If you're the kind of person who looks at runway slideshows during Fashion Week and thinks, If only I could order those clothes now with a 50 percent down payment and get them mailed to me in four to five months — hopefully Blake Lively hasn't worn them all by then, then Lauren Santo Domingo's new online venture is just for you. She partnered with ex–Gilt Grouper Aslaug Magnusdottir on the site Moda Operandi, which will launch in February during New York Fashion Week and will function as a virtual trunk show. In physical trunk shows, rich ladies who get invited to or hear about these events can go schmooze with a designer and order pieces directly from them before all the plebeians (who don't lunch) see them in stores. On Moda Operandi, designers will put clothes up for purchase within 48 hours of their runway shows, which members can order with a 50 percent deposit for delivery in around four months. They can return the clothes if they find them unsatisfactory. So it's like Net-a-Porter with the instant gratification of spending money, and no instant gratification in wearing the clothes.
Designers who have signed on to participate include Thakoon, Proenza Schouler, Prabal Gurung, Narciso Rodriguez, Vera Wang, Alexander Wang, and Giambattista Valli; the founders expect to accrue 100,000 members in its first year.
So often it seems things that benefit the rich have the opposite effect on the poor, and this site could be no different.
Ms. Magnusdottir says runway shows create tremendous excitement—but the excitement often fails to translate into sales because it takes so long for clothes to reach stores.
"There's so much money left on the table today because nobody really knows what's going to sell," says Ms. Magnusdottir. "The big hits sell out immediately and they could have sold more. And the rest winds up on sale racks."
So designers can use this site as feedback to avoid having overstock that people like us wait to pilfer at sample sales. Hooray.