Fashion Houston 2010
Net-A-Porter plans first-ever runway show at Houston fashion week
Houston's first-ever fashion week has scored another first: Net-A-Porter, the website that offers the latest looks from top designers, will stage its first-ever runway show on Oct. 12 at the Wortham Theater Center.
The site, which bills itself as "the world's leading online luxury retailer," will showcase more than 25 styles rarely seen on the runway outside of New York, London, Paris or Milan at Fashion Houston, presented by Audi. The list is still being finalized but is likely to include looks from Alexander McQueen, Chloe, Yves Saint Laurent, Balmain and Marc Jacobs.
Calling from London, where the site is based, vp of marketing and sales Alison Loehnis said Houston was chosen for the first runway show because the site is already popular with shoppers here.
"It was an opportunity we couldn't refuse," she said. "Houston is a no-brainer. Our Houston customers are incredibly sophisticated and brand-conscious. They're women who love fashion."
The site is sending a "small army" of fashion advisers to Houston to assist customers at the show and at a VIP reception. Nearly everything on the runway will be immediately available for sale.
"The ability to buy on the spot is incredibly important," Loehnis said. "It should be immediate gratification. You should see something, love it and be able to get it."
The site, founded by Natalie Massenet in 2000, has helped to reinvent shopping by offering runway-fresh fashion immediately delivered to the customer's home. (The name is a play on words of "pret-a-porter," the French word for high style ready-to-wear clothing.) In the past, Net-A-Porter has hosted trunk shows and events with personal shoppers in selected cities, but has never organized a full-fledged runway show until now.
"We like to think outside the box and look at new opportunities," Loehnis said. "It's very much about marketing and meeting the customer and participating in an event in a city that is important to us."