Or take Chloe’s Paddington bag. The day it was launched, the Sloane Street store received 25 requests for it and the week ended with some 100 names on the waiting list. (The list closed before the end of the season with 600 names, and this is at just one Chloe boutique; over at Matches, demand was even higher: 180 names were put on the waiting list in just one week.) “It was out of control. Unfortunately we couldn’t satisfy that demand,” says a Chloe spokesman.
“I really wanted a Birkin,” says designer Rachel Roy, who managed to scoop a Spy after a two-week wait. “But if you go into the store and ask for one, they look at you as if you’re speaking a foreign language, like you must be out of your mind.”
The waiting list is no new retail idea. Hermes has had them in place for decades. Theirs are not only some of the most talked-about but also some of the hardest to crack, not to mention the most guarded. “The idea that we have a wait isn’t true,” claims an Hermes spokesman. “We take orders. It’s a bespoke service.” A bespoke service that comes with a wait. If you need to justify the time it takes for an Hermes bag to arrive, consider the process. There’s no production line. Each bag is handmade in the French atelier by one person from start to finish, taking an average of 20 hours. The other factor is the quality of materials. Hermes chooses the highest grade leathers (no sloppy off-cuts here), immediately restricting availability.
What is new, however, is the growing number of waiting lists and products that generate them. It’s not just bags. Cast your minds back to Roland Mouret’s Galaxy the dress story of autumnwinter 2005. A waiting list was drawn up at every Mouret stockist. “It’s definitely something that has developed more as a concept, especially in the last two seasons,” says Erin Mullaney. “One of the reasons is that stores now offer personal shoppers who can direct customers straight to the key pieces of the season.” In a nutshell, there’s a lot more emphasis on far fewer pieces. And it’s not just designer clothes: Topshop has its own frenzies to contend with. Recently, the store’s style advisors have been textingrecommendations to customers, who can reserve the pieces and, if they’re sold out, be automatically put on a waiting list.
But what is it about these items that compel us to wait on a list, and often shell out huge deposits, without even seeing them in the real, trying them on or knowing what fabric they’re made from? At the premiere of Pride & Prejudice, Keira Knightley wore a Matthew Williamson embellished empire-line floor-sweeping gown; the very next morning a flurry of requests ensured that waiting lists were introduced at every Matthew Williamson stockist and all this from a grainy picture of Keira in the next day’s newspapers.
Besides celebrity endorsement, there are other elements that make something waiting-list-worthy. More often that not, it’s a definitive piece that people will wait for: the item that appears in a designer’s advertising campaign, opens a show or has big media exposure. (The month that Vogue featured Alexander McQueen’s Novak bag, the store received 20 orders.)
The internet has certainly fast-forwarded fashion. While many women struggle with what to wear next week, there’s another breed planning for next season, logging on to Style.com and selecting the looks they want the day after they debut on the runway. “Straight after the shows I make a new-season wardrobe storyboard, a kind of wish list of all the key items I would like to buy, ” says Gabriele Hackworthy, fashion director at large for Japanese and Chinese Vogue.
By November last year, this summer’s must-haves were already mapped out. Roland Mouret has worked his magic a second season running with his Titanium dress. “As we speak, the Titanium is nearly While many women struggle with what to wear next week, another breed is logging on to the internet and selecting next season’s looks the day after the shows sold out,” says Matches’ Tom Chapman, adding that Balenciaga’s printed Lariat is currently topping the bag list and Jovovich-Hawk’s silk rainbow-print dress has more than 30 people waiting for it.
In addition to the Paddington list at Chloe, there is also a list at Selfridges for the Betty, the label’s new bag. “We have around 50 names for that. Lots of people call for Chloe, so we’ve also started a list for the lacy white Sixties shift dress,” says Mullaney. There are also Be warned it is really hot in summer and really cold in winter. And pack some comfortable walking shoes so that you can see as many amazing sights as possible.
Chloe Handbags Designs 2015 Photo Gallery
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