Late Wednesday night, H&M made an announcement that's been a long time coming: customers in the US can now shop online — which means shopping the brand's upcoming Isabel Marant collaboration is going to be that much easier. The much anticipated collection will officially be the first of H&M's collaborations to be sold online in the US.
"It's finally here!" the Swedish retailer wrote in a Facebook post. "Our US online store is officially open in all 50 states. Great fashion is now just a click away!" Around the same time, the brand's US Twitter account asked its followers, "Who's ready to shop online?"
H&M said just a few weeks ago that it would be launching ecommerce stateside in August, but that announcement came after a years-long cycle of repeated promises and delays. After its much-lauded collaboration with Lanvin, H&M said it would launch ecommerce at the end of 2011. Then, in 2012, the brand said in a financial statement that it would have to push the launch back to Summer 2013.
But none of that matters now. The "Choose Region" page that greets the site's users now features a little shopping bag next to the link for the US site. The United States joins Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden (of course), and the United Kingdom on the list of countries that can shop H&M's website.
While the previous incarnation of VictoriaBeckham.com was the digital home for Beckham's lookbooks, the new one offers the option to either "Look" at her body of work or to "Shop" some of her pieces. The first offering on the website includes pieces Beckham hand-selected from her Spring 2013 collection, as well as a few pieces from past collections, touted as "Icons," reissued in limited editions and new colorways.
Those stories and more in our daily news roundup.
- Givenchy won't stage a Couture Week show for the press in January but still plans to see private clients. [WWD]
- Meanwhile, Tom Ford has publicly listed his next show on the London Fashion Week schedule for February. [Grazia]
- Some of the 24 contestants on The Face are already working models with big clients like Tory Burch, Christian Louboutin, Target, and Forever 21. [Oxygen]
- The CFDA has raised $1.7 million to benefit the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. All of the proceeds will be donated to local charities. [CFDA]
- Ecommerce success stories like Bonobos and Warby Parker are opening up physical stores in response to their customers' desire to try garments on before they buy them. [On the Runway]
- Elsewhere in retail, the iconic French store Galeries Lafayette is rumored to be interested in buying its equally iconic next-door neighbor, Printemps. [WWD]
- Roland Mouret will curate an exhibition of Norman Parkinson's photography for the Bath in Fashion festival this April. [Vogue UK]
- Political insiders say Anna Wintour is "open" to becoming the United States ambassador to France. [The Hollywood Reporter]
- DJ Kiss, who's spun records at parties for Diane von Furstenberg and Alexander Wang, is the latest musical talent to sign with Wilhelmina Models Artist Management. [Page Six]
- Who owns Saturday? After a few weeks of legal volleys, Kate Spade has asked a New York court to declare that its new label Kate Spade Saturday does not infringe on the trademark of the menswear line Saturdays Surf NYC. [WWD]
- Jason Wu says his new line Miss Wu is for a girl who's a "little more worn in, a little grittier, her hair is a little messier, her makeup might be from the night before." [Fashionista]
Photo courtesy of Givenchy.
H&M will open its new brand & Other Stories in Europe by Spring 2013 — but the retailer's renewed focus on existing and emerging markets means that American customers will have to wait at least until next Summer to shop H&M online.
The & Other Stories brand caters to "women with an interest in fashion who want to create their own personal style, and focuses on the total look," according to the company's recent nine-month report. While not a luxury brand as initially speculated, & Other Stories will offer a full complement of clothing and accessories designed by in-house design teams in Paris and Stockholm at a higher price point than the H&M offerings. The brand, which has been compared to H&M's other higher-priced line, COS, will be available in stores and online in "select European markets."
Back at H&M, the Swedish retailer will have opened some 300 new stores by the end of the year, many of which are in China and the United States. Thailand will have its first H&M store by the end of September, and Mexico will get its first store by the end of the year.
In addition to physical store growth, "we have intensified preparations for the rollout of H&M shop online to other markets in the Group," said H&M CEO Karl Persson. "These investments — and as we need more time for the launch of our online shop for the US — mean that the launch of H&M shop online in the US has been moved to Summer 2013."
Photo: The mood board in the & Other Stories atelier, courtesy of H&M.
PPR has partnered with Yoox to help build an ecommerce platform for the fashion group's luxury brands — including Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, and Bottega Veneta — that its CEO Francois Henri-Pinault says will create websites "at the level of the shopping experience in store."
"The idea was to build a new business division at the group level, linked to me, to have a 360 degree vision of the digital world," he explained in an interview with Business of Fashion. "The team here is more about sharing experiences and making sure that the basics of e-commerce are fulfilled for every brand, whatever the size. We are benchmarking all the sites against the best practices in the world and we also have consumers testing our brands and using the sites."
Pinault said he decided to partner with Yoox — which currently powers ecommerce sites for Alexander Wang, Valentino, and Jil Sander, among others — because the retailer is the "best player when it comes to ecommerce and logistics platforms in the world of luxury and technology." While all the brands will build their sites from the Yoox base, each brand will have control over the way its site is designed.
The company hopes to have the other sites live and ready to deliver products to 100 countries by mid 2013. Pinault has even toyed with the idea of adding personal touches — like in-home tailoring — to go along with his efficient, up-to-date fleet of websites.
"Two considerations, your customer is close to a store, so at least you should have a service for making appointments and being received on time, or if you're not close to a store, why don't we think — and it's not done yet — of a network of professional tailors that come to your home, based on an appointment online to do the alteration for you?" he said. "This is the type of service that will be completely inaccessible for mainstream brands, but will make the difference between a luxury brand and an accessible brand."
Photo: The finale of Alexander McQueen's Fall 2012 show.
According to documents acquired by Advertising Age, Uniqlo has asked an array of digital agencies to come up with a plan to build an ecommerce site for the US market. The request for proposal asks that the site go live by October and that it "provide a universal foundation for future expansion in other global markets," like China and Europe. Currently, Uniqlo operates online shops in Japan, the United Kingdom, and a handful of other countries.
Uniqlo also wants to add mobile commerce and a shoppable tablet app. The documents say that Uniqlo wants to grow its business in the United States to $10 billion by the year 2020, with 20 percent of that money coming from digital sales.
But for all the specificity in its request for proposal, the company is still tight-lipped about its plans to launch a site.
"We continue to explore the possibility of launching e-commerce," said Mary Lawton, Uniqlo's head of public relations, in a statement. "However, at this time, we are a long way away from confirming when specifically this will happen in the U.S. As we have said in the past, when we launch e-commerce in the U.S. we want to be sure it will benefit our customers, and currently we do not have a plan that meets that expectation."
Uniqlo's rival H&M has said it will launch a US ecommerce site in late 2012. Zara, meanwhile, launched an online store here last September.
Photo: A look from Uniqlo's Spring 2012 line.
>> Fans of Australian beauty brand, Aesop, rejoice. The line — revered for its plant-based ingredients, understated packaging, and aromatic fragrances — is finally easily shoppable stateside via the brand's website, Aesop.com. Available online is the complete product selection — everything from the brand's signature Parsley Seed serums to a New York-themed travel kit
(created in honor of the brand's first US brick-and-mortar location in Nolita) to an APC.-designed fine fabric cleanser.
Also making the site well worth a visit is the brand's NYC Blog, featuring an interactive map curated by Dossier's Skye Parrot. For the project, Parrot tapped 30 in-the-know New Yorkers to share their favorite city locales; jewelry designer Anna Sheffield, Proenza Schouler's art director Alejandro Cardenas, and W's Karin Nelson are among the contributors.
As a certified jewelry junkie, I'm always excited to find new ways to feed my addiction. So when I heard about the launch of BaubleBar — a brand-new online shopping site devoted to providing in-season costume jewelry at affordable prices — I was completely sold. By curating a selection of jewels that changes monthly, BaubleBar allows us gem-lovers to experiment with trends and get in on the latest styles without breaking the bank. Whether you’re looking for a classic cuff to spruce up office basics, or shoulder-sweeping chandelier earrings for a cocktail party, BaubleBar has you covered with just a few clicks of the mouse. Head over now to get your fix.
For those Yigal Azrouel fans who have been hoping to purchase his stunning pieces online, the wait is over. He's just launched an online store on his website, giving us all the opportunity to snap up not only the ultra-chic ready-to-wear collections and accessories, but also the full line of pieces from the hip contemporary concept brand Cut25. The digital storefront is totally sophisticated and features the option to shop by collection, look, and texture. In addition to the e-commerce initiative, the designer has also launched an official blog, "Inside the Studio," which gives an in-depth look at the inner workings of the NYC design house. Head to the site now to learn more about the designer and shop the cool collections.