When GRAZIA’s fashion director Aileen Marr sat down with Elizabeth von der Goltz she was drawn to asking her about her strappy Saint Laurent sandals. Coveting their cool factor, she couldn’t help but wonder whether they were also actually comfortable. Chic yes, but comfy? Surely not. The charismatic Global Buying Director for Net-A-Porter didn’t skip a beat in her assurance. She confirmed that they are indeed as practical as they are cute. In fact, she admitted, she has them in two colours, a practice she rarely commits when shopping.
Upon meeting in Hong Kong for the annual Net-A-Porter trend forecasting summit, von der Goltz was immediately inspiring. Her wealth of knowledge on the international shopping site for which she represents, for the brands she hosts and for fashion in general was wildly impressive…if even a little intimidating. This is the woman responsible for launching some of the most exciting new fashion labels in recent years and for that hard-working, high-turnover Net-A-Porter “cart” we all host.
For almost 20 years, the Net-A-Porter purchase has been one of the original big ticket online experiences. Founded in 2000 by Natalie Massenet, at the time the concept of shopping high-end labels purely via the non-tangible world of the internet was unique. In fact, its lack of bricks-and-mortar was something that initially hesitated investors. But of course, as time went on its business structure bore perfect sense for the modern world and it became a pioneer of the premium online shopping world. Massenet left the business in 2015 following a successful merger with the YOOX Group, and the brand remains a foremost destination for the savvy designer shopper.
So, with this in mind, von der Goltz’s responsibility for being not only abreast of latest trends but a creator of them, is ever-growing. Luckily, she has an insatiable thirst for the next chic look, for cultivating new talent and for championing a more sustainable fashion future. Plus, her fixation on the facts and figures around the current retail climate perfectly complements the creative marketing niche for which she has crafted for herself.
It’s likely that we’ve all made purchases due to, or at the least been inspired by, the fashion decisions von der Goltz has made. She’s become a powerhouse of the fashion industry, one who influences our seasonal dressing, whether we realise it or not.
So, in that case, what’s next? Being in the presence of a trend-manifesting guru had our whole team quick to ask for a forecast low-down. Fortunately, she obliged. You know…so we can get in quick and be blessed by the “add-to-cart” box beside our next dream purchase, rather than that soul-crushing, snooze-lose “sold out” sign…
Here’s her new season trend cheat sheet…time to screen shot now.
your net-a-porter 2019/2020 trend cheat sheet
Go ‘All Grown Up’. Think femininity in a polished look. It’s a perfect balance between pretty, chic and practical.
Khaite, the new chic label out of NYC is delivering relaxed-polish en masse and their ‘Wendell’ jeans have become an instant best seller.
Leather, whether real or faux is being manipulated into many new looks. Including soft tailoring.
Choose interesting colour combinations…in a more muted, grown-up way. Think the new season drops from labels like Rejina Pyo, sies marjan and ferragamo.
Classic ‘country highlands’ is back in a big way. Think argyle knits, plaid coats and cable knits all set by a classic trench. From the fall collections of labels like Victoria Beckham, Khaite and JW Anderson.
The most fun look of the new? Fantasy fashion. This involves rich florals, wild prints, intricate embroidery and fussy fabrics. Think Simone Rocha, Prada and Richard Quinn who all brought the dramaaaah this season.
The shoe that will instantly elevate your look? The slouch boot. Net-A-Porter have invested in many styles, but are particularly excited by Gianvito Rossi’s ‘Laura’.
And now for our insider chat with the woman with her finger on the fashion pulse…
Seeing that it’s currently autumn in Australia, what are the three items you would suggest to makeover our look this season?
I’d definitely say a pair of boots. A higher kind of slouched boot or a knee-high boot, one that by tucking it and styling it, you can wear with everything, even a long skirt. They also look great with pants tucked in, for that old 70s kind of look. I feel like you can wear them with any kind of transitional type of clothing. It’s funny how we are seeing boots work not only in fall but coming into spring. Also, I would say a great piece of leather clothing or vegan leather clothing. A leather dress or leather shirt, it doesn’t have to be an outerwear piece. And…hmm…probably still a jumpsuit. They work in every way in every fabric. My husband recently noticed, and he was like “you have a lot of new jumpsuits…” (laughs).
A lot of people, myself included, seem to gravitate to a comfort zone type of shopping. Where We always choose neutrals or convince ourselves we can’t wear certain things. How do you help someone explore new looks, outside of what they would usually consider?
I think these days we’re able to see how other people dress, a lot through social media. So trends are not the same as they used to be. People are able to mix looks in their own way based on all the inspiration available. Sometimes in ways you never thought you could do. Social media influencers always make trends their own. They’re really fun because they use a lot of styling tricks while also often being practical.
Net-a-Porter is known for securing and supporting new and up-and-coming labels, are there any we should be looking out for right now?
Oh my god, there’s so many! There’s Bite Studios. A fabulous, new, very beautifully-tailored sustainable line. One of the designers is from England and one is from Stockholm. Then there’s LE 17 Septembre, a super-sophisticated, really chic, well-praised brand from Korea. There is a lot coming out of Korea. Then there’s Gauge 81 which is a new brand out of Belgium. We launched Peter Do this season, I mean, he is just so talented and I’m so obsessed. And Tommy Ton – Creative Director of Deveaux – is just so loved up. I mean, he just blew me away at his last show and I was super impressed. But there’s so many, so many. It’s actually been really exciting we picked up over one hundred brands for the high summer and fall. So, it was a lot.
Having such a trend driven role, do you ever have to look beyond your own taste and support trends you don’t particularly relate to?
I say this to my team, buying for a company or buying for any retailer, it’s never about your own taste. The number one rule is that you’re always thinking about your customer. Obviously, if your taste matches the customer’s that makes it easy and helpful and very natural, but I think you’re always making sure your buying for your customer. So, while sometimes we don’t overly buy into micro-trends we have to make sure we’re still accommodating the super-fashion customer. Obviously, when there are things we feel are amazing, and we all agree as a team, we buy deep. That’s when you feel the emotional context and you know it’s a key item.
In your personal opinion, what are the strongest trends for the season ahead?
Quite a few. We kind of talked about this a lot last season, pushing even more into this “real woman”. A woman that can wear her clothes very confidently. In this comes your tailoring trend-girl-boss but more elevated. Like The Row, I mean, that collection was to die for. You’re seeing this woman grow up, which I love, she’s now dressed up in a more polished way. Then I love this, like English nobility, or country-chic look which is a mix tweeds and trenches and argyles but in a very sophisticated way. And another one I love is this use of sheer and layering. It’s nice because it’s a way to use your current wardrobe and not have to buy too much more when it comes to styling things. You can just buy one piece and wear it over something you already own, which is really a nice and cosy. Then we’re seeing a lot of this amazing sweater dressing. Including things like the grown-up version of the puffer coat. Blankety, beautiful, puffy warm cuts. Very comfortable and easy.
Is managing the quantity of product and number of new labels that Net-a-Porter takes on a difficult aspect of your job?
Yeah, I think because you’re not in a store, you’re online you think how do I get this message across to the customer? How do we make sure that people know we have new product. We always have our ‘what’s new’ pieces every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. But we also have to find ways to campaign around the new brands. You want to market a message covering all the different things you are bringing to the site. You want people to understand this is something new, it’s something different.
With the increased knowledge we have around the detrimental environmental effects of fast fashion, have you noticed an upturn in investment buying? Do you think good quality and long-lasting pieces are starting take more priority in people’s shopping habits?
I think absolutely. Our sustainability strategy, that we’re launching this summer, has an ultimate goal for every brand to have a certain percentage that is either completely completely sustainable or has an ‘x’ amount of sustainable practices. I also think when you talk about that kind of dressed-up, sophisticated look it includes a lot of investment pieces. All these beautiful coats and jackets are things that should last forever. We even just did a workshop within our company on how to make your wardrobe work harder. Say, if you had this amazing jacket you note all the ways you could wear it again and again.
What are some forever buys you always recommend ?
You always need an amazing jacket because you can wear it everywhere and anywhere. You can get off a plane and be knocked around with your luggage but, with your jacket, you look like you can go anywhere. And I would say you need that one amazing forever bag. There’s lots of fun trend bags but the one that’s made from beautiful leather like the new Bottega Veneta or The Row, something that’s really quite classic and will last forever. And then probably a trench coat. Transitional wear in a transitional weight.
in your opinion, which is the boot of the season? And the trouser?
The slouch boot as we mentioned before, and also a combat boot. For example the Chelsea Combat, you’re seeing from season-to-season becoming almost like your new comfortable shoe, the new sneaker. And the trouser, I love how they’ve taken on a life of their own. Everything from your super-long pants, to this kind of crazy wide leg cargo. Pants can now either be a statement or a basic.
Aquazurra ‘Brera’ boots, $811, SHOP NOW
Acne studios ‘jana’ blazer, $1200, SHOP NOWSaint Laurent ‘Paris’ sandals, $1220, SHOP NOW
Alexander Wang ‘Spencer’ chelsea boots, $797, SHOP NOW
The Row ‘Triana’ trench, $1999, SHOP NOW
Re/Done cotton cargo pants, $153, SHOP NOW
Common Projects Combat suede boots, $1056, SHOP NOW
Nili Lotan ‘Brixton’ pants, $1317, SHOP NOW