Net-a-Porter has been rethinking the way it approaches its seasonal buys and shifting its attention away from the traditional fashion calendar and ephemeral trends, toward ideas that have been unfolding over several seasons, items that have social media mileage and buzzy new names in the contemporary market.
“The idea that each season, we present the woman with a new vision of who she is going to be, is simply outdated for us,” said Lisa Aiken, retail fashion director, explaining that while the Net customer is always on the hunt for newness, she also has an intimate knowledge of her personal style and isn’t looking for radical shifts.
In the footwear world, the retailer will continue to stand behind styles whose popularity has been building up over the last few seasons, including kitten heels, pumps and novelty heel shapes.
The kitten heel, which is gaining “a universal appeal more than ever before,” is championed by the likes of Prada and Tabitha Simmons, whose slingback versions are among the best-sellers on Net-a-Porter. The company is also doubling its offer of pumps, with new styles by Victoria Beckham and Tom Ford among the highlights in its spring buy. The popularity of styles such as the pump highlights that Net customers are always on the lookout for “reinvented classics,” said Aiken.
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Contemporary designers — an increasingly important category given their design-led, logo-free products and attractive prices — have also been driving the novelty heel trend and for spring. The retailer is buying into this in an even bigger way, with sandals featuring geometric heel shapes by the likes of Jacquemus and Rejina Pyo, who debuted her first full footwear range for spring ’18.
The return to high glamour on the runway, following standout shows by Versace or Saint Laurent, has been another major influence in spring footwear trends: velvet and satin fabrications are being replaced with glossy leathers in sharp shades and ’90s-inspired Plexiglas, while many designers have been offering their own modern takes on the Cinderella shoe, Aiken said. Among the standouts for the retailer were Christopher Kane’s ankle boots adorned with strands of crystals, Raf Simmon’s embellished sandals for Calvin Klein and Off-White’s plastic-covered pumps created in collaboration with Jimmy Choo.
Another brand to take note of for next season is Chloé, which is embracing a more real, urban aesthetic under Natacha Ramsay Levi. This is best illustrated by the chunky lace-up boots she put on the runway, dubbed as the boot of the season. “We are ready to take the Chloé girl to town,” said Aiken.