Monthly Archives: December 2012

Michelle Obama’s best fashion moments of 2012

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From bright pink suits to elegant one-shoulder gowns, Michelle Obama’s wardrobe dazzled us in 2012. Many have applauded Michelle for her dedication to wearing up-and-coming designers — like Wes Gordon or Jason Wu, once known only within high-end fashion circles — as well as a cardigan or skirt from affordable retailers like H&M every now and then. Take a look back at TODAY Style’s favorite first lady fashion moments of the year, including great outfits from Tracy Reese, J.Crew and a lot of Michael Kors:

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4 Lessons From Social Media Chatter About Holiday Shopping

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Niels Meersschaert is senior VP of technology at LocalResponse, which uses social media to determine consumer intentions.

With the 2012 holiday shopping season coming to a close and marketers turning their attention to closing the gap between social media advertising and point of sale purchases, there’s a massive amount of information to digest. While nearly impossible to get a complete picture of the entire retail landscape, there are a number of recent social media trends that can at least help us focus our analysis.

Looking back on the year, it’s easy see the huge role that social media has played for retailers. We are really seeing the birth and evolution of social targeting as more consumers get comfortable sharing their interests and brands and products, and following likes on Facebook, re-Tweets on Twitter, or check-ins on Foursquare, have become just as telling as Nielsen Ratings are to the broadcast industry.

Here’s a look at four trends that will have a profound affect on targeting not just over the upcoming holiday, but also in 2013 and beyond.

Intent Based on Social Media Chatter Predicts New Shopping Traffic Peaks
Ask any marketer and they’ll tell you it’s not enough to know what people are interested in buying. It’s just as important to know when consumers will make their purchasing decisions. Thanks to consumers voluntarily sharing this type of intent over social media, the data is now easier to track than ever – you just need to know where and how to look for it.

Sharing a glimpse of our proprietary Black Friday check-in data across all major social media channels showed that after the initial rush of shoppers at midnight Eastern Time, the second most popular time for shopping was 10 a.m. Eastern time Saturday morning. Interestingly, 10 a.m. ET was also the most popular time for Cyber Monday shopping.

This is a pretty significant departure from regular shopping peaks found earlier in the year, which showed that Saturday between 2 and 3 p.m ET accounted for the highest broadcasts of intent and check-ins, followed by Friday between 8 and 9 p.m. ET. Smart retailers will be wise to consider this when implementing promotions and other incentives into the display campaigns, especially if they want to influence and increase transactions at the register.

Big Shopping Days Can Actually Mean LESS Business for Some Retailers
According to ShopperTrak, the November-December time period can account for as much as 40 percent of retailer’s annual sales, so it would seem like common sense to assume that retailers should expect to see a huge spike over these heavy shopping periods. The data tells a different story however. According to our reports, some large retailers actually saw a decrease in check-ins compared to the weekend before Black Friday.

Costco, for instance was the big loser over Thanksgiving weekend, with check-in traffic decreasing by about half from the previous weekend. The mega-retailer’s traditionally low prices actually drove consumers to search for unusually good deals offered elsewhere.

Data Shows An Early Hook for the Nook
It doesn’t take a mathematics genius to figure out that the Apple iPad will clearly dominate tablet sales this holiday. Based on social media chatter, Apple’s hit tech gadget captured the clear majority of displayed intent among all major tablet brands. A distant second from iPad and certainly not surprising runner-up was Amazon’s Kindle, with about one quarter the volume of intent of iPad across the same media channels.

However, looking at mentions over the Black Friday weekend, most surprising of all was Barnes & Noble’s Nook line of tablets and e-readers, which saw social media intent increase significantly from the previous weekend.

That was by far the largest increase in the tablet category. Important to note here that Nook also had four times as much intent displayed across public social media channels as the Microsoft Surface tablet, and twice as much as the Google Nexus tablets.

Judging from this lift, all signs point toward renewed interest in the Nook line, especially the recently introduced Nook HD and HD+. And not surprisingly, Nook sales reflected this, as Barnes & Noble was recently quoted as saying that sales of its Nook had doubled over the weekend compared to the previous weekend.

Check-Ins Changing Charts as Retailers Take Stock of their Stock
Let’s face it. Every consumer wants a fantastic deal. But affordable prices are only half the battle when it comes to retail sales. How stock prices fluctuate in response to this surge in shopping behavior can ultimately determine the real winners and losers.

Among the retailers we tracked, Best Buy had the greatest proportional increase in check-ins during Black Friday and over the course of the weekend, which translated into a noticeable bump in its stock immediately after the weekend.

Target saw a substantial, but far smaller increase in check-ins than Best Buy, and Target stock was also one of the first to see a decline after Black Friday weekend.

While there are many factors affecting stock prices, it’s an intriguing possibility that social intent expressed by consumers could trend so strongly with retail stocks. It might be assumed that aggregate data could then be used to determine the strength of other markets as well, including automotive, fashion, and others, offering further evidence of intent/stock price correlation.

With consumers sharing more and more about their interests and purchasing habits, social media analytics has emerged from the engineering room to fast become one the most useful tools in a retailers arsenal. Brands, or savvy hedge funds for that matter, who use this information will have a noticeable advantage over their competition, leading to better targeting, hyper-targeting and an array of new opportunities that this information opens up.

Philippine Fashion Week

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Casual wear gets even hotter as retail powerhouse PENSHOPPE takes on the runways of Philippine Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013 with Intensity, the brand’s fashion presentation for the season.

Taking everyday fashion to new and exciting heights, Intensity showcases the brand’s signature styles in four segments, featuring Spring/Summer must-haves for both men and women.

The show opens with Dressy: Glitter and Shine, peppering the runways with trendy separates predominantly decked in red and gold fit for special gatherings and occasions. Sequins and flat knits with gold lurex are incorporated into womenswear pieces—from crisp woven shirts to minimalist dresses—for an overall smart and tailored look with a touch of sparkle; while menswear must-haves boast of smart and sophisticated tailoring, with dashes of personality via denims in rust and teal, two of the hottest hues of the season.

Following suit is Preppy Casual, a welcome amalgamation of everyday pieces sporting the season’s best looks. PENSHOPPE fuses in one-size checks, mishmash and placement florals, and blended prisms into pants, shorts, blazers, and other separates to create a clean, polished, yet effortlessly chic range of wardrobe must-haves; using linen, chambray, crepe, and openwork flat knits in pastels. For menswear, the segment presents a collection of crowd-pleasing style staples utilizing flat knits, color blocking, contrast sleeves, and checks. Mid-wash denim and pastels are key hues for this series, with laid-back loafers completing the entire look.

Third in line is Resort, a line-up of warm weather-ready resort wear pieces in season-ready strong pastels and light-medium vintage denim. Womenswear items highlight fluidity, draping, and ease of movement in relaxed feminine silhouettes, aptly stylized via ombré detailing, candy and brushstroke stripes, and cloud and light wash denim; and the menswear range represents the convergence of fashion and function with a mix of space-dyed board shorts, tank tops and hoodies in stripes and flat knits.

Capping off the anthology is Active Wear, a playful parade of pieces that give athletic wear a style-savvy, party-ready twist. Taking on an unusual palette of brights such as summer wine, tobacco, and warm stone, the womenswear series utilizes linear shapes for an overall modern look, featuring 3-D details, all-over prints, and color blocking; accentuated with mesh and perforated fabrics, as well as see-through materials. Similarly, the menswear line highlights the same color spectrum and outfit detailing, achieving an eye-catching mix of separates that can take you from the outdoors to the evening’s parties and social gatherings.

“Intensity showcases PENSHOPPE’s mastery of casual wear, and at the same time, underscores its signature take on this fashion genre—basics with a touch of sophistication and sexiness,” says PENSHOPPE’s Brand Director Alex Mendoza. “As a brand that advocates everyday fashion, our goal for each collection is to play up your go-to staples yet still make them versatile and flexible so that you as a wearer can still inject your personal style into them, thus making the ensemble truly your own.”

With Intensity, PENSHOPPE impressively raises the bar in casual fashion, proving once again why it is one of the most loved and preferred clothing brands of today’s style setters.

Fashion’s 30 Brightest Young Stars Named

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THE Olsen twins, Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra are among those named in Forbes’ Top 30 Under 30 brightest fashion and art stars of 2012. The list is determined by a panel of judges who aim to celebrate the “entrepreneurial, creative and intellectual best of their generation”. Named individuals are described as being “engaging, surprising and incredibly hardworking”.

Other faces to make the list are a little less well-known, including Carly Cushnie of US label (and Michelle Obama favourite), Cushnie et Ochs; Sophia Amoruso, founder of fashion retailer Nasty Gal – which was valued at $130 million (£79.7 million), this year; Brazilian-born designer Pedro Lourenço, who counts Lady Gaga as a fan; and the grandson of Richard Avedon, Michael Avedon, a New York-based photography student. Click on the gallery to see our 10 favourites.

The Hollywood category listed daughter of Judd Apatow, Maude Apatow; Girls mastermind Lena Dunham, British actor Nicholas Hoult and US actress Chloe Moretz as ones to watch, while Adele, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and One Direction were named as the music world’s brightest young stars.

Jonathan Saunders and Motilo: is this the future of fashion online?

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It has been a stellar year for Jonathan Saunders, with two hit collections and a British Fashion awards prize. Now, with his exclusive collection for the website Motilo – he’s helping to change the shape of internet shopping.

Those watching Jonathan Saunders’ spring/summer 2013 show back in September would probably have been too distracted by the shimmering hologrammic skirts, sequin cardies and chevron stripes to notice innovation taking place off the catwalk: the presence of three cameras livestreaming the show, in collaboration with website Motilo. The result? Customers logging on could pre-order pieces from the show to receive in January but also – this is new – buy straight off the runway, with pieces (scarves, in this case) delivered days later.

While Motilo might not yet be a household name to match Net-a-porter or Asos, the website is at the forefront of the next generation of online shopping. It reflects the way we’re using the internet for fashion now – with Beyoncé’s Instagram snaps as important as a catwalk review on Style.com or a blogger’s musings on anything from sheer blouses or varsity jackets.

With regular livestreaming and blogposts by style luminaries such as Anna Dello Russo, Motilo’s biggest talking point is the “sharing” function. A kind of upscale Polyvore, you can create a profile and shop with friends in real time, or look at other members’ edits of outfits. Follow shoppers whose picks you like and, to bite their style, click through their selection to the relevant shopping site (Motilo partners with Shopbop, Net-a-porter and Matches) and buy it. In my case, that’s a flared skater dress by Three Floor. Thank you, Sonia Giovannini.

While some may object to the monetising of an online fashion community, you have to admire the ingenuity of pairing the chatter and conversation of social networking with cold, hard transactional sites. Motilo – which gets its name from the Latin for “to move and influence” – even won most innovative website at the Guardian awards for digital innovation 2012. How to sum up its USP, Dragon’s Den style? “Social shopping,” says founder Sofia Barattieri, a glamorous fortysomething Italian with a background in finance, expensive hair and good connections. “The idea came to me on a shopping trip with a friend. I thought: ‘Why do we have to be together to shop? Why can’t we do it online?'”

Collaborations with designers such as Saunders (he has produced an exclusive collection for the site, released this week) only add to Motilo’s clout. In a stellar year, Saunders has shown two hit collections – the Guardian dubbed that spring/summer show the best of London fashion week – dressed Emeli Sandé at the Olympics’ opening ceremony and won an emerging talent award for menswear at the British fashion awards.

As is natural in fashion, though, all this is a distant memory. A visit to Saunders’ Islington studio finds him and faithful pup Amber deep in his next menswear collection to be shown in January – rolls of fabric are delivered (and inspected by Amber) during our interview. “There was a snobbery about shopping online not that long ago,” Saunders says, lighting up one of several cigarettes. “We would buy staples but you would never buy a cocktail dress for £3,000. Think about how much that has changed.” Although he is “not at all techie”, the Scottish-born 35-year-old appreciates how the internet provides opportunities to independent designers without advertising. “It’s how younger brands are seeking new ways of promoting themselves and it has been respected,” he says. “The elite are now using social media as tools to promote what they do.”

More and more of us are shopping online – a study found that the UK was the most internet-based major economy in 2010, with 13.5% of all purchases made online in 2010, a figure that is expected to double by 2016. Luxury shopping online clearly plays a part in this, and is evolving again – editorial content is in demand (Style.com’s print magazine will be followed by Net-a-porter’s for spring), and sites including Moda Operandi, set up by ex-American Vogue staffers, have introduced the idea of pre-ordering pieces from the catwalk.

Motilo – which, by Barattieri’s own admission, is in its early stages – is a way to find out what happens next, when the consumer gets involved for a version of crowd-sourced shopping. While the site won’t share how many members it has, to give you an idea, 10,000 entered a competition to win tickets to watch Saunders’ show in September – presumably only a proportion of all subscribers. It’s a demographic expected to grow.

“The fashion-conscious consumer is changing how we shop,” says Barattieri. “They’re looking at social media and blogs for their opinions – e-tailers are catching up with that. They are pushing the change – that’s exciting.”

“If we want to watch a movie, we can get it instantly,” says Saunders. “Why should fashion be any different?” Of course, challenging the wait we have between seeing a design, and actually getting our paws on it strikes at the very heart of fashion – with spring clothes shown in autumn and vice versa. Saunders is hard at work on clothes we won’t wear until September.

“If we went to the logical conclusion it would mean that there were no seasons,” says Saunders. “But maybe that’s what a consumer needs and wants now – it’s really brave of Motilo to try this.” A new way of shopping – and, conceivably, a new way for fashion – is gradually taking shape.

Fashion show, film set for Thursday in Vail

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Local pro skier Chris Anthony will take part in a retro fashion show, dinner and premiere of a documentary he created with the help Colorado Ski Museum and Warren Miller Entertainment called “Climb to Glory.”

The event is Thursday at the Sonnenalp Resort. Tickets are $62 per person.

Cocktail reception is at 6 p.m., documentary is at 6:45 p.m., and a dinner and fashion show is at 7:30 p.m. Book reservations at 970-476-5429.

The film, narrated by Jeremy Bloom, is about the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, a group of highly skilled skiers and outdoorsmen who trained in the Colorado Rockies during World War II to become mountain warfare soldiers.

The film bridges the gap between what these men did during their time fighting and their impact on skiing and other outdoor sports in the years after the war. To accomplish this, Warren Miller Entertainment production team has spent the past 18 months researching, filming and interviewing 10th Mountain veterans, descendants, historians and ski industry experts.

“The result is an exciting and fresh look at a group of men who not only trained and fought to defend our country … but through their ingenuity and can-do spirit, single handedly revolutionized skiing into the popular recreational sport it is today,” Anthony said.

Soul poles

Anthony’s friend and U.S. Ski Team alumni Bryon Friedman will be stopping in Vail on Thursday at 3 p.m. to make custom pairs of Soul Ski Poles. Friedman is going to set up shop at Vista Bahn Ski Rentals for a day and make custom pairs of bamboo ski poles.

“I have been begging to get a pair of these for a while and Thursday is the finally the day,” Anthony said. “Not just for me but for anyone that would like him to make them a pair.”

Soul Ski Poles are touted as having great performance and original style.

“Bring your connection with the outdoors even closer with poles made of materials that are recycled or grown, not mined,” Anthony said. “The perfect choice for environmentally conscious skiers, fast-growing bamboo absorbs significantly more carbon dioxide and produces more oxygen than any other plant-curbing the polluting greenhouse gases that are warming the planet and threatening our snow.”

FASHION FIGHT: Spice Girls at Viva Forever press night

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The Spice Girls made one heck of a red carpet comeback last night as they all hit up the Viva Forever press night in London.

Despite Victoria’s fashionably late arrival, the five former gal pals stood in unison inside the venue. Hurrah.

While VB ditched her maroon coat for a cropped black style, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Geri Halliwell and Melanie Brown put their best style hats on to rival their bandmate turned designer.

That doesn’t mean to say they all succeeded of course. We’re looking at you Geri.

Emma and Mel B both worked side-split maxi dresses with Mel C playing it safe in a khaki mini. But it was Geri who went for the wow factor in a blue, tiered princess dress.