Brands from Banana Republic to Burberry have experimented with the "see now/buy now" runway show, and last night in Los Angles, Alice + Olivia became the latest label to test the model. The contemporary brand kicked off Coachella weekend with a Grateful Dead-inspired capsule collection and shoppable runway show, in partnership with Neiman Marcus.
The show began and ended in an explosion of falling rose petals, covering celebs seated in the front row, including Kourtney Kardashian, Emily Ratajkowski, Mischa Barton, Whitney Port and Skyler Samuels. Models marched around a tableau of musical instruments, vintage rugs and flowering trees, and though the clothes maintained the elegant, glamorous aesthetic of Alice + Olivia's spring 2016 collection, there was a clear gypsy influence.
"We thought, why not do a show where we can actually sell clothing—what's in store and what's going to be available in the next week," said Alice + Olivia CEO and creative director Stacey Bendet after the show. She had originally contemplated debuting the "see now/buy now model" in February, but after Boston Consulting Group's study on the future of New York Fashion Week confirmed her mindset, she decided festival season was the best launching pad. "Buyers and editors still need to preview the collection, but the big events need to be about inspiring the consumer," Bendet said. "[She] wants everything she sees, immediately." Given that festival fashion has practically become a delivery season in its own right, the timing and location was probably a smart move.
Alice + Olivia partnered with Neiman Marcus to provide consumers with the instant gratification they so desire. The show streamed live on both Alice + Olivia's and Neiman Marcus' social channels and, immediately after, 12 exclusive pieces became shoppable on aliceandolivia.com, neimanmarcus.com and cusp.com. Starting tomorrow, LA shoppers can get their fix at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills, which offers a selection of runway styles and several exclusive items from the Alice + Olivia X Grateful Dead collection.
Ken Downing, Neiman's SVP and fashion director, co-styled the runway show and said the "see now/buy now" model is the future of fashion. "We, as an industry, cannot continue to show customers clothes that they have to wait six months to put into their closet."
Whitney Port, long time Coachella attendee, was already planning her weekend wardrobe around the collection, which featured embellished flared jeans, ruffled dresses, off-the-shoulder peasant blouses, figure-hugging lace coordinates and a hefty dose of folkloric romanticism. "Everything is about comfort: easy dresses, comfortable shoes, minimal hair and makeup, you know, stuff you can actually dance in," Port said. Not on her list? The omnipresent hallmarks of festival fashion. "I have two rules: no flower crowns and no fringe."
We have to agree, though Bendet apparently doesn't, incorporating floral headgear into a few of her looks. See the full collection below.
Homepage photo: John Sciulli/Getty Images for Alice + Olivia