Net-a-porter’s momentum with big brand luxury exclusives is in full swing.
The e-commerce site is partnering with Tom Ford as the first online retailer of his men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections. Ford currently sells his collections in 110 of his own boutiques and brick-and-mortar department stores globally, and has his own e-commerce site, tomford.com, which carries the designer’s men’s and women’s accessories as well as beauty — and only ships to the U.S.
Ford’s rtw line will launch in July on Net-a-porter and in September on Mr Porter.
“Net-a-porter is extremely strong in selling designer merchandise online and obviously Tom Ford ready-to-wear online, bags and shoes is a massive draw for our customer,” said Sarah Rutson, Net-a-porter’s vice president of global buying. “We’ve got a proven track record of selling at this level, especially brands that either have very limited e-commerce themselves or no e-commerce.”
In April, Net-a-porter rolled out Chanel fine jewelry called Coco Crush — the first time the brand sold online. Ruston said it was an important door-opener with the luxury e-commerce holdouts. There are more exclusives in the works, but Rutson couldn’t disclose at this time. Toby Bateman, the buying director of Mr Porter, said Brunello Cucinelli would be signing on in July. Bateman said the Tom Ford deal happened before the Coco Crush initiative, and was a result of an ongoing dialogue between Ford and Natalie Massenet, Net-a-porter’s founder and chairman.
“There’s been a broadening of the collection that Tom Ford is offering,” said Bateman, noting the fall and spring 2015 shows. “There’s been a surprising element of sportswear in those collections. That evolution is something that again makes the timing right to work with a company like Mr Porter. Not only will we be stocking the signature three-piece business suit and tuxedo program, but we’ll also be stocking really the strong denim program, too.”
For women’s, Net-a-porter will stock an edited buy of fall rtw, including leather military jackets, patchwork maxiskirts, evening column gowns, embroidered dresses and denim and suede pieces, as well as women’s shoes, accessories, cosmetics and fragrance collections. They will carry a selection of Tom Ford Signature fragrances, the Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Collection and for the U.S. market, items from the Color Collection, including an initial offering of the Tom Ford Beauty fall 2015 runway look.
Mr Porter will carry fall rtw including tailoring, formalwear, luxury casualwear, shoes, accessories and grooming collections.
Rutson said one of the benefits of selling on a multibrand platform is that brands are exposed to new customers. But it’s also simply a sign of the times.
“The brands are now absolutely in realization that, once upon a luxury, customers wanted to buy in-store. They wanted to touch and feel in their environment,” Rutson said. “It has nothing to do with whether it’s luxury or not. The customer today doesn’t have those ideologies. You don’t have to go to a monobrand boutique to purchase. They’re totally nuanced in buying online.”