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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for over a year. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his brand new column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.
Dear Mr. Porter,
We've been following you since even before you even opened your proverbial internet doors just over a month ago—waiting with bated breath to finally see just what the boy version of Net-a-Porter had in store for us and our closets. We expected a who's who of designer everything; all the stuff we could never find in real life plus all the stuff that less insane people actually buy. We expected names.
And, while there are plenty of names, we have to admit: We're a little disappointed.
Obviously, you guys are brand new. And the site looks great—understated and stylish, accessible, expensive. The lay-outs are great; the writing is great; the editorial is—well, it seems a little unnecessary—but it's great. The listings (sorry, the Style Council Address Book) are a little strange, we're not sure why anyone needs to know which Indonesian and Finnish tailors and cocktail bars a bunch of reportedly stylish but not necessarily notorious CEOs, entrepreneurs and futurists frequent when traveling through Indonesia and Finland. But, we digress ?
Our gripe: The roster of designers. We get the whole, like, tailoring-heritage-bespoke-classic everything with the historic shirtmakers and the royalty-approved handmade umbrellas and whatever—it's a total thing right now. And, yes, it's manlier than going straight up Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! But what about the Fashion! Fashion! Fashion!? Net-a-Porter is Fashion! Fashion! Fashion! You can buy almost anything on Net-a-Porter—from we-saw-it-at-Bloomingdale's denim to the kind of stuff that, short of the internet, you'd need to fly to Paris or Berlin or Tokyo to get your hands on.
Your wares, Mr. Porter, well, we saw it all at Bloomingdale's. If anyone wanting Rag & Bone or Burberry or Band of Outsiders or Paul Smith or Ralph Lauren (absolutely no offense to Burberry, Paul Smith or Ralph Lauren) is having trouble locating places to purchase garments by said labels—well, they're not even trying. How about every better (or not-better) department store, any decent boutique or a whole slew of stand-alone brand-dedicated flagships—not to mention the whole entire internet. Seriously, Ralph Lauren's website alone is practically a black hole.
Meanwhile, where are all the buzzed about young designers that everybody's always talking about? The ones who might have managed to secure a half of a rack in a Los Angeles Barneys or New York City Saks but otherwise are nearly impossible to track down, on-line or anywhere. Then, when you do finally find something you're left with one extra-small and one extra-large and the little one is in a crappy colorway and the big guy is missing a button and they're both still full price.
We're alluding to, say, Tim Hamilton or Carlos Campos or J.Sabatino or N.Hoolywood or Antonio Azzuolo or Robert Geller or Buckler. Further, what about every single nominee in GQ's Best New Menswear Designers in America competition for two years running: T by Alexander Wang, Patrik Ervell, Miller's Oath, Warriors of Radness, Riviera Club, Gant by Michael Bastian (not to mention Gant and Michael Bastian), Billy Reid, Richard Chai, Unis, Caulfield Preparatory and Burkman Bros.?
Oh wait, sorry, one little-known nominee from last year's competition—some brand called J.Crew?—oh, well, Mr. Porter will be stocking their stuff soon. Because J.Crew isn't in every other mall in America and doesn't have, like, the rockingest website out there. Right.
And other than J.Crew, there are no other listed coming soon collections. And that's a bummer.
So, that's all. We just wanted to point out what we think are some missed opportunities.
(Here are a few more, for the road: Neil Barrett, Moschino, Watanabe, Phillip Lim, Black Fleece, Club Monaco, L.L.Bean Signature, Raf Simons, Ernest Alexander, Duckie Brown, Alexander Olch—we could go on and on ?).
We'll obviously still be watching. And probably shopping.
Best of luck!
· Love, Frank [RNA]