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First Stops for Fashion

Alison Loehnis, the president of NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER details what’s up next for the industry-leading fashion platforms

Courtesy of Takay Courtesy of Takay

Your sites feature so many global brands amid a growing cacophony of fashion websites. How do you maintain your edge?


Our buy teams are continually sourcing emerging designers from all corners of the globe, many of whom we are able to mentor via NET-A-PORTER’s Vanguard programme, which offers support from all sides of the business to a selection of nascent brands each season. People are often surprised to hear how popular these brands are with our top customers – and we’re especially well placed to make personal recommendations to clients via our team of personal shoppers. Our fine jewellery and watch selection across both our men’s and womenswear sites offer a wonderful selection of brands that includes the most prestigious, heritage Maisons alongside exciting new designers and independent players.


We create dedicated campaigns and content to bring a fashion lens to the category, styling incredibly precious pieces alongside the most talked-about runway looks. This pairing really resonates with our customer. Our personal shoppers have training from the Gemological Institute of America, so [they] are highly informed when it comes to giving advice or recommendations to customers looking for a particularly special investment. We can also go one step further and make personal introductions between clients and designers for the creation of bespoke, one-of-a-kind pieces.


Your invite-only EIP Programme has been hugely successful. What types of products and services do you offer these “Extremely Important People”?


We are able to offer incredible privileges, from priority access to the most coveted pieces, style consultations, a calendar of intimate events with some of the biggest names in fashion, beauty, fine jewellery and watches through to one-to-ones with designers. Our customers are not numbers or statistics, they are individuals with very personal needs, and no ask is too big. We’ve sourced a last-minute, custom-made wedding dress, jumped on a plane to hand deliver an item backstage to an artist about to perform. We’ve connected clients with their hero designers one-to-one and facilitated the most personal, bespoke jewellery items that will be treasured for years to come. It’s no surprise that some personal shoppers and their clients have developed real friendships over the years. This service is a way in which we can show our NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER community how much we value their loyalty.


NET SUSTAIN has also been successful in bringing sustainability to the platforms.


The program is growing and gaining momentum and come June we’ll be giving it a real moment across all our channels, shining a light on the ever-increasing role sustainability has to play in shaping our business. Brands to look out for this season with incredible sustainable credentials include CAES, Deiji Studios, Paradis Perdus and Joslin. And in menswear Bode, Story Mfg, Patagonia, Gabriela Hearst and Outerknown are just some of the brands that continue to be super successful on MR PORTER.


What are the most exciting launches and collaborations coming for S/S?


At both NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER, we are thrilled to be partnering exclusively with Valentino to launch the Levi’s collaboration that we saw on the Spring Summer ’21 runway. I am a denim fanatic so very excited about this one. And look out for fabulous knitwear, signature cotton dresses and white denim from our exclusive Khaite capsule. As ever, we’re focused on bringing newness to the customer; we have some real talent in the pipeline with emerging designers like Kenneth Ize and South African based Sindiso Khumalo launching on site with their beautiful, artful designs.


For fine jewellery, we have a Verdura pop-up on our EIP Private Space – the brand is such an iconic emblem of American style – and Hermes’ exquisite new line of fine watches, the Nantucket, arrived on site in Feb. KHIRY FINE is a very chic addition to our fine jewellery edit. The designer, Jameel Mohammed, has been mentored by existing brand Mateo, alongside our buyers as part of a new initiative designed to help emerging designers develop and launch their fine jewellery collections.


It’s a huge year for us at MR PORTER as we celebrate our 10th anniversary with exciting launches and initiatives planned right through to the end of 2021. Our own label Mr P. will debut its new season, and our latest collection of Kingsman, tied to the global film release of The King’s Man, will be another highlight. In terms of casualwear, which continues to be hugely popular, Rick Owens DRKSHDW arrived on site in Feb and offers an avant-garde spin on relaxed, everyday essentials. Alongside this, one of the most hyped brands to look out for is Camp High, whose luxury psychedelic printed sweat suits are perfect for relaxed days at home. Within the fine watch category, we continue to introduce new independent brands, such as recent addition Laurent Ferrier, alongside long-established, heritage names like Chopard. And in April we are excited to be partnering with Watches & Wonders again, bringing the most incredible assortment of men’s and women’s luxury timepieces to our customers, with a focus on new pieces from Cartier, IWC, JLC, Piaget and Hermes.


NAP is known for its International Women’s Day exclusives – do you have anything planned for this year?


This is our fourth year supporting our long-term charity partner, Women for Women International in celebration of International Women’s Day. With this year’s campaign we aim to take stock of our changing times, celebrate the incredible women in our community and open up a dialogue about how to create a healthier, happier world. We’re inviting our followers to make a pledge for a better world on social media and pass the pledge on to a woman they admire. NET-A-PORTER will donate each time #netaporterpledge is tagged. From a product perspective we’ve launched a capsule of super cool T-shirts, bracelets and vases, with 100% of proceeds going to Women for Women International. Via our owned channels we are working to amplify the charity’s key mission of creating ‘sister to sister’ connections between isolated women and individual volunteers. You can also look out for the launch of the newest series of our Incredible Woman podcast.

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