LONDON — Tom Ford, a man once suspicious of people’s need for instant fashion on the Internet, has unveiled phase one of his first e-commerce site, a slick, user-friendly operation that, for the moment, stocks beauty and accessories only.
This story first appeared in the March 26, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The site, which launched Tuesday, puts arresting imagery front and center: The landing page spotlights a tastefully nude model wearing only black leather sandals and a leather messenger bag, while a Pinterestlike series of images allows visitors to navigate their way to news and the collections.
The shopping areas themselves are also led by bold photography. Those browsing lipstick shades can look at a grid of images featuring a model’s mouth painted in Ford’s myriad lip colors. Some of the mouths even come to life, as the model pouts, blows a kiss or bites her lip.
The site stocks accessories, shoes, jewelry, eyewear, cosmetics and fragrances for men and women, and the designer said he plans to integrate ready-to-wear and “additional categories” into the future mix.
The new site will also offer exclusive products for online clients only, the first of which will be a new signature fragrance, Tom Ford Velvet Orchid.
In September 2010, the day after his comeback show in the women’s arena, Ford discussed his skepticism about fashion e-commerce.
“This fashion immediacy thing…if you can see them and press a button and they can be shipped to your house, I get fashion immediacy.…I don’t get the need for this immediacy. In fact, I think it’s bad,” he said.
Now he has changed his attitude. “I have waited patiently to introduce e-commerce until I felt the foundation of the brand was well-established offline,” Ford said in a statement Tuesday, adding that the brand is now generating nearly a billion dollars at retail, and the online store will add “a major new avenue” for our future growth.
“We now have 98 retail locations worldwide, and the online store is an extension of them: It is a beautiful online space that carries exceptionally crafted, handmade products and offers superlative service,” he said.
Ford said the site was designed with the mobile user in mind; it adapts to the user’s device automatically, and is engineered to give mobile users a “premium experience.”
Currently, the new site is in English only and offers shipping exclusively within the U.S. E-commerce distribution will eventually be expanded to international markets, and the site will be translated into multiple languages.
The site offers complimentary shipping and returns, same-day delivery in Manhattan and a feature that enables clients to find a U.S. Tom Ford store that stocks the specific product they are looking for, such as eyewear or beauty.
In the future, clients will be able to click-and-collect at their retail location of choice.
The launch of the new Web site will be supported with an expanded social media presence on all major platforms, including Weibo in China.