With the row of striking jewellery on her ears, you’d think that that’s Libby Page’s guilty pleasure. But what really makes her heart skip a beat are shoes.
“It doesn’t help when you’re looking at amazing products all day, and we have sensational shoes on the site,” Page laughs. “I love a black boot. I’ve got about six pairs that all do the same thing, but in my head, they all do very different things. I have at least 10 more shoes but they’re on my wish-list, not in my cart!”
Needless to say, dressing up for her starts from the bottom. “Shoes, always shoes. It really determines how comfortable you’re going to be for the entire day.”
Page joined Net-a-Porter in 2015. Armed with an editorial background that translates into an acute eye for trends, she is the bridge that links buying, editorial and marketing, keeping the London-based e-retail giant at the forefront. With almost a decade of experience in the fashion industry, she shares with Prestige how she spots new trends and scouts emerging talents.
What are five of Spring/Summer 2020 trends you’re excited about?
The first one has to be the return of the 90s. We have seen so many different decades dominate the fashion industry — from the 60s to the 70s and 80s — and they are generally interpreted in full, head-to-toe looks. The 90s trend, for me, just feels more wearable for everyday. There are a lot of great items you can buy to tap into the trends — think the halter-neck dress, the tube top and the thong sandals.
I’m a big fan of suits. I love that suits are translated for different personalities this season. I thought that was really interesting.
When it comes to summer, I love to dress in a style that’s bohemian, but with an edge. There’s the oversized pirate shirts we saw at Khaite, and the denim longline shorts at Saint Laurent.
J Lo in the Versace show spawned this trend of fun, optimistic tropical prints. I’ll probably work it with a Hawaiian shirt or printed bermuda shorts.
Monochromatic hues are a very easy way to get dressed in the morning, and still make an impact. I like this kind of trends where you can make a subtle statement. That sums up my key five!
What about the pieces you’re betting on that will be Spring/Summer 2020 hits?
There are some fantastic accessories. I think the Proenza Schouler x Birkenstock collaboration is going to be a huge, huge hit. The Givenchy ID93 is going to be amazing for us. It’s this soft oversized bag that goes under the arm. And the new Bottega Veneta Pouch with the chain is going to be big too.
In the ready-to-wear department, I think the J Lo dress [from Versace] is going to get a lot of traction. Her surprise appearance was a real fashion moment. And I’m excited to see Jacquemus’ 10th’s anniversary collection. It’s a strong collection that may take Simon [Porte Jacquemus] to the next level as a designer.
What are the pieces that you see as this season’s game-changers for existing wardrobes?
The roll neck is a great piece. At Net-a-Porter, we are constantly thinking globally about different climates and temperatures. A roll neck is a styling piece you can add that immediately lifts your look.
For people who don’t like to wear too much jewellery, chains are an easy way of accessorising. You could be wearing something simple but throw on a chunky chain and it immediately elevates an everyday look. Lauren Rubinski, a fine jewellery brand we’ve launched, does amazing chunky chains. I feel that she’s going to be really popular. The Proenza Schouler mules with the little delicate chain is beautiful too.
What’s your top advice in approaching a new season? How much influence do you think seasons have on the way we dress now?
I think we are moving towards a more season-less way of dressing. When a new season comes, it’s important to think about those pieces that you really want to invest in that will work within your wardrobe, and will work your wardrobe harder to get more use out of the pieces you really love as well. This way, you won’t get overwhelmed by all the trends that’s going on.
If you’re a minimalist, the tube top is great because you can wear it under an oversized blazer, you can layer over a shirt… and you probably have those pieces in your wardrobe now.
I agree with season-less dressing. When we look at what designers are putting out, there are sheer dresses and camisole tops in Autumn/Winter collections. Conversely, Spring/Summer has coats and boots. And if you look at real life, our weather patterns have changed.
It’s not predictable anymore. Designers have to dress the global customer. If they want to have a wide reach, they need to think about diversity, and certainly for us as a retailer, we are thinking less about the seasons, but more about when the products are dropping onsite, and how the weather will be then.
That’s true. Can you share with us interesting trends about Singapore’s shopping habits on Net-a-Porter.
Consumers in the Asia-Pacific region are drawn to new designers, as soon as they get featured on our “What’s New” section. I think shoppers love this idea of a discovery and wearing a new brand.
That’s part of your job!
Yes! Thank god our customers really love that, so the likes of Peter Do have done incredibly well for us in this region. We see their investments in contemporary brands while they’re still going towards the key power brands.
Part of your job is to search for new brands. What are the traits that make the cut?
When we look at a designer, we want this person to be doing something that doesn’t already exist on the site. We are very fortunate that being a purely online player, the kind of opportunities are endless. It’s very different than when you walk into a store and you have certain space that you need to think about. So when we launch a new brand, we always want to make sure that we are investing in someone who is offering something that you couldn’t get on the site, and the product is going to stand out. It’s likely that partnership with a brand that has a different point of view will grow stronger, so that’s definitely something we look for.
We also think about fit and fabrication, as well as price point. Does it reach a sweet spot we know our customer loves?
But you know, you can have a long list of criteria but ultimately, it’s that gut feeling you get when you see a designer you really love. When you walk into the showroom, and you think they’re doing something really special, really new, that we’ve just never seen before… you have a checkbox but really, it’s about that exciting feeling you get.
Which label is your most memorable find?
Peter Do, definitely. It was his first-ever collection that we started with, and to see how he established himself was really really impressive. What I loved was that his vision for the brand was so clear from Day One, so from social media to lookbooks, he’s really curated his vision of what he wanted his brand to look like.
What about the designers in the latest edition of Vanguard (Net-a-Porter’s mentorship programme)? Which label are you rooting for?
Personally, I love that all the designers are doing different things this season. We’ve been watching Ioannes for a few seasons, and I love his interesting, clever takes on classics. One of those is this ribbed dress that you can wear as a tank top.
That said, I think that Gauchere, S Joon and Christopher John Rogers are all doing amazing, individualistic things in fashion. It all comes back to the idea of making sure their products aren’t things you can’t currently get from our site, which makes them really unique.