We've known about André Leon Talley's move into e-commerce as Zappos Couture's new artistic director since early December, and now customers get to see the fruits of his appointment. Zappos Couture has launched its new "ZeeCee by ALT" section, an online magazine created by the serial editor-at-large and updated weekly.
Zappos Couture has been around since 2004 as Zappos' vehicle for moving into the luxury market, focusing on upscale and designer brands like Chloé, Bottega Veneta and Burberry. In order to stay competitive with mainstays like Net-a-Porter and Shopbop, it needed a hook to grow its user base, and Talley's fashion industry cred is just that.
According to Jennifer Sidary, the head of Zappos Couture, Talley is on a "loose" contract that gives him creative free reign. The first installment of ZeeCee by ALT is 11 pages long, but the team wasn't sure how many he was going to deliver. The section includes video, trend stories and Talley's picks for products that women should look to buy this season. Moving forward, the site will feature interviews with designers, a product of Talley's personal network.
"I have some amazing relationships with a lot of CEOs of these [luxury] companies, but he brings something else to the table, and that's his relationship with the designers," Sidary says.
Talley will also have a hand in the buying process for Zappos Couture, Sidary says. Although buying for spring 2014 had already ended before Talley came on board, customers will see his influence in the fall. Thanks to Talley's relationship with designers, Zappos Couture already has one new brand signed.
"The first brand that he really had a conversation with and is now going to launch on our site for fall 2014 is Oscar de la Renta," Sidary says. "They decided that they wanted to start selling us their handbags, footwear and jewelry."
The Zappos Couture customer skews older than competitive sites; according to Sidary, she tends to be college educated, in the 30 to 50-year-old range. With Talley on board, the site is looking to build out its younger shopper base.
Although Zappos is not the sexiest or most high fashion of e-commerce brands, Sidary says that Talley is a great personality fit for the company, which is known for its positive company culture.
"For us to find an artistic director that was a fit personality-wise was a big piece of the puzzle," Sidary says. "When you read the content, it's very down-to-earth content. I read the Marc Jacobs article, and it's so amazing because it can speak to a fashionista like myself, and I think my mom could read it and relate to the article. I like that it speaks to a wide range of customers."