On Wednesday, Google is unveiling its foray into the world of e-fashion and online shopping, which has a working title of Boutiques.com. Google isn't saying a whole lot about the project since they plan to unveil it with a splashy fashion party on Wednesday, clearly demonstrating that if they know anything about this industry, it's that nothing is too small for a party in a photo studio with free champers! But their plans are pretty clear anyway: Boutiques.com will allow users to compile fashion items they like into personalized boutiques, which folks can click through to purchase from an online retailer. Google is said to have recruited Sarah Jessica Parker to make one of these boutiques, which is a great opportunity for her to plug the label she's president of, Halston Heritage. Katie Holmes has reportedly also been wooed by Google, which is said to have invited Oscar de la Renta, Tory Burch, Cynthia Rowley, Marchesa, Isaac Mizrahi, Tracy Reese, and Erin Fetherston to set up little Google shops of their own.
It's easy to see why brands and the general public would get off on something like this. Designers and celebrities can shill their goods while people can see what designers and celebrities are shilling, while maybe networking with their friends or other people with taste they like. The social-networking potential appeals to fashion companies, as do tie-ins with YouTube and Google's other assets. But will it be a huge hit? The thing that makes us go, "Polyvore what?" One fashion executive thinks Google's Boutiques will be much more successful than anything eBay's attempted to do over the years with fashion, at least.
"It’s Google. Isn’t that a lot sexier than eBay? It’s true that eBay has been exploring this area and tried some different vehicles through exclusive relationships. Google owns the world — it owns YouTube, Gmail, and it’s a different platform than eBay."
The concept of curated, networkable online boutiques isn't new. After all, some product-focused blogs like Bag Snob essentially function as these, just in a different format. Revolveclothing.com relaunched just last week with a new design and a new "My Revolve" component that allows users to curate boutiques of items available for sale on the site and receive commission in store credit from any purchases made directly from their boutiques. However, so far on the site, and bear in mind this JUST launched days ago, Über-popular Fashion Toast blogger Rumi Neely has only 44 followers, while the site has about half a million customers. So will these curated boutiques prove to be the wave of fashion's online future? Anything is more intriguing at this point than another fashion film of a model wiggling on a ripped bed sheet.
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