Score Your Front Row Seats to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

Anyone interested in fashion is looking forward to the kickoff of the Fall/Winter 2011 collections at the upcoming Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week next month in New York. As editors, bloggers and photographers prepare for the 4 weeks of fashion, retailers and designers are trying to figure out how to translate the buzz of near real time coverage to sales.

Don’t have a seat? We know the internet has served as a great tool to view the collections piece-by-piece but there is nothing quite like seeing the real thing. If you’re not a magazine editor, famous socialite or influential blogger your chances are slim. In an effort to bring the runway excitement in line with in-store availability, Neiman Marcus has you covered.

Running through January 13th, Neiman Marcus is creating their own virtual fashion week where shoppers can watch streaming video of Spring 2011 shows, and shop accompanying looks.

Italian retailer Luisa via Roma has offered the ability to place pre-orders immediately after runway shows are first publicized, startup Moda Operandi is basing an entire site around it, and Burberry has been giving customers the opportunity to place orders at the same time as retail buyers for a few seasons now. In other words it’s not totally new, and probably won’t “fix” the fashion calendar that has spring clothes being shown in September, and winter clothes shown in February/March. It does extend the shelf life of the runway buzz though, and is a good attempt at bringing it more in line with when people are actually shopping for certain clothes.

“Runway videos capture all the exuberance and excitement of the catwalk,“ said Ken Downing, Neiman Marcus’ Fashion Director. “From her own virtual front row seat, our customer will be able to shop the hottest trends of the season, in the season.” {Second City Style}

More and more brands are livestreaming their shows and moving further away from the trade show roots of runway shows to on demand style entertainment. While someone like Tom Ford can buck the trend and time the press cycle to keep pace with in store availability, we think this is a clear sign of things to come from retailers who will have to find a way to benefit from the new fashion cycle.

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