There’s no doubt that Natalie Massenet has changed the way we shop for luxury fashion, first for women in 2009 with Net-a-Porter, followed by discount site The Outnet, then Mr Porter in 2011. What set Massenet’s business apart from other luxury ecommerce websites was a focus on service, immaculate packaging, and speedy delivery.
Success was swift, with Swiss investment vehicle Richemont acquiring Net-a-Porter in 2010 and, following substantial year-on-year growth, a merger with fellow fashion e-tail giant YOOX was announced in March. The combined entity is predicted to have total annual sales of €1.3bn, and many of the luxury brands sold by the two companies are expected to invest in YOOX Net-a-Porter Group through a rights issue later this year. Natalie Massenet has been rewarded for her business nous by being appointed chairman of the British Fashion Council.
One of the misconceptions about Mr Porter is that it sells clothes at unaffordable and unattainable price points, and whilst it’s true that its catalogue is peppered with Saint Laurent leathers and Berluti brogues, there’s also plenty of inexpensive, entry-level products for sale, and Mr Porter’s latest collaboration, with H&M offshoot COS, cleverly highlights the lower end of its offering.
The collection itself, titled ‘The Modern Traveller’, is an accessible selection of separates influenced by architecture and nature, in a subdued palette of burgundy, light blue, navy and white with printed accents.
Travel is a recurring motif in men’s fashion, Kim Jones at Louis Vuitton has virtually made it his calling card, and the COS/Mr Porter collection cleverly taps into that. Zip details feature throughout, and accessories add to what is a rounded and coherent proposition. The whole kit and caboodle remains true to the pared-back COS aesthetic.
The collection is available online and, surprisingly, through selected COS stores. Could this be a sign that Mr Porter is making the move from the Internet to bricks-and-mortar retail? Net-a-Porter has played with pop-up stores in the past, and the site’s editorial proved such a hit that a new print magazine, Porter, was launched last year. With the merged YOOX Net-a-Porter Group valued at around €2.5bn, the future of Mr Porter looks set to be extremely interesting indeed.
Blog post written by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) exclusively for www.katiechutzpah.com