Ready to dream about intelligent shopping?

This amalgamation of fashion content and commerce that I have been banging on about for a while (or ‘edvertorial’ as I think we now have to call it *gag*) is sprinting along at a fine pace. Newest to the ‘edvertorial space’* is Pret-A-Rever, a site that first appeared last year but has relaunched this week. Combining ‘intelligent editorial’ with affiliate shopping (linking to etail sites and collecting a commission on items sold), editor Lucy Norris plans to make the luxury retail experience more creative and culturally relevant.

Norris’s model incorporates trends but presents them ‘intelligently’ by putting them in context – where have they come from, where will they go next? By going deeper into trend analysis, the aim is to ensure investment shopping stays relevant for longer – fast fashion it most certainly ain’t. Menswear is represented alongside womenswear. “I adore the creativity within menswear,” says Norris. “It’s where the trends break first and I don’t think it sometimes gets enough credit, creatively.”

Coming from a background of luxury editorial and trend-forecasting, Norris has an eye for strong trends and merchandising. The Yves Klein blue story is particularly enticing, an informative trend analysis followed by catwalk images and finally leading me to a delicious Jil Sander parka that I could have bought there and then.

Interestingly, not all the items featured are shoppable. “I am a creative first, affiliate partner second,” says Norris. “so I’ll still feature an item, even if it’s only available offline.” While this is admirable, I suspect that in time the site will be fully affiliate-based. The site isn’t perfect – some elements are slightly clunky and part of the site is password-protected. These parts don’t link to affiliates as this is the commercial trend-forecasting division which is subscriber-only. Any feature pre-September 2010 is also password-protected which some users might find frustrating. But on the whole it’s a nicely designed site and is moving things in an interesting direction.

*OMG, shoot me now, I’m turning into one of those corporate-speak types