Now You Can Pose Like a Social Shopping Pro

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Without skipping a beat, fashion in 2011 is already off to the digital start we anticipated — and the latest venture to emerge is near and dear to us. Former BlackBook Fashioneer blogger Alisa Gould-Simon has launched Pose, a mobile-based platform that’s set to change the concept of in-store shopping as we know it.

“The idea came from the realization that smart phones and the mobile internet have the power to transform the shopping experience,” says Gould-Simon, who is the Marketing & Communications Director behind the Santa Monica-based startup which also comprises of a CEO, a designer, and three engineers. “Pose is looking to capture and enhance this experience.” Here’s the flow: once you download the free mobile app (currently only available for iPhone; a version for Android is coming soon), head out and start shopping. Once you come across a serious steal or an item you’re on the fence about and need an audience to weigh-in on, Pose allows you to snap a photo in it (or of it, if you’re feeling camera shy), tag the price and retail location, and add your own comment. From there you can instantly share your “Pose” (see a few samples below) with specific contacts via email or tell all your Twitter followers and Facebook friends. You are then notified of feedback via push notifications or within the app itself. Genius, right? Gone are the days of sharing mirror picture poses without purpose.

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Now that Pose is here to streamline how we share our in-store retail finds, we can’t help but ask whether the recent e-commerce boom is a threat or ally to the service. “E-commerce is growing at an extremely rapid rate, but there will always be a place for in-store shopping. People still want to try on clothing and accessories, and, especially with regard to investment pieces, people still want to actually feel the product before they commit,” Gould-Simon explains. “Pose intends to capture that experience and the conversations that it leads to. Pose is working to close the loop between in-store and online shopping, so e-commerce is an ally and part of the Pose vision.” And as far as enhancements go, the team is open to ideas: “There is a lot of potential for evolution and development within the Pose app. We’re all ears right now with regard to our users voicing to us what they want to get out of and takeaway from Pose. It’s an incredibly exciting time for us and we’re eager to see what the public can teach us about the in-store shopping experience and how we can create a product that brings them real value throughout that experience.”

Another key feature of the service is the “Posers” feed, which features items shopped by a select group of fashion experts, including casting agent Natalie Joos, celebrity stylist Melis Kulis, style blogger Geri Hirsh, and even the Man Repeller herself, Leandra Medine. “Our Posers have been amazing and their shares have received an incredible response so far. I’d love to continue seeing our Posers consist of feverish shoppers who are also tech savvy and love to start conversations about fashion with their audiences,” notes Gould-Simon. With an already impressive list of Posers, who would the fashioneer like to see join the roster? “Twitter and Facebook are perfect platforms for starting these conversations so any designer, stylist or fashion lover with a sizeable social network would make for a great Poser. That said, in an ideal world, I’d love to have Anna Dello Russo.” An ADR personal shopping feed? That would be so major. Congrats on the launch, Alisa!

A Warm Goodbye

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Fellow Fashioneers, After more than two years of filling this blog’s virtual pages with my musings on designer comebacks and departures, the sprouting up of countless pop-up shops and designer collaborations, Gaga versus Anna, sustainable fashion, and, of course, Mrs. O, I am moving on to pursue other projects. I’ll continue blogging about fashion over at TheRackit.Tumblr.com, with announcements about a particularly exciting endeavor (which launches in early December) to come. I can’t thank you enough for your discerning eyes and endless support. It’s been a lovely ride. Yours, Alisa Gould-Simon

Photo by Guy Bourdin.

Who’s Next For Fast Fashion: Lagerfeld Followed By Ford?

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Not even a week after consumers started picking H&M clean of its limited-edition collection by Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, the industry is being hit with rumors of some pretty serious potential follow-ups. Tom Ford, whose namesake women’s wear collection (which debuts in Vogue’s December issue) will drop this spring, is, according to rumors, a potential candidate to follow in Elbaz’s footsteps. Fashionista is calling the speculated pairing of Ford and H&M “probably bogus,” which isn’t too hard to accept considering Ford’s SS11 presentation at NYFW this fall stood as a figurative middle finger to fashion’s increasing appetite for disposable styles and impatience with regard to the seasonal model. “To put something out that’s going to be in a store in six months, and to see it on a starlet, ranked in US Magazine next week? My customer doesn’t want to wear the same thing she saw on a starlet!” Ford famously says in Vogue’s December issue. It’s hard to imagine Ford now envisions extremely low-priced frocks from a store the produces trends as fast as they sprout as being reflective of his customer either.

But, you never know. Karl Lagerfeld is doing it a second time around, although not with H&M this time (the two collaborated back in the Wild West days of diffusion, in 2004). The infamous designer will be lending his name to a second lower-priced capsule collection come spring, which will be stocked exclusively at Macy’s. “We hear that the national retailer has inked a deal with the Karl Lagerfeld brand, owned by private equity firm Apax Partners, for an affordably priced ready-to-wear line that will range from jeans to gowns. The new line, slated to launch with a collection for fall 2011, is also expected to include a major online component, with e-commerce as a key distribution channel,” says UnBeige of the collaboration. Having premiered Madonna’s Material Girl line earlier this year and the Rachel Rachel Roy collection, the deal is quite a coup for Macy’s. And it just goes to show there will be no quieting of the designer collaboration storm anytime soon. Whether or not Ford will find himself at that storm’s center before long remains to be seen.

Checking in with NYC’s Holiday Pop-Ups

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It’s the holiday shopping season in NYC, which translates to not only over-the-top window displays, but a whole slew of fresh pop-up shops. Two temporary retail spaces open for the winter months are proving especially of note. First up is the Gap-sanctioned pop-up shop from the arbiter of all that is aesthetically pleasing and forward-thinking in design, art, music, and film: Cool Hunting. The seasoned website has assembled a Fifth Avenue shop full of locally sourced goods, each handpicked by one of Cool Hunting’s editors. “The resulting assortment ranges from Grado headphones to Amy Sedaris’ new book to exclusive one-offs by Jonathan Adler. We’ve also included a series of Cool Hunting collaborations, such as limited-edition Mast Brothers chocolate and an Outlier cycling cap, along with a mini-installation of our digital content,” says the shopkeeper.

Meanwhile, as The Scout points out, the Pop Up Flea is still on view over at Mulberry Street in the Openhouse Gallery space in Nolita, and, “Couldn’t get enough of Printed Matter’s art book fair? Ed. Varie has created an abridged version of it with their pop-up book shop. Opens this evening from 5-8pm at 208 E. 7th St.” Lastly, Wired Magazine is setting up shop in downtown NYC’s old Tower Records space offering goods for ogling and touching as opposed to actually purchasing.

Images of Tom Ford’s SS11 Collection Debut

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Tom Ford’s SS11 collection made some headlines when it premiered at New York Fashion Week back in September. But not because of the clothes. With his return from a serious hiatus from women’s wear, Ford made a statement against the over-saturation of a collection before its launch, and the immediacy with which fashion followers have become accustomed to satisfying their sartorial appetites. Instead of offering designs right off the runway, or allowing cameras backstage to simultaneously broadcast his comeback presentation across the globe, Ford kept his crowd small and his press coverage nearly obsolete (save for a few blurry camera phone photos captured by the New York Times‘ Cathy Horyn). But now, finally, the wait is over. Vogue‘s December issue is loaded with images of Ford’s glamorous SS11 collection, which evokes Halston during his heyday.

Hemlines grace just below the knee when they’re not touching the floor, while blazers and blouses leave little to the imagination thanks to their plunging necklines. And forget minimalism. Ford throws modesty out the window, opting for sequins, sumptuous leather, fringe, and leopard prints instead. It’s a bold look that only Ford could help return to fashion’s forefront. And while the ’70s silhouette has been gathering steam all Fall, thanks to its audaciousness, Ford’s rendition will feel decidedly fresh come Spring.

Valentino x Gap First Look

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H&M x Lanvin has been grabbing endless headlines since its NYC runway show late last week and subsequent in-store launch. The collaboration, for one, has brought new meaning to diffusion high-fashion. But another partnership is following in Alber Elbaz-meets-Swedish-fast-fashion’s footsteps. Valentino x Gap is proving that FW10 is perhaps the most exciting season of designer collaborations fashion has seen so far. The Telegraph has procured a first look at the collection, which is chock-full of military-inspired garb and Valentino’s signature ruffles. Prices are in the H&M x Lanvin range (which means coats and more complicated pieces will cost you between $100-$200). But given the uniqueness of the silhouettes and fabrics, the limited-edition line looks well worth it.

The only downfall here is that the majority of the styles are fashioned out of military-friendly olive green fabrics—one of the key trends of the season. So, while the styles are especially on point for the coming months, given military-inspired fashions’ ubiquity this fall, they just may need to be packed away along with one’s fur, shearling aviator jackets, and camel coats come spring before they can be revived seasons later yet again.

Two New E-Commerce Shops Launch With Exclusive Stock

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Following in the footsteps of Google’s revelatory e-shop announcement earlier this week are two new e-commerce sites stocking exclusive fashions. Both are based out of NYC but follow unique virtual retail paths. Fabricly is working with burgeoning designers, which means consumers can both offer feedback on designs and “vote” for their favorites, as well as score stock at reasonable prices. The model is relatively simple. As Fabricly puts it, “Fabricly is here to help you get the clothes you want. Designers submit designs, you vote, and Fabricly produces.” The first sale up is Oh! x Fabricly (a capsule collection from designer Ostwald Helgason—brother of Fabricly’s founder Ari Helgason—who sells his UK-produced garments at the likes of Opening Ceremony) and features a decidedly Jean Seberg-circa-Breathless theme. Read: it’s chock-full of ’60s silhouettes and sailor stripes and is best paired with a pixie cut. But the real selling point here is broader than the collections themselves. Fabricly is allowing young designers exceptional exposure and simultaneously granting shoppers an unprecedented amount of influence over the fashion they choose to purchase.

Meanwhile Of a Kind is a new retail destination following a slightly different model. All stock sold is likewise created exclusively for the site, the first installation of which is courtesy of Mandy Coon (to be followed by Lizzie Fortunato). Of a Kind, however, is putting its energy into creating according editorial for the designers it carries. Take for instance three separate features on Mandy Coon that would easily feel at home in the pages of Lucky or Elle. As for the designs themselves? “Every item sold on the site is limited-edition—and was designed exclusively for Of a Kind. With editions ranging in size from five to 50 pieces, you have the opportunity to own something truly special and collectible.” While the similarities between the two fresh e-shops are uncanny, both are forging new territory in a relatively uncharted market (limited-edition fashion sold exclusively online). In the world of innovative virtual retail, there’s definitely room for both.

Trade Shows Going Online

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Google is getting into e-commerce and Voguette Lauren Santo Domingo is bringing trunk shows to the web. Now the Pitti trade show is looking to impress itself upon digital culture and debut a digital platform for the masses. “Pitti Immagine will launch two online trade fairs in January as complements to its Pitti Uomo and Pitti Bimbo shows for men’s wear and children’s wear, respectively,” says Women’s Wear Daily. “Retailers will be able to review collections and place orders directly from the site at e-pitti.com/it/” for a full month before the virtual trade shows come to a close.

The move is an incredibly smart one, given the fact that trade shows are notoriously impossible to conquer as they can typically house up to a thousand or more booths. As with Santo Domingo’s move (and Google, with its consumer-curated storefront feature), letting both buyers and consumers play shop on their own time is not only effective, it’s good branding. Pitti’s endeavor will grant its designers increased exposure and promises more eyes on its goods. Other major trade shows should definitely be taking note.

Wool and the Gang at this year’s Pitti trade show.

Google To Launch Multiple Fashion Boutiques

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Google is following in the footsteps of ShopStyle, Revolve Clothing, and Polyvore with its latest endeavor: a porthole called Boutiques.com. Just last week rumors started swirling that Google was entering the virtual shop game, hence its upcoming “High Tech Fuses With High Fashion” launch party in NYC. “Boutiques.com will allow Google to better tap into one of the biggest-selling and fastest-growing categories on the Web—apparel, accessories, and footwear—and hedge against the growing threat to search that social media and distributed retailing pose,” says Women’s Wear Daily of the move. But rather than curate shops itself, Google is relying on consumers much in the same way that Revolve Clothing’s new site and the Sugar Inc.-owned Facebook game Retail Therapy operate: they allow consumers themselves to curate their own shops with real, clickable merchandise to buy.

The emphasis here is surely on the fact that these shops can be shared, which creates a new realm of social networking-meets-style curation. Big names like DVF, Isaac Mizrahi, and Marchesa have set up their own Google shops, as has Sarah Jessica Parker (and perhaps in the future if Google gets its wish, Katie Holmes). There’s also a potential for gaming and entertainment to be introduced via each boutique, allowing for a more robust platform that could eventually vie with designers’ own homepages if they’re not careful. As for what sets Google apart from eBay, given the latter’s recent hearty push into the e-commerce and street-style realms? “It’s Google. Isn’t that a lot sexier than eBay? It’s true that eBay has been exploring this area and tried some different vehicles through exclusive relationships. [But] Google owns the world—it owns YouTube, Gmail, and it’s a different platform than eBay,” an executive of a fashion house told WWD. As for whether or not the success of a consumer-made boutique on Google will translate to points or kickbacks of some kind, we’ll have to wait and see. The same goes for whether or not the new launch promises a sleek interface fit for high fashion.