Monday, 21 February 2011

My thoughts on Mr Porter, the new kid on the block

mr porter, february 2011 /

you must be living on planet mars if you have not heard about this new stylish chap called mr porter moving into the neighbourhood. even though he moved in quietly last friday evening, it created an instant buzz on twittersphere. many collapsed with excitement and some neighbours certainly raised a wary eyebrow. in the golden words of "girls aloud", what will the neighbours say?

having had the full weekend to hang out with mr porter, i thought i'll jot down my first impression, and if the neighbours really should be concerned about this new kid on the block.

ben gorham for mr porter /

ok back to slightly more serious speak. most of the online stores i know of are primarily brick and mortar stores with an online element attached. mr porter appeared to be an online magazine, with an e-store that comes with it. and it is hardly surprising, as former editor-in-chief of esquire uk, mr jeremy langmead, is now editing the online content of mr porter.

the content is very sleek: nice glossy photographs which you can look at longingly for days. specially commissioned font inspired by francis bacon's handwriting provided a nice personal and elegant touch. my favourite section is "the portfolio", where eight gentlemen were styled and profiled. these are not your regular campaign models pin-ups, but no less inspiring. similar to what dunhill did for their spring summer 2011 campaign, "the portfolio" featured real men who all made achievements in their own fields.

as a (relatively) young finance professional with no kids, not much burden and enjoy the finer things in life, i would like to think i am one of their target consumers. the content definitely appealed to me. reading about these real life heroes made me want to better myself, and (secretly) hope perhaps one day i will be good enough to be on there too. that's the inspirational element. and for the FT reading jet setting crowd, the content is laidback and not too unfamiliar.

mr porter editorial february 2011 /

and when i said "not too unfamiliar": the content and illustration at times reminded me of esquire magazine. oh wait, esquire did a similar feature too, but that was 2007.

anyway, based on the whole look and set up, i would think men who shop at mr porter are those in the upper crust of their professions, men who value both style and substance, men who prefer style over fashion. and as such, the merchandise selection is relatively safe. classic cashmere cardigans, slim leg chinos, evergreen moccasins etc. but that's the target audience they are going for.

if one wants edgy, they would perhaps have gone to oki-ni or ln-cc. the 18 to 24s university going, festival loving young lads would probably visit asos and topman. those who are in their early days of their careers perhaps shop at my-wardrobe. those who are into fashion forward pieces perhaps go to luisa via roma. those who appreciate french chic and a nice selection of emerging designers might visit studiohomme. so i can see why there's such a huge excitement on mr porter's arrival: because there exist this void in the upper realms and digital magazine arena, and mr porter is here to fill it.

and with mr porter here to fill that void in my life, here is my little wishlist selection to make a complete outfit:

BALENCIAGA leather trim raincoat 2. JOHN SMEDLEY striped crew neck sweater 3. GUCCI leather woven holdall 4. JOHN LOBB calf leather oxfords 5. DUNHILL reversible leather belt 6. BALMAIN skinny biker jeans 7. PANTHERELLA grey ribbed cotton socks 8. SWAINE ADENEY BRIGG curved handle umbrella

seriously, anyone with spare change of £6,934? by the way, the bag above takes up half the total budget. if you are thinking of getting me numbers 1 to 8 but leaving out number 3, i can totally understand. totally.

now, should other online retailers be afraid and very afraid? on one hand, they should. there's considerable investment from richemont group, one of the largest luxury conglomerates around. mr porter was able to leverage from the expertise and infrastructure from net-a-porter, which gave them a formidable head start. but with all businesses, it's about knowing your client base. most of the established online retailers appear to cater to different crowds anyway. so product differentiation, and how the content appeals to the target audience will be key.

do i find it exciting? oh yes. will i shop there? definitely. now if you will excuse me i have a date tonight and i need to go pick that shirt by 10am so they can deliver by 5pm on the same day. only cost an extra £1.50, charming neighbour isn't he, this mr porter. now open to previously registered members, opens to public on tuesday 22 feb 2011.


  1. Great review!

    ALL of the stock is way out of my budget but I think they've blended editorial and retail v. well.


  2. Think that most of the net-a-porter clients will shop there for their husband :D

  3. Have fun on your date ;-)

  4. well i won't be shopping there as it's way out my budget but i will sure be using it as a magazine. been browsing the icons/tips sections and the videos, they're all great

  5. Did you find that the selection was very... uninspiring so far? It's still in its early days and they're probably waiting to add more stock to their site, but from what I've seen so far, it's a tiny bit... boring, if I must.

    Enjoy your new purchase!!!


  6. I guess it make sense to have Mr Porter since net-a-porter was such a success with the ladies. To be honest, I reckon there's gonna be another dot com bubble coming up with Twitter being valued at what it is.

    However it will be interesting to see the buying pattern for their target market. My experience in London, men enjoy shopping and they don't seem to shop as often or as much as women (like need a new dress for this party kinda thing rather a new tie or shirt). So they might physically go to the stores and get assisted in the shops and get to feel, try and touch the products.

    Although I can afford what they are selling there, I am personally not sure I will buy from them.
    1) is not like they are cheaper than say Harvey Nics or Selfridges.
    2) Is like going to Joseph, Liberty, Matches or Browns - all kinda within each other as you know
    3) Being a guy I need to try things on, e.g I tried the above Balmain jeans on at Harvey Nics, and I have to say they look a little ridiculous on me and they were half price and I still can't convince myself in buying them - I will stick with Dior Homme.
    4) I work 70-80 hrs a week. When I have free time, I rather go out and about (sometime shopping) than sitting infront of the computer shopping!

  7. I was a previously registered member and I have done my fair share of peeking around Mr. Porter,and for the most part I like it!(I don't like the fact that they dont carry Givenchy, tho!!!)

  8. Great post, and I think they did a very good job on style tips and stuff, yet can't really like the site... I mean, besides the high prices, it's always the same stuff we find on LuisaViaRoma or Matches... I don't really see much innovation.

  9. I checked out the site and loved it

  10. It's all come to down to personal style and preferences, as of this moment i'm a bit disappointed because the lack of options they have both style and color-wise (Shoes and Shirts), which i so hope is premature due the age of this site. If they aimed this website for the upper crust well maybe it's the "stiffer" kind of upper crust.
    When you knew the whole world held their breath for you to come, don't you think you should give them a reason to wish it's their birthday or christmas again by bringing lots more of less-boring merchandise??
    For now i'm sticking by Matches, Oki-ni, and Studiohomme, but i'm still holding my breath for mrporter.... :)

  11. it i defiently nicely done, I was surprised of the buy, not always for the younger gent...


what's he wearing?