Net-a-Porter Hosts New Designers in L.A.

Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for NET-A-PORTER
Sarah Rutson, Henrietta Rix, Orlagh McCloskey, Gilda Ambrosio, Maggie Marilyn, Magda Butrym, Georgia Alice, Pip Edwards, Claire Tregoning and Lisa Aiken attend Net-a-Porter New Designers Cocktail.

The luxury e-tailer turns its focus to discovery.

Maybe it’s the Instagram effect, but it’s not enough anymore for fashion retailers to just stock labels everyone already has heard of. Now, there’s a lot of cachet in wearing something nobody else has heard of — yet.

Hence the new focus on emerging designers at the 16-year-old luxury-fashion e-commerce shopping site Net-a-Porter.

Sarah Rutson, vp global buying, and Lisa Aiken, retail fashion director, brought some of their newest discoveries to Los Angeles this week and hosted a coming-out party for them in Beverly Hills Thursday night. The fete was attended by Rachel Zoe, Jaime King, Katie Nehra, Alana Hadid and other stylish ladies on the L.A. scene.

“We want to be the headquarters of discovery,” said Rutson, dressed in a ruby red sequin dress with an unfinished look by Magda Butrym, a Warsaw, Poland-based designer who was also at the party. “It’s super important that Net-a-Porter is supporting new designers and giving them a platform,” added Rutson, who has been known to sniff out new talent on Instagram. “The reality is, you want to walk into a room and say, ‘What is that? I haven’t seen that before.’ ”

Butrym, dressed in a cropped black jacket of her own design and high-waist jeans, was visiting Los Angeles for the first time. “I love it,” she said, noting the highlight of her trip was seeing Rodeo Drive, which played a key role in her favorite film, Pretty Woman. “Because of the movies, you feel like you’ve seen this place before.”

As for Butrym’s two-year-old label, she said, “We do a lot of crochet and hand embroideries, but I like to mix the two worlds of romantic and punk, so it’s also deconstructed with an edge.”

“No stone is left unturned, even in Warsaw,” joked Rutson of discovering the designer.

Another label represented at the coming-out party was Attico, the lingerie lifestyle brand by Milan-based street-style stars turned designers Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini, who are inspired by vintage peignoirs, having seen plenty of them in classic movies.

Ambrosio likes to come to L.A. to visit the vintage stores, particularly Golyester and The Way We Wore on La Brea, as well as the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

“There’s always inspiration from the 1940s,” said the designer, dressed in a leopard-print slip dress of her own design with a giant panther brooch pinned to the front, looking very Gloria Swanson.

Net-a-Porter was one of the year-old label’s first retail accounts. Slip dresses are Attico's best-seller. “Each style we do has a different feminine name,” she explained.

Maybe Gloria Swanson will be next?

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