Do you remember a while ago we listed our favourite websites, but moaned a bit about how internet buying was really rather dull? Well Pret-A-Rever, a new culture and shopping site launched today, might go some way to making things a bit more interesting.
In fact the site has been in test mode for a few months, so super-alert readers might have come across it via a glowing review in Grazia recently. As founder Lucy Norris explained to us "With a purist philosophy, it is simply about fashion, art and culture."
It's a website where editorial and shopping is combined in a very low key way in terms of commerciality. The emphasis is on interesting stories with nice clothes to match, rather than a conjured-up story built around product that has to be shifted this week. You read the story, then click on the main photo to go through to items illustrating the piece, most of which you can buy. I liked the white shirt feature and immediately wanted to buy….just as well the site was on 'test only' when I poked around yesterday.
Lucy continues "I am a trend forecaster by trade and I felt that online editorial was so uneducating – and hardly challenging. Retailers' (websites) have huge commercial pressures to say and push certain things. I want to deepen the conversation around fashion, in an environment where you can also literally 'shop the stories'. My long term goal with Prêt-à-Rêver is to reach out to intelligent women, who might not think of themselves as 'into fashion'."
She won us over the minute she said she was not using celebrities or focusing on the young and famous in her coverage and that her editorial ethos was to write only about "Trends you'll love forever". She told us she doesn't plan to do anything specific on the 40+ market, but stressed "I strongly believe that the individuality of a woman should always be embraced, at any age". We think that too, so we'll be following Lucy's progress to see how she gets on.
We hope she does well, the internet sure could do with some more exciting ideas around how to engage us online. The now unveiled author of Disneyrollergirl Navaz, posted last week that Edvertorial (a combination of e commerce, brand advertising and editorial) is the way to go, and this is certainly more like your favourite magazine than an online store.
Nice clothes too.
Good luck Lucy. Take a look at the site and leave your opinions on it here for the Prêt-à-Rêver team to read.