Milly Coming to Banana Republic
Banana Republic has collaborated with Milly designer Michelle Smith to produce a 60-plus item collection for men and women bowing in May at select Banana Republic locations worldwide and online. Simon Kneen, Banana Republic’s creative director and executive vice president of design, said Smith was interested in how the retailer would interpret her unabashedly feminine style for men’s wear. “It was shrinking down the scale of her prints and working with a more muted palate,” Kneen said. “I don’t think Michelle thought her style could be translated into men’s wear. I was excited by the challenge and she was open to the idea. We’re turning the Milly brand into something interesting for our guys.”
The collection, which incorporates a new print created for the capsule and six updated Milly prints, is priced from $45 to $175 for women’s apparel, $24.50 to $64.50 for men’s wear, and $39.50 to $130 for jewelry and accessories. “[Collaborations] add a whole different layer,” said Kneen. “What really makes a good collaboration is the fact that there’s a really strong story to tell. In Milly’s case, she has a strong sense of color, while for ‘Mad Men,’ it was the iconic style of the Camelot period that got my antenna up. They’ve all been very successful and that’s why we’re interested in continuing them.”
Pinterest Makes an Acquisition
Pinterest has made its first acquisition, a recipe aggregater called Punchfork. The acquisition comes at an interesting time for Pinterest, which launched in 2008, as the social bookmarking site is itself said to be a possible acquisition target this year. Terms of the deal for the two-year-old Punchfork weren’t disclosed.
Last May, Pinterest caught the attention of Japanese Internet service firm Rakuten Inc., which led a consortium that invested $100 million in the startup. Others in the consortium include Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners and FirstMark Capital, along with several angel investors. Rakuten has been expanding its e-commerce presence outside of Japan, and in 2010 acquired Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Buy.com for $250 million through Rakuten USA.
Digital Going Global in 2013
Mobile commerce is primed to dominate the digital space over the next 12 months. Also expected in the year ahead is a rapid adoption of localizing (as well as hyper-localizing) shopping, capturing data and personalizing the online experience platform-wide. Otherwise, many of the other trends predicted to reign in 2013 are an extension — and a further implementation — of current digital concepts that have yet to widely infiltrate the industry, including mobile ads and “native advertising”, the embracing of the omnichannel experience, social commerce, merging in-store and online and getting back to basics, with a focus on customer service online.
Online shopping is already responsible for shifting the retail calendar, disrupting the traditional holiday shopping cycle as the number of consumers buying online grows exponentially. The more widespread use of broadband Internet connections, combined with smartphones and tablets, is allowing shopping to take place earlier than ever — even on Thanksgiving, days before Cyber Monday. Alan Marks, eBay Inc.’s senior vice president of global communications, said mobile continues to be the catalyst that’s changing not only how retail operates, but how consumers shop. Compared with four years ago, when m-commerce “barely existed,” eBay can now bring its vast selection (home to 105 million active users) to consumers anywhere, anytime they want. E-commerce is no longer just a largely search-based, desktop experience on Web sites.
– Taneisha Jordan
Source & Photo: WWD