Questioning the Met Gala Red Carpet ROI Potential

Will Moda Operandi's Met Gala Sponsorship Pay Off?


What’s the reward for an investment in red carpet arrivals?

Unless you’ve been living under a fashionless rock, you’re aware of the approaching Met Gala: fashion’s fanciest theme party. This year’s theme is Punk: Chaos to Couture, and given the heavy influence of Vogue and powerhouse editor Anna Wintour, it’s safe to assume the red carpet looks will be more couture than chaotic.

One new name to the event is Moda Operandi. The luxury e-commerce site made its name by offering pre-orders of runway looks, giving deep-pocketed fashion fans the ability to buy clothes at the same time media attention to the looks is at its peak. As we noted in the update re: Gwyneth Paltrow’s sheer dress, they’re now taking on the red carpet in the same way they took on fashion runways. And what better red carpet, than one which is entirely about what people are wearing?

Surely, a rhetorical question for Moda Operandi who will be a co-sponsor of the event, and offer not only a livestream of the arrivals, but the ability to purchase select dresses as well. Seems like a smart match, but not everyone is convinced.

Still, in this instance I’m just not convinced it’s a worthwhile endeavour, either in terms of publicity or profits.

For starters, are the Moda Operandi A-list clientele – aka women who can drop between $5-50,000 on a single purchase – really the types to be sitting in watching a video live stream on a Tuesday night? I doubt it and imagine (though of course can’t predict) that the sales figures will reflect this.

Secondly, some industry figures say that the ‘celebrity factor’ holds less clout with the 0.1% elite than with the rest of the 99.9% luxury buying masses. {Material World/Financial Times}

For a few reasons, we respectfully (but vehemently) disagree, and think it’s a brilliant investment for Moda Operandi to have made.

First, we’ve tuned into Net-a-Porter’s live shopping map, and have been surprised to see Rick Owens, Miu Miu and other fashion insider brands popping up in shopping baskets from Champaign, Illinois to Marlton, New Jersey, and small towns around the world. These are places where the internet is the local fashion capital. Sure, the woman in Champaign could go to Chicago, the woman in Marlton to New York. But whether they’re making dinner for the family, or preparing for a meeting the next day, tuning into a video for a few minutes on Tuesday night could be the perfect way to see new fashion offerings without having to make an entire day of it or wait for the weekend.

Second, red carpets, much like runway shows, have almost always been about publicity on multiple levels. Most fans won’t be able to buy the exact same dress that their favorite celebrity is photographed wearing, but they will remember the brand. At the makeup counter, or when choosing a new handbag, that association may be part of the push that drives purchases. When it comes time to sell to wholesale buyers, the suggestion of “cool” that comes from celebrities wearing the brand could push bigger buys in anticipation of stronger demand.

For Moda Operandi, it’s similarly building a brand association with consumers and the industry. When the next Oscars ceremony rolls around, which site do you think brands will turn to for pre-selling celebrity looks, and their runway counterparts? Which site do you think consumers will remember as the one where they can shop the red carpet? Oh, and “by the way,” Moda Operandi will remind them, “you can also come here to shop fashion shows and current season items.”  We’ve already seen the little Moda Operandi shopping symbols pop up next to runway show coverage on, how long until they’re showing up on Vanity Fair or People?

And while affluent women shopping for their next benefit gala gown may not want the exact same item that the star of the moment wore on the red carpet, they will know that they can find similar items – perhaps one that’s more unique, at Moda Operandi.

Will there be an overwhelming, immediate flood in sales? No, but as it stands there’s no massive rush on stores after red carpet events anyway. Fashion, particularly luxury fashion, is a long game. Moda Operandi’s ROI won’t be calculated in sales the day after, but in return visits, increased partnerships and the kind of mindshare that sales alone can’t always buy.

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