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August 31 2014

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1 posts tagged "DVF Made for Glass"

Can Net-a-Porter Make Google Glass Cool? Alison Loehnis Thinks So

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Glass 1
Glass Wearables are no longer a hypothetical. They’re here. They’re happening. And now, they’re available at Net-a-Porter. This week, the luxury e-tailer officially began selling DVF Made for Glass, a collection of men’s and women’s smart specs and shades that Diane von Furstenberg (who sent Google Glass down her Spring ’13 runway) has created in collaboration with Google. “Our eyes were on a few different products,” said Net-a-Porter president Alison Loehnis. “But when Diane partnered with Google Glass two years ago, it was amazing. It was the perfect balance of fashion and technology.” Net-a-Porter is the first independent online retailer to sell Glass, and according to Loehnis, this particular project has been in the works for about a year.

Net-a-Porter’s shoppers are discerning, and considering the website’s selection of high-fashion wares, they have pretty great taste. But will the woman who’s filling her shopping bag with Alexander McQueen dresses, Nicholas Kirkwood shoes, and Givenchy handbags buy Google Glass, a product that most would argue has yet to reach its aesthetic peak? “We really think [Google Glass] complements what we already have on the site. Our customers want things first. They embrace newness across all categories,” Loehnis said. As for the specs’ appearance (how does one make camera-embellished frames elegant?), Loehnis thinks Glass is getting there. “They’ve evolved so much from the original product,” she said of DVF Made for Glass, which comes in a range of colors and slim styles. “It’s a hybrid—we look at it as an accessory that’s also a technology piece.” She does, however, admit that Google’s smart shades serve a very different purpose than fashion frames. They’re not a replacement, but a supplement, so don’t fret—Net-a-Porter will still stock your favorite Prada and Chloé sunnies.

I’ve been pretty hard on wearable tech. And I’m still not sold on the idea of being connected to everyone and everything all day via a face computer. But the fact of the matter is, the wearables market is expanding (Apple announced its forthcoming smart watch last week, and yesterday, Google discussed its own line of watches, dubbed Android Wear), and Net-a-Porter’s embrace of Glass lends it a certain fashion cachet. Brands often see NAP as the holy grail of retailers, not only because of its outreach but because of its ability to make products instantly covetable. It’s still early days, but NAP is confident the glasses will sell—and sell well. Though it’s worth noting that for Glass’ $1,800 price tag you could buy a Miu Miu tote, a Rick Owens dress, or two pairs of Nicholas Kirkwood pumps instead.

Google Glass

During our conversation at Net-a-Porter’s New York headquarters, Loehnis made a smart comparison, likening the wearables of now to the tech cases of yore. “If you look back at the accessories market, years ago no one was making tech cases. It was like, you’ve got this new device, but where can you put it? It became quite a big deal when the industry created a whole category around this,” she said. “Technology is part of our world. It’s integrated seamlessly into our lives, so I would imagine that most people—not everyone—but most people are considering [wearable tech]. In meeting rooms around the world, I suspect these conversations are happening.”

And she’s probably (OK, certainly) right. But I had to ask Loehnis how she’ll go about converting Net-a-Porter addicts who are otherwise tech-phobic, like myself, to click buy. “To be honest, our customers tend to be ahead of the pack. I don’t think it will take a huge amount of convincing. And you don’t need to think about Google Glass as a continuous news feed. It can be used in a very targeted way,” she explained when I expressed my concern about being unable to escape the Internet. “For instance, earlier, we were talking about cooking. I think it’s the cutest idea that you could be sitting there making brownies with your children, and you might say, ‘Oh, how do I do this?’ and you can just look it up. So if you’re saying you would find it daunting, I’d say that you’re in control of how you’re using them.” I suppose in this particular baking scenario, Google Glass would help avoid a touchscreen or keyboard or—gasp! —cookbook marred by flour.

Soon enough, you might be able to get more than DVF’s Glass styles at the online shopping destination. Said Loehnis: “I think the [Google Glass] take-up will be very strong, and [wearables] are something we’re looking to develop. So watch this space!” We will—maybe even through Google Glass.

Photos: Via net-a-porter.com