Two ultra-high-end private sale sites, launching in February, are hoping that the renewed market for luxury items holds strong.
Moda Operandi, created by former Gilt Groupe VP Aslaug Magnusdottir and Vogue contributor Lauren Santo Domingo, will sell designer looks direct from the runway. Cathy Horyn breaks down the process: “A few days after a collection is shown on the runway, members of Moda Operandi will be given a detailed look at the clothes and accessories. Then there will be a flash sale conducted over a period of 36 to 72 hours, with items offered at full retail price. Customers will put down a 50 percent deposit and receive the merchandise about four months later, with the balance due.”
Launching for Fashion Week, the site will, “start out offering four women’s collections a year—spring, resort, fall and pre-fall…The rest of the year, Moda Operandi will sell jewelry and accessories, and initially it will offer entertainment-type content like backstage interviews and stylist recommendations.”
Luxury brands have been late to embrace the internet; many still do not offer e-commerce. A site like Moda Operandi could be a great way for designers to connect with their clients and could give customers access to pieces that are never produced for mass audiences (store buyers don’t necessarily select each item)–a highly alluring prospect for a certain type of shopper. According to the Wall Street Journal, fashion houses Thakoon, Proenza Schouler, Prabal Gurung, Narciso Rodriguez, Vera Wang, Alexander Wang and Giambattista Valli have already signed on with Moda Operandi.
Also debuting in February (just in time, as they indicate, for last-minute Valentine’s Day purchases) is fine jewelry flash sale site Ajaline which will offer 30 to 70% off brands like Buccellati, Lagos, and Temple St. Clair. Co-founder Meeling Wong, formerly the president of John Hardy, explained that as much as 20% of jewelry and watch inventory goes unsold every year and that, “There are very sophisticated shoppers in North Dakota who want to access [to this product].”
It’s a strategy that has worked wonders for Gilt Groupe, though they have of late moved away from their luxury rep and towards a more mass audience. These sites could fill the void.