Yesterday, I got on my high horse and started banging on about how designers needed to get their websites sorted out and today, I'm still on that high horse, but I've moved onto high-end e-stores.  This is strictly speaking BoF territory, but as I browsed through Miu Miu's spanking new online shop, I started drawing comparisons in my head and after a lot of browsing and 50 screencaps later, I kind of wanted to round up my little tidbits on the biggie e-stores that are out there at the moment as well as touching on e-store absentees.  Multi-brands boutiques probably aren't going to like this but I personally like shopping in person at the flagship own-brand stores if I can.  Take Miu Miu for example, I'd much rather walk into the Miu Miu store and buy something there rather than buying it from a department store – it's a shallow material feeling of wanting to be in the environment of (in Miu Miu's case), brocade wallpaper and plush pale pink carpet.  Likewise, online, I may take a preference to own-branded e-stores IF they're up to scratch…

How does an e-shop become 'up to scratch'?  There probably is no one definitive answer to that.  The thing is, it's all very subjective and personal as well as being different from label to label.  I'm only speaking as a wee consumer here because nothing can ultimately definitive and finite when everyone's browsing tastes, online shopping traits and lifestyles are different.  Also, I have to admit there's a certain bias towards labels of course that personally interest me which factors into this  Also also, I haven't taken into account limited shipping which a lot of them have… USA and the main European countries are often in the safe zone but it gets very very scatty when it gets to Australia and Asia.  

Rendering all of this… a morning's worth of screencapping and not much else… YAY ME! 

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Let's get started then… so Miu Miu has landed and weirdly, in comparison to Prada, the offering is MUCH better with a very VERY decent selection of ready to wear.  The S/S 11 show pieces such as a swan print dress and metallic leather jackets are all there – ready for me to say "Oh yeah, I have a spare ¬£2k lying around…"    

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I thought I'd have a problem with it all being a bit boxy but actually straightforward and easy-peasy is the way to go with Miu Miu, especially with their accessories, shoes and bag offerings where I know the collections inside and out and just want to click to buy.  Let's hope that the 'cult' items of future Miu Miu collections (such as S/S 10's cat print shirt collars) make it onto the site so that I can stop harrassing weary shop assistants. 

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They have a LOT of the Apple-motif jewellery up seeing as NAP sold out of the stuff quite early on…

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Yup, one of each please…

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Reed Krakoff in my head is a young label (having only done a few seasons) but I have to keep remembering it's backed by Coach which is probably why their e-store is so slick.  It's not necessarily that they have EVERYTHING online but the layout as well as the selection is really quite good. 

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I particularly like their RK Edits selection and the way the shoes are magnified on-site alongside quotes from Reed Krakoff himself, making the experience a little bit more interesting as well as being practical – I'm a fan of INSTANT big images where you can see every nook and cranny of the item as opposed to zooms where you're looking at an ultra magnified area but can't get the whole context of the item. 

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Lanvin's old website was making me weep a little because it was just terribly old-fashioned so really, anything would have been an improvement.  For an age-old Parisian house, I actually think this new e-store does the trick in some respects.  The whimsicality and personality of Alber Elbaz is injected into the layout as well as those signature mannequins which are used in Lanvin stores.  The selection isn't bad either though it could be wider… 

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Selling Alexander Wang online is sort of a no-brainer given that his products really are geared towards instant sells.  With the site redesign though, I quite like that you can now see things in grid format (with the option to scale it up and down) and there's just a lot more product on the site now.  Again simplicity works in Wang's favour…

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I also like their choice of lead-images when you click onto the categories…damn you Alexander Wang bags… after buying my hessian Adele clutch, I'm now seeking out these Jade ones…

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You'd really think Burberry would have the art of the e-store fully perfected given how much resources they devote to all things digital.  Actually, if I'm honest, I find their opening page to their online store a little confusing.  Am I looking at runway looks?  Can I buy everything that's in this grid?  Why is there a random April Showers video stuck in there? 

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When you get into the categories of product though (after a prolonged bit of loading time…), it's a bit more clear-cut and they have emphasised what they are all about in their Prorsum, London and Brit lines, which is outerwear, outerwear, outerwear – something that has become the main focus of their collections too when they offer the coats to buy straightaway after the show (for a limited period of time only though…). 

Also when you get through to some of the opening pages, I had a script error which had something to do with the music playing…

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I could be completely jellified if I wore this and carried the Furla Candy bag…

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Marc Jacobs caused a few question marks to fly around when they relaunched their e-store and you had this sort of 90s Sim City type animation on the opening page.  I kind of think it works for the store, especially when you get into their comprehensive categories where all labels under Marc Jacobs are offered under one site and there's a ton of product on offer too.  Right now, all the S/S 11 Marc Jacobs 70s stuff is available

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…along with shoes that I haven't even seen in stores before…

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I like how they've included minor product lines too such as Little Marc Jacobs, something that say Stella McCartney could do.

Sadly it's US only at the moment but I'm sure that will change…

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After browsing through a few of the American-based e-stores, I noticed that in general, the products are presented on the models, as looks as opposed to being flat cut-out shots or on mannequins.  I don't really have a preference as it depends on the brand but for people like DKNY/Donna Karan and Diane von Furstenberg, I suppose it works for their customer base…

I find it a little funny that DKNY has a 'Breakfast Meeting' category… scarily enough, I seem to be in a period of my life where breakfast meetings are sort of normal – who knew that would happen, eh?

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The Alexander McQueen e-store has improved quite a bit since it first launched and here I do prefer the looks presented on models as opposed to flat cut-outs as the styling of the model really helps to sell the pieces…

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Then comes the Yoox-ers, the sites operated by e-store GIANT Yoox.  This doesn't necessarily mean it falls in to formulaic territory though.  Marni's site (Yoox's first estore coup) though could do with a bit of sprucing up as the graphics/fonts etc somehow look a little tired – which doesn't fit in with the exhuberant and outstandingly accomplished collections that Marni consistently turns out.   

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Maison Martin Margiela's e-store is another Yoox operated site and fits in with the existing site design which hasn't had too many changes since the man himself left, sticking to that ye olde Apple OS layout that always makes clicking around the site weirdly clunky but thoroughly enjoyable.

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It has a pretty good selection of the mainline collection as well as MM6 online too…

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Moschino, is also under the Yoox umbrella and actually has a really personalised graphic treatment that is entirely fitting for the brand.  It's got a fair bit of Eliza Doolittle stuff going on as she's their new brand ambassador at the moment but get into their different categories of Moschino, Moschino Cheap & Chic and Love Moschino and they all get separate graphic and presentation treatments.  I like the full length catwalk looks that are then separated into products at the side…

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I actually love Stella McCartney's website in general and the design of the e-store is also beautiful as well as functional, especially when you get to individual products and they enlarge into HUGE images.  The selection is perhaps a little low though in comparison to their physical stores and this seems to be problematic with a lot of labels which is probably down to limitations with their websites vs. physical stores/stockists or distribution/production flow.  

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Who else can bulk up their offerings…?

Balenciaga – I'd love to see ready to wear beyond t-shirts and leather jackets on their site.  Oh, and boo to being UK/US ONLY…

Louis Vuitton/Loewe – I know both are primarily BAG/ACCESSORIES companies that are here to push their BAGS but if they sell their ready to wear in-stores why shouldn't they do so online?  I'd love to see that pushed more…

Proenza Schouler – I love the thinking behind their site after seeing them talk about it at the IFB Conference, that they can put up show pieces, things that never went into production etc onto their e-store but for me, I would LOVE a HUGE wack of Proenza available from their site.  That's just greedy me and my love for all things Proenza though…

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Then there are the slight clunkers where selection/product breadth isn't the problem but the design feels a little clunky/heavy.  Gucci of course being Gucci needs to be sheeny shiny but the bronze mannequins that they use in their product shots don't do the clothes any favours and somehow the logo boxes that spin around into looks, feels a little bit odd.  The same goes for the D&G online store (why just D&G and not Dolce & Gabbana?) which also is a bit gold and boxy.  I know I know, I'm stating the obvious that super Italian brands liks Gucci and Dolce are heavy on the gold and bling, but I'm sure the design could be amped up a notch to match both brand's amazing physical stores… 

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I was actually pleasantly surprised to find SO MUCH of the S/S 11 collection on Pringle's e-store and their main website is quite impressive too but when you get into the e-store, it feels a little bit formulaic and a bit boxed-up…

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Vivienne Westwood's site is on that boxy route again but fares worse because it offers VERY little functionality in terms of categorisation and just feels a little slapdash.  In this case, it might be better not to have an online shop at all…

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Some other sites that need a design shake-up in my opinion…

Rag & Bone – I'm a huge fan of their collections from the past few seasons and right now the brilliant mood/ambiance of their S/S 11 collection is just not reflected on their e-store which also needs some rejigging in its categorisation. 

Sonia Rykiel – Tired looking drop down menus as well as a limited amount of product just does not measure up to the FUN of Sonia Rykiel's collections…

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Who is totally absent on the e-store front and needs to get online PRONTO for my own personal enjoyment?

3.1 Phillip Lim – I was actually shocked that he didn't have an e-store.  I COMPLETELY thought he had one and looked through the site very carefully just to check I hadn't missed it.  I'm sure it's in the works…

Carven – Alright, it's asking a bit much considering they've JUST opened their first store in Paris but the label has blown up fast and their friendlier price points means an e-store would be more than welcome.  Like I said, an army of Carven-fanatics are building up fast and they can definitely take advantage of that…

Celine – It may never happen given Phoebe Philo's love of all things discreet and secretive.  Still, with the right design, Celine need not be wrapped up in the bubble wrap of physical-store only exclusivity…

Chloe – You go to their "e-shopping page" and find a very disappointing redirect page asking you to go elsewhere.  What's even weirder is that they regularly run big online campaigns with mahussive MPUs, half-page ads on big fashion sites – what is the call to action then? 

Givenchy – Again, I think a smattering of product could work at first just to get the ballrolling.  Actually I'd just like a way of being able to get hold of those A/W 11-12 caps with cat-ears…

Thom Browne – Given that his shows are such theatrical draws and his aesthetic is so uniquely his own, I feel like a Thom Browne e-store could be visually amazing…

Versace/Versus – I really thought Versace had one too.  I think separate sites would work better for the two brands.  Actually Versus just needs a website in general.  What is it with Christopher Kane and his fear of websites?!

Viktor & Rolf – I don't think they could sell their showpieces online but they have such a wide product range now not seen on the catwalk that could do well in their animation-heavy site…

Victoria Beckham – I'm sure it's only a matter of time.  Her stuff sells like hot cakes.  Makes entire sense.  Would love to be able to get my hands on the A/W 11-12 grey duffle bag – yes, Vicky B put a grey duffle bag in her collection…

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As a more upbeat and positive end note, I wanted to mention how much I like Vena Cava's new e-store/web design.  Fairly minimal but with enough character to really reflect what they're about as designers.  It's not really right to compare Vena Cava with all the aforementioned names here but still, I like this mentality of keeping things just a little bit personal which can be applied to a few designers that may well be on their way to becoming 'superbrands' but can still afford to hold back on the slickness when it comes to their online offering… 

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Vena Cava's garage store also got me thinking that if they can bung a weird fish ornament up for sale, then the idea of designers doing online sample sales, operated by themselves (not through Gilt/Cocosa etc…) could also be a distinct possibility.  I love the idea of big houses doing invite-only (like their physical counterparts) online sales that could also engage with customers but that's a distant fantasy given that big houses like to keep their sample sales hush hush and industry-only… 

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Like I said though, it's all subjective – it would be great if everyone weighs in on their own-brand e-store joys and woes…

Comments (42)

  1. jj says:

    What do you think of this one? http://Www.jumastudio.com

  2. fashionstyle says:

    Oh so a good news !!!

  3. Swan says:

    You know which site I just recently liked was http://www.mrporter.com/ that is some seriously clear and evocative too(!) presentation. Not a one designer shop but still.
    I was a bit perturbed by one of the shops you mentioned. I don’t feel like mentioning their name, but their site wasn’t working for me at all. A much hyped site that did work before.

  4. susie_bubble says:

    Multi-brand boutiques are probably where own-brand boutiques need to learn something from… Mr Porter’s design is lovely…
    Swan: Name, names! Construction criticism is helpful and if it’s not working for you, then it might not be working for someone else!

  5. I like Stella McCartney’s website.

  6. Aryn says:

    Thanks for sharing these! I always feel like the layout of a site decides of I like the actual content or not.

  7. Swan says:

    Urgh. It was Burberry again, their site with all the folks in trenches wasn’t working for me at all. As in wouldn’t load and eventually I have up.

  8. tanya says:

    More people need to ship to Australia! Please please please! I hate finding wonderful things online and then having my heart broken when i find out that the e-shop doesnt ship to Australia :|

  9. Doni Brown says:

    Your right! as usual! I’ve been really upset lately, because they really need to get it together, considering that’s one of the main ways people shop nowadays!
    http://thefreakoffashion.blogspot.com/

  10. Shini says:

    You know how much I love you for putting this together.
    Personally love MMM’s site, just because it’s such a great representation of the brand, even putting aside functionality at times. Almost like installation art.
    I don’t think I’ve ever realized that so many brands do e-shops!

  11. moi says:

    Wow…you do love your online shopping! I have to pull you up on Mr. Porter… I’m getting really bored with the layouts at present and also how they tie in the larger, blown up image to show detail. I’m sure we could ALL design a better navigation and layout, as we all shop online and have for years! I find it incredible that a lot of online shops have not evolved with clever considerations that you see on many websites, or ipad applications, or even iphone shopping apps. In fact, the ASOS layout for their facebook store is snappy and clever. However, I recently purchased from Mr. Porter this week (Rick Owens jeans, yum) and their delivery options, free returns and home pickup with their account number on DHL is SERIOUSLY useful. Also, the packaging is beautiful and everything comes signed with your name, quirky! I love Luisaviaroma, the Corner and Antonioli, those three Italian gems get their online stores spot on. Oki-Ni could vastly improve, but I also agree with you on luxury brands needing to invest in greater retail experience online. I prefer multi-brand, I think it’s a male thing, but I love to compare everything aesthetically, quality wise and how it coincides. I really like what Rick Owens and Damir Doma have done with their sites, but they seriously need e-stores… what really pisses me off is when brands like Martin Margiela develop e-stores for the ladies and 100% neglect the boys… you sexist frogs!

  12. moi says:

    Forgot to mention Seven New York and Mr. Quartana and his team of do gooders. Brilliant customer service, if you want to purchase from a New York store do it from SEVEN! International? Email them and they’ll do you big favours on avoiding import duties (I think I’m safe saying that). Lazzari in Treviso and Pollyanna offer second to none customer service online too… no doubt the independents perform better with online service. I will however mention my-wardrobe, who took 3 days to respond to my inquiry and failed to answer 2 of my 3 questions yet have some customer service award?? They’re much cheaper, presumably to compete, but suspect in areas. DO NOT shop at forwardforward.com, seriously avoid… worst ever experience in 9 years of online shopping. In fact, send them hate mail, addressed to Jennifer.

  13. Steff says:

    When I look for Vivienne Westwood online, I look at hervia.com. It’s 1000X better organized than the main site’s ‘online shop’, and there’s tons more pieces available there. I don’t even know why there’s a shop section of the main site when there’s Hervia.

  14. Marta says:

    congrats for this post!!! It’s really useful as I love to explore these online stores! ;)
    http://themeaningoffashion.blogspot.com/

  15. One that you haven’t mentioned that I really like as its easy to navigate and the sections of the e-shop are clear is Louis Vuitton. I get easily turned off a e-shop if its confusing and the layout is poor and I have to agree with you that the burberry site does just that.

  16. Major respect for all the effort in this post!! I have to agree sooooo much about Burberry, it drives me insane, I just can’t use it! Vivenne Westwood is my absolute favourite I wish they would add more stock, hervia.com is the other official VW site which is a lot better at adding newseason quickly x

  17. Sara K says:

    GREAT POSTTT!!!

  18. I would definitely tend to buy from boutiques rather than designers direct as their sites are much more usable and attractive.

  19. margief says:

    havent you done your research lol! wheres the petition i can sign to get ALL the websites up to scratch??
    margief
    x
    http://www.margieheartsclothes.blogspot.com

  20. edoardo says:

    Really interesting and full of information post…wow!
    http://fashiondoesntexist.blogspot.com/

  21. susie_bubble says:

    I guess the one advantage that own brands could and should wield over multi-label brands is a) the breadth of product (if retailers didn’t buy certain styles, THEY can put them out there‚Ķ) and b) to really BRING the universe of the brand and marry that up with the presentation of product on the website in the same way that when you go into a physical store, there are traits that you expect from certain brands‚Ķ
    I forgot to say that another way own-brands could really make their e-stores more distinctive is by offering archive pieces, or exclusive colour ways‚Ķ things that don’t necessarily compete with their stockists. I highlighted that when I talked about David Szeto a while back whose site is definitely well-accomplished‚Ķ
    Moi: Agree with you on your points about your the multi-brand stores. I was specifically talking about own-brand because I do believe that a lot of them CAN do a lot better. I like my multi-brands too but I suppose I’m thinking that if physical-store wise, I prefer own-brand stores, then perhaps I could feel the same way about the own-brand e-stores. I’m already preferring what sites like Miu Miu and Jil Sander (didn’t mention them but they’re Yoox-operated too‚Ķ) are offering as they have a lot more than the multi-brands do of their stock, especially when it comes to clothing. I suppose depth of stock is what I’m after and in womenswear collections when there is so much that doesn’t make it into stores (products culled because stores didn’t buy etc‚Ķ) then for me, it can be more advantageous‚Ķ
    However, yes at the moment people like Luisaviaroma and The Corner are really really paving the way…
    I have no opinion on Mr Porter yet Рobviously not aimed at me Рbut I like its editorial content….
    Oki-Ni – meh‚Ķ have never really got it – they don’t buy that deeply either‚Ķ
    I did think of putting Rick Owens down on the absentees list but then I also figured that he has SO MANY stockists. Same reason why I didn’t put Dries Van Noten down – I’d love them to do e-commerce on a ‘special piece’ basis though perhaps?
    Margiela does have menswear!! It’s VERY hidden though – the MAN folder at the bottom is sort of a bit obscured if you’re on a smaller screen‚Ķ.
    http://eboutique.maisonmartinmargiela.com/mmmargiela/search/Coats_and_jackets/man/season/main/tskay/0639EC3C/c/cat_898/gender/U/viewall/1/ipp/100
    Seven is of course great – I’d say that’s more of a personal shopping experience than a fully operational e-store though as you have email convos with them‚Ķ. perhaps independent/intimate service is key‚Ķ.
    Ick‚Ķ the design of forwardforward kind of makes me yack a bit‚Ķ I find a lot of the American ones such as ShopBop, Revolve etc put me off buying (plus their models don’t make me want to buy the clothes)‚Ķ. much prefer Opening Ceremony, Creatures of Comfort and smaller independent stores‚Ķ
    COR, this is definitely a separate convo about online stores in general…
    Beth Greenwood: I did mention Louis Vuitton, but said that it would be great if they had their ready to wear stuff on site. They’re SO bag-focused and for me, the interesting stuff is in the ready to wear and show shoes.
    Pearl Westwood/Steff: You’re right‚Ķ VW could just do without their online store completely especially with a site like Hervia (though I don’t particularly like their web design‚Ķ)‚Ķ

  22. Swan says:

    The game is so on. I love it.
    Another interesting evolving situation I think are the templates offered as carts by various sites. Using 2 or 3 of them, I can really see the strengths/weaknesses. But these companies are pushing really hard and evolving in interesting ways to give their clients (and clients’ clients) what they want. Although a bit disturbing to read some days, but I do love the often aggressive interaction between some of these sites and their clients who demand more and make good suggestions. I think I am pretty spoiled because with 2 of these sites I have good iPhone application interaction that works usefully. I get a lot of orders through people’s mobile devices.

  23. Lyn says:

    Oh dear, I loved this post Susie, but now I can see countless hours of internet browsing and hundreds/thousands of dollars expenditure in my future.
    I don’t know whether to go YAY, or howl at the moon.

  24. Olive says:

    OMG I really like this post, all webs are amazing and so chic. Looks tempting ^_^

  25. sheikh abrar says:

    The depth of your love to shopping can be seen by how greatly you have evaluated all the different fashion stores and the designs from clothing to handbags it’s just amazing,hope so you also like my e-shop http://www.tnkleathers.com

  26. Shopping is my life but I need not give in to my temptation now, yet.
    This post makes me salivate, really *sigh*

  27. There are some really lovely pieces shown, I just hope that you are right about them coming to the UK soon!

  28. mustownmore says:

    Fabulous post – just what the fashion industry needs to know about the consumer. I couldn’t agree with you more.
    And re: Christopher Kane – yes, why does he avoid the web? Not even a holding site to find stockists or make an enquiry. See also – Giles (which I would buy, if I could find it online anywhere other than the occasional piece on farfetch.com).

  29. If only more fashion houses thought the AUSTRALIAN market was just as important as the rest of the world :(
    Yes, we’re further away, but we still love fashion too!

  30. welovefur says:

    I love your style
    Your blog is amazing!!!!
    I’m your follower take a look at my blog http://www.welovefur.blogspot.com
    with love

  31. Kylie says:

    I was thinking the same thing a few days ago. I hate flash on an e-commerce site for a start and I can’t even get into Givenchy. I worked in e-commerce for fashion sites (mainly high-street) and I am curious why high street retailers have a higher priory over their websites than high end?! I do like Mui Mui’s site, I found it very easy to navigate and products very appealing from the layout.
    Maybe designers will get with the times soon and realise that a website is very important.
    http://memoirmode.com

  32. Kirsty says:

    Hey Susie, really interesting post, I agree with what you’ve said about practically all the websites, especially Vivienne Westwood’s. The official branded shop is rubbish, but I always use Hervia for buying anthing of Viv’s online
    http://www.hervia.com/
    Kirsty (FORTY FOUR SUNSETS)

  33. mat says:

    really enjoyed this post, from a design point of view

  34. Bianca says:

    Girl you are converting me into liking Miu Miu! I always thought they were ok before, but after reading this post and seeing all the luscious things that they make/sell… I’m now a converted Miu Miu fan!

  35. Penter says:

    Thanks for the information!!! Love the post!

  36. Penter says:

    Interesting post and thanks for the analysis.
    Some of my thought.
    Miu Miu: Really nice and buyer oriented. The filter function makes it the king!
    Reed Krakoff: Love the big look, but the flash-based structure is killing the site….
    LANVIN: old fashioned layout, lack of scrolling which is not user friendly, like the “model” post though
    A Wang: The site is perfectly integrate with the eshop, whick simplify the shopping experience
    BP: Totally agree with you, fancy but not userfriendly.
    MJ: The fonts are kinda small for me, but not bad.
    McQueen: Love the site, especially with the look and item view.
    Anyway, thanks for the post!

  37. Julie H says:

    Thank you for a thoughtful post. Will re-read again!

  38. Christine says:

    Thank you for this extensive and interesting post. I think the miumiu site is an ideal e-shop. This has been really helpful for my ongoing work. Christine

  39. SNap says:

    it just awesome designs love to bookmark :)

  40. Bronwyn says:

    You’re brilliant :-)

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