SAN FRANCISCO (04/17/2000) - When CondeNet launches its fashion destination Style.com this July, it will - like prissy fashionistas offline - arrive late.
Nearly six months after CondeNet, an Internet arm of Advance Publications (owners of Conde Nast) unveiled Vogue.com, it is finally completing its online women's fashion portal. To do so, it had to pay an undisclosed amount to clothing retailer The Limited for the Internet address.
The Style.com announcement this week comes years after CondeNet's launches of other interest-based sites such as Epicurious for food aficionados, PHYS for the health-minded, and Swoon, a guide to love and dating. The launch would be one of the slow-moving company's most ambitious steps onto the Net.
Style.com director Joan Feeney says that considering the dearth of top-notch fashion content available on the Web, Style.com will become the arbiter of fashion and style online, as the company's other properties are offline. "I do not believe anyone has really offered the kind of variety, fashion forward, in-store-now, highly desired upscale fashion that would test whether people would buy it or not," Feeney says.
Conde Nast took its time bringing its premier fashion pubs online, because the technology to present high-quality photos and other services was not available back in 1994, when CondeNet was conceived. Beginning with Vogue.com, which debuted during New York's fashion week last year, the company has been quietly moving toward delivering what the world has expected from it since the mid-'90s.
Feeney, a founder of CondeNet, says Style.com will be modeled after the other sites by carrying original content from the editors and writers of Conde Nast publications mixed with material created by a separate online staff. The company says it plans to develop mini-sites for each of its women's magazines, including Mademoiselle, Glamour and Allure. Each of these mini-sites would include original content and be linked to Style.com.
Style.com would also include content from Fairchild Publications' women's consumer-related fashion publications including W and Jane, confirming industry speculation. Advance Publications bought Fairchild from Walt Disney last summer to bolster its position in fashion media. (As part of that deal, Disney also holds certain rights to run content generated by Fairchild's online ventures.) Fashion industry trade Women's Wear Daily, the crown jewel of Fairchild's publishing empire, however, will not be a part of the new site. Feeney says Style.com will target consumers exclusively. WWD, as it is commonly known in the industry, will remain outside of Style.com's purview. WWD is planning an overhaul of its site, according to a pop-up message.