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Luxury Bricks & Clicks

In today's Wall Street Journal, Christina Passariello reports that luxury brands are finally warming up to the idea of direct sales on the internet, albeit a decade late.  Sure, eluxury.com and net-a-porter.com have been around for a while, but most high-end designer websites are useless merely artistic. 

Not only are brands like Dior, Gucci, and Bottega Veneta finally realizing that websites offer the possibility of big profits and low overhead costs, but they may also play a role in the war on counterfeits:

E-commerce sites could also help fashion houses combat what they see as a troubling phenomenon -- fakes sold over the Internet.  One of the reasons the Web has become a major venue for sales of counterfeit handbags, experts say, is that fashion houses weren't offering the originals online.  "The lack of availability directly from the brands could drive consumers to online auction places and other sites, where it is mch harder to verify whether the item is genuine or not," says James Lawson, director of London consulting company Ledbury Research. 

OK, the customer buying a $29.99 Birkin on eBay probably won't go for the real thing, but some shoppers might be willing to pay a bit extra to ensure authenticity and condition. 

So what's next, Nicolas Ghesquiere hawking Balenciaga on the Home Shopping Network?

One of Tomas' Picks at Bottega Veneta