looks for brands such as Calvin Klein, INC International Concepts, Rachel Rachel Roy, Tallia and Tommy Hilfiger.

The ticketed fashion show was promoted online, but it didn’t get wide viewership until a week later with the E broadcast. I scanned some of the offerings on macys.com the day of the actual show, and nabbed a Lucky Brand faux-suede moto jacket.

The clothing shown was mostly available on Macy’s regular web site (the fashion event also had a special area on the Macy’s site), which gave the impression of an event that was more a marketing extravaganza in the manner of the Victoria’s Secret runway show than a high-fashion, forward-looking presentation. Most items at first look seemed to be in stock, and some were already on sale.

Item/Cost: Lucky Brand faux-suede moto jacket (above), $164.99

Delivery/Returns: The jacket arrived five days after I placed my order — which was before the show was broadcast — and paid the extra $20 for express shipping. Macy’s prepped its stock accordingly, it seemed, since when I checked back after the TV version aired, the jacket was still in stock, although some pieces appeared to be sold out.

 

PREEN BY THORNTON BREGAZZI

The Review
By Natalie Theodosi

How We Shopped: Online

• As the mesh-clad girls sauntered off the catwalk at the Preen by Thornton Bregazzi spring show, the brand’s web site was not ready to sell the six pieces that had been promised for a see-now-buy-now offering. It was roughly six hours after the show ended that the selected items became available for purchase.

Five of the pieces, including the asymmetric black floral Gavenia skirt, ruched polo shirt in black and white, Neala ruffle knee detail jeans and Topaz top in black lace, were still available in all sizes. But the ethereal, pink Elvira dress (2,085 pounds or $2,710.50) had already sold out in everything but small and medium.

Item/Cost: Naidra polo shirt (right), approximately $198 (170 pounds)

Delivery/Return: The web site functioned faultlessly in providing a one-click buy and my purchase arrived in a sleek black box, adding to the luxury shopping experience.

 

PACO RABANNE

The Review
By Katya Foreman

How We Shopped: In-store

• Paco Rabanne did little to announce its second try at see-now-buy-now, showing four looks exclusively at its Rue Cambon store in Paris and on its web site the morning of the runway show.

There was no evidence of a buildup to the collection’s availability either on the house’s web site or its social media platforms. All its promotion was devoted to the Peter Saville x Paco Rabanne capsule, which had pre-order-related posts plastered across the various online outlets along with a Facebook announcement about the capsule’s launch event, held on Sept. 30. The fact that four Peter Saville x Paco Rabanne T-shirts (right) would be featured in the spring show and be available as part of the see-now-buy-now offer — each limited to 100 pieces — wasn’t communicated either.

When I arrived at the store on the morning of the show, a hooded jumpsuit and “Akt in Ketten” Peter Saville x Paco Rabanne T-shirt from the see-now-buy-now offering were on display in the window. Inside, the instant purchase looks, six pristine-white pieces, were indeed there: a hooded top; a pleated short; a jacket; a knit dress; embroidered pants, and the jumpsuit, which was the most expensive item, retailing at 1,950 euros, or about $2,190.

While I looked over the items, it became obvious that the shop assistant was discovering them at the same time I was, earnestly searching for the labels to provide information on the fabrics as I asked about them, and scurrying off to find the list of prices and sizes (which were limited, with only a couple of pieces going up to large). Even those I couldn’t fit into, but at least I got to feel the fabrics.

When I got back to my office, I went to the Paco Rabanne site: the see-now-buy-now items had been uploaded but every piece was listed as sold out — hard to believe unless, like at the store, they were dealing with small quantities. I contacted a member of the brand’s team, who put it down to “a technical glitch.” The black “Akt in Ketten” T-shirt was the first to sell out, she said, followed by the jumpsuit.

 

TEMPERLEY LONDON

The Review
By Natalie Theodosi

How We Shopped: Online

• Ten minutes after the Temperley London runway show ended, three looks from the catwalk were made available to purchase on the social platform Vero. They included a sequined jumpsuit, an embroidered top and a printed midi-dress, all of which are limited edition and exclusively sold on the app.

The sleek images of Victoria’s Secret angels Isabeli Fontana and Ana Beatriz Barros wearing the items on the catwalk helped ignite everyone’s urge to shop. As for the purchasing process, it required no more than a few taps on the app, making the decision to buy the label’s romantic embroidered top a dangerously speedy one. All items were shipped by Temperley worldwide from London.

Item/Cost: Chimera embroidered top (right), approximately $700 (595 pounds)

Delivery/Return: The company guaranteed same-day delivery for local U.K. orders placed by 1 p.m. For orders that were placed later in the day, the process was not as speedy — it took up to three days for the purchase to arrive, even though the same-delivery charge of 8 pounds (or $10) was applied. Once the top arrived, neatly wrapped and in the brand’s signature navy and cream bag that echoed the store experience, the every-so-slightly longer wait seemed worth it.

 

LOEWE

The Review
By Katya Foreman

How We Shopped: In-store and online

• Prior to Loewe’s show, I was told that one of the key accessories from the collection would be available in flagships and on the brand’s web site immediately after the presentation ended. As soon as it was over, I went to the designer’s web site and, over the next hour or so, pressed the refresh button so many times I nearly caused myself a repetitive strain injury. I called my Loewe contact who explained that the chosen accessory was the Calla Lily bracelet (right) and that it would go up soon. When I questioned why it wasn’t already on the site, she replied, a little impatiently, “It will be up soon, the show has only just ended.” Isn’t that the point?

At around 4 p.m. — i.e., late afternoon when the show had taken place that morning — the brand sent out a “shop the runway” tweet announcing the arrival of said accessory in “selected stores in Paris, London and Milan.” I went to the web site again and there it was, in pride of place on the homepage, available in five different color options, and priced at 295 euros, or $380. There was no mention of its see-now-buy-now status, though, and it was also featured in the site’s pre-order section. The season was (and still is) marked as “Ws fashion show,” whatever that means.

I headed to Loewe’s Paris flagship, where a display of Calla Lily bracelets had been sitting “from the minute the first model hit the runway,” according to the store manager. When I explained my confusion that the site showed the bracelet as both see-now-buy-now and pre-order, she served me a coffee and called client services to get an explanation. “It’s true, it doesn’t make sense,” she agreed. She was told that the item would soon be removed from the pre-order site, although it was still there at press time.

 

OLIVER SPENCER

The Review
By Natalie Theodosi

How We Shopped: Online

• Oliver Spencer was a clear winner when it came to speed of purchase, with designs from his fall collection — presented during the women’s shows in London — available on the Vero shopping app in real time as models were making their way down the catwalk. He had one of the most wide-ranging offers, from astrakhan coats to nautical striped T-shirts, casual suiting to a canvas-printed tote, all offered on the social platform. Profits from sales of the tote bag go to the charity Shine Cancer Support.

Item/Cost: Canvas printed tote (right), 10 pounds ($13)

Delivery/Returns: The purchasing process lives up to its promise, requiring no more than two taps and orders arrive within three days — in line with the standard shipping charge of five pounds (or $6.50).

 

LONGCHAMP

The Review
By Roxanne Robinson

How We Shopped: In-store

• Among my many Paris Fashion Week showroom stops, a trip to Longchamp’s Rue du Chevalier de Saint George headquarters is always a welcome one.

Creative director Sophie Delafontaine exudes the friendly, accessible spirit that the brand stands for. As she walked me through the spring collection, she pointed me to something new: Just in time for its new Rue St. Honoré store opening, the house was launching a luxury leather bag, the Paris Premier — with prices from $1,950. According to Delafontaine, to celebrate the location’s debut she also created exactly nine bags in three different styles as her see-now-buy-now offering. The limited-edition bags are embroidered with military motifs and the Palme de Académique pattern from the uniforms of the Académie Française — the people who decide if “emoji” can be a part of the French language, for instance — and are offered at a hefty 2,650 to 2,800 euros (approximately $3,000). With so few in existence, Delafontaine said, “Better buy now because after, they are going to be gone.”

With this in mind, I popped into the new boutique on its opening day and I was greeted immediately by several staffers and one lovely sales assistant who followed me and said, “Je vous aide, Madame.” The bags were displayed in both the store window and a section near the front. She took one of the new limited-edition bags off the shelf and proceeded to explain its virtues to me in French. “It has a lambskin lining, it’s made from a higher-quality leather and has the patterns.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her at this point I knew much more about the bag than she did, but I cut her some slack, since the store had only opened to the public 45 minutes before my arrival.

When I asked if anyone had bought one at the previous evening’s celebratory cocktail party, she said no one had but she did sell a larger Paris Premier bag to a guest. But the limited-edition bags looked positively affordable compared to another exclusive item in the store that was not previously promoted: five of the Paris Premier bags made in crocodile with each in a different color, for a whopping 24,000 euros (more than $26,000).

Not wishing to leave empty-handed and wanting to reward the assistant for her diligent sales efforts, I bought a special edition of Longchamp’s traditional Pliagè bag for my daughter and had it customized. It was a cool 70 euros ($78). Merry Christmas, baby.

 

ANDREAS KRONTHALER FOR VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

The Review
By Katya Foreman

How We Shopped: In-store

• Vivienne Westwood, for the first time, offered a preview capsule collection available for immediate purchase after the spring Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood runway show, formerly known as the brand’s Gold Label line. Showcasing 17 unisex pieces handpicked by Kronthaler, the line was to be available on the brand’s web site as well as at Vivienne Westwood flagships in London, Paris, Milan and Los Angeles.

“Welcome to Vivienne Westwood,” beamed a sales assistant when I entered the brand’s new Paris store shortly after the show. When I asked to view the see-now-buy-now pieces, he replied that he had received them all, but that he was under strict instructions to “only bring them out tomorrow” — i.e., the day after the show — to coincide with the official opening party for the store.

“I will be murdered if I sell any pieces today,” he said, apologetically, adding that if I had a specific piece in mind, he would be happy to put it aside for me. After a little insistence on my part, he graciously led me downstairs to the changing room and brought out a few pieces from the storeroom, still in their coverings. Each piece was available in small, medium and large, he said. He seemed a little nervous and wouldn’t let me take any photos as I eyed the floral jacquard New Cocoa jacket, its silver-embellished cuffs gleaming through the plastic wrap.

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