Ideal Love a New Purchase

End of the month = payday = shopping!

I’ve been on the lookout for something to buy for a while now (who am I lying to? I already had plenty of options in mind). It must be the spring-like, sun-lit, mild and breezy weather London is giving us of late, or all of these bright and rich colours invading every shop and clothes website. Whatever it is, we are all dying to inject some colour and new shapes into our wardrobes, so I thought I’d take a look at what’s cool and write a little list to give some inspiration, in case any of you was feeling stuck for ideas.

First of all: think mint. It is absolutely everywhere and my friend Sara is delighted as it’s her favourite colour. Just thinking of the high street, I saw this pale green shade in Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Zara, Accessorize+Monsoon and Pull&Bear, just to name a few.

Topshop bow sleeve mint blouse – £36

I thought the following top was probably the easiest option to wear this colour, so you could team it with pretty much anything under the sun.

I chose this mini skirt below because it encompasses two different trends which are huge at the moment and will remain with us through the spring and summer: the Aztec print and the pastel colours (and it goes with the top!)

Zara embroidered mini skirt – £29.99

I love Zara too much. And this skirt is edgy, short, cool and cute. It’s all you need, can’t beat it.

The Aztec print is also featured on this snuggly little jumper. It’s the first time I see neon colours toned down a little to make them look paler, and thought it was different and cool. I need it to wear it over my denim shirt, paired with shorts.

River Island fluorescent print jumper – £38

…And that’s when I got the email from Moda Operandi with a preview of the new Marc by Marc Jacobs FW 2012, Marc by Marc Jacobs FW Accessories 2012 and Jason Wu Accessories. So I absolutely had to share.

This sleeveless, round neck velvet cocktail dress has a quirky geometric waistline and an eyelet embroidered skirt, with a silk lining. The colour looks nice and rich and the velvet does not look too thick, preventing the frumpy look that this fabric can give at times. I can see this piece working with contrasting accessories. The red socks really complemented the look and were matching the red lips on the catwalk.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Valentina Velvet Dress – US$628. Picture source: modaoperandi.com

Très chic! I love this tri-tone satchel. It features a snake inspired laser cut suede panel on the front flap and the caramel, mauve and shocking pink work perfectly together.

Marc by Marc Jacobs Flipping Out Satchel – US$528. Picture source: modaoperandi.com

And last but not least…These burgundy velvet loafers feature varnish red details and a low stacked heel, very comfy and easy to wear with ankle-grazer trousers, slim-fit midi skirts, shorts and mini skirts.

Jason Wu little emperor loafers – US$630. Picture source: modaoperandi.com

I now feel super impatient about getting a hold on those FW collections – skip the summer, I want a new MbMJ bag!

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Glossing Over Retail

Fashion magazines in the US have started selling the clothes they review. At the same time, just as you are now able to purchase the latest Derek Lam and Marc Jacobs pieces from the website of Vogue magazine, the opposite is also happening. Nowadays, every respectable online and brick-and-mortar fashion retailer worth a fashionista’s glance, has a magazine. From high-street to high-end fashion, ASOS, my-wardrobe.com, H&M, all have an online or printed magazine.

ASOS Magazine

As the US Vogue site mentions, “Vogue may receive a commission on some sales made through this service”, which clearly shows that magazines are getting into retail, and they mean business. Meanwhile, ASOS magazine showcases articles about the latest cool personalities and musicians while cleverly squeezing among those pages several features tailored on the season or current trends, listing their own products. This is the latest trend for catalogues that seem less invasive or pushy and, in turn, are more effective in selling the stock. If before you needed to walk into the shop to be sold a skirt that could be paired with the sales assistant’s suggestion of a certain top and shoes at, for example, your next Christmas party, now you need only to flick through the pages of ASOS’s glossy to see features about what to wear for such an occasion from head to toe, nails included.

Moda Operandi website, with links to trunk shows.

Magazines used to help designers sell, at times even guaranteeing coverage to those who buy advertising spaces in their pages, but now they are starting to represent competition to traditional retailers and high-end department stores such as Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. There are no more boundaries between these two industries. Vogue recently teamed up with the new online luxury catwalk looks retailer Moda Operandi to get closer to the consumers and Style.com has also started selling clothes.

Style.com website with a link on the top right to purchase a Rebecca Taylor top.

A technique widely used by both gloss magazines and online retailers is the Editor’s recommendation. Websites such as my-wardrobe.com and Net-a-Porter.com often feature Editor’s Pick pages, which lure the consumers into feeling “if a fashion Editor has picked this product, it must be good”.

Designers' picks and links to their collections on Net-a-porter.com.

Indeed, these two business trend changes are related by the fact that retailers started producing catalogues that look more like glossies than mere marketing products paired with the fact that magazines have been experiencing advertising losses for years now, due to the threat constituted by online competition and recession. The readers and consumers have changed their expectations too, in the last few years. It is so common these days to have links through to whatever object we covet and wish to purchase, that if a magazine or website shows us a great frock, and then does not let us buy it, we get frustrated and are, in turn, unhappy readers/customers.

However, Lauren Santo Domingo, a contributing editor at Vogue and Moda Operandi co-starter believes that her site, which provides an online version of a shop’s trunk show, has in fact a positive impact on designers’ sales figures, offering a real service by enabling them to understand, before the clothes are produced, which styles customers are interested in buying. Through the website, designers are also able to sell high-fashion, super-expensive and eccentric pieces which traditional stores would normally steer well away from. Although the site was only created about a year ago, Aslaug Magnusdottir, the other half of Moda Operandi, expected to gain 120,000 subscribers in the last quarter of 2011. More than 40% of their customers went back to the website to purchase more items after their first buy and the average transaction is about US$1,500 (ca. £950).

Aslaug Magnusdottir, left, and Lauren Santo Domingo at their The Madison Avenue office of Moda Operandi. Source: http://www.nytimes.com.

Ms Magnusdottir said that “the consumer becomes the buyer”. That sounds like a good way of putting it, however they are a buyer who is still heavily biased by trends dictated by glossies, be it a catalogue magazine or a traditional publishing one.