« Super Fakes | Main | From Reality to Runway »

Live Fast: Halston at Internet Speed

HalstonThe morning after Halston's first fashion show, socialite Babe Paley showed up outside his studio seeking to purchase her favorite look -- immediately.  Now you can do the same.

The latest reincarnation of the iconic designer's label will appear on a New York runway at 2 pm today.  Tomorrow, online retailer Net-a-Porter will offer 2 of the looks, a daytime dress and an evening gown, with same-day delivery in New York and London and next-day delivery elsewhere.  In an industry where the 4-to-6-month gap between display and delivery has been under increasing pressure from consumers who have immediate access to Style.com, blogs, and television coverage, the plan is both revolutionary and inevitable.  No, it won't work for every look from every show -- the 2 dresses had to be chosen and manufactured in quantity beforehand, as yet too great a commitment to become standard practice for high-end items -- but it's a fabulous "what's next" moment.  And great PR.

Even better, it's an answer to the ubiquitous copycat problem.  WWD quotes Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet:

"I am sure this will be a shock to the brands that specialize in knocking off some of the talent in the fashion industry,"  she added.  "They had their cake and have been eating it for a while, and we're now saying, 'We work with the brand to reclaim their ability to sell their product first.'"

Stefani Greenfield, co-owner of Scoop, NYC, concurs:

"For so long people have been knocking off and getting it out there and beating a designer that has to deal with craftsmanship, workmanship, and details that take time," she said.  "This allows the consumer to be part of our moment in fashion."

Presumably music to the ears of Harvey Weinstein, one of the current owners of the Halston name and no fan of fakes. 

By all accounts, the man born Roy Halston Frowick would've loved the idea, too.  Not only did he dress the stylish denizens of Studio 54, but -- following an idea that was well before its time -- he also created a line for J.C. Penney.  Although his mass-market move nearly destroyed the brand, as high-end accounts and clients fled the association, it was nevertheless a vision of the future.  Halston surely understood that instant gratification is always in style -- and what could be more modern than shopping for designer creations while wearing pajamas?