The Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten — who designs clothes fashion people tend to drool over — was similar to other cultish luxury brands like Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and Céline in one key way: It was nearly impossible to buy online. Actually, Céline is literally impossible to purchase on the Internet, which is how Dries used to be … until this morning, as Barneys New York has finally convinced the designer to put a selection of men’s and women’s fall clothes on their website. “While the decision took time, it is truly the power of this collection that made this all possible,” Danielle Vitale, chief operating officer of Barneys, e-mailed the Cut. “Our relationship and history with this brand is unique and special.”
She’s right: Barneys bought the first Dries collection in 1986, exclusively launching the label here in the United States. The retailer and designer have worked together ever since, so it’s nice synergy that Van Noten chose barneys.com when agreeing to try out this whole digital thing. But beyond the store’s negotiating success, this deal says more about the future of e-commerce than the mere fact that we can all buy paisley scarves online now. As a luxury brand in 2013, it is completely absurd not to sell your collections online, whether with Barneys, another department store, or other high-end sites like Luisa Via Roma or Net-a-Porter. There’s no better (or more affordable way) to make your accessories and other sizeless items available to a hungry-to-buy, possibly discreet clientele. And while you can argue that people like to see and touch expensive things before taking them home, or that the whole service/store component is inherent to selling luxury goods, that just seems silly when the biggest fans of fashion are pinning and tweeting their favorite looks long before (or in lieu of) putting them on. Plus, it’s just plain satisfying to add this gorgeous $1,400 fur coat to your cart, even if you never end up checking out.