The fashion e-tailer known for its casual festival attire and Instagram-friendly backdrops in warm-weather locales arrived in the Big Apple amid the first formal in-person New York Fashion Week since pre-pandemic times.
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“This is kind of like the first step forward,” Revolve cofounder and co-chief executive officer Michael Mente told WWD during Thursday evening’s Revolve Gallery presentation in Manhattan. “Being here for fashion week, yesterday with a big show at Bryant Park, and also with this art installation, presentation, it’s a big push. This is an expansion of the brand in an incremental way.
“I think a lot of people think about us as just Coachella, maybe like summer vacation, you know, that aspect,” he continued. “But to be here in New York at the beginning of fall, at the beginning of cold weather season, it’s very much like an anchor on the other side. Like Revolve for the city; also Revolve in the winter and the fall. It’s not all fun and sun. And that was really important for us [from a marketing perspective.]”
Summer threads aside, there were a few pre-pandemic elements that made their way into Thursday night’s event. Such as the lack of face masks and the Hudson Yards venue that seemed tailor made for social media.
The 17,000-square-foot space was sectioned off into 13 rooms (one for each brand or designer), creating an interactive event where live models posed for photos and answered questions about the brands on display under strobe lights, disco balls, video screens, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and makeshift scenic gardens. All the while music blasted from speakers inside the walls and servers passed out mini bottles of Moët.
“This is all temporary,” Mente said. “But it looks like a museum or a true art gallery exhibition; it looks like it’s here forever.”
Revolve’s pre-pandemic ability to pull together star-studded events was also completely on brand. Thursday’s celebrity and influencer-heavy guest list included Kylie Jenner; Megan Fox; Paris and Nicky Hilton; top models Emily Ratajkowski, Barbara Palvin, Irina Shayk, Elsa Hosk and Shanina Shaik; reality star and model Amelia Hamlin; fashion designers and influencers Peter Dundas, Camila Coelho and Caroline Vreeland, and model Lais Ribeiro with fiancé and professional basketball player Joakim Noah, among others, who chatted with Revolve’s executive team as they created content for various social channels.
“It was truly magical seeing our exclusive Revolve fall collection come to life and creating our very own LoveShackFancy world for everyone to experience at the Gallery,” said Rebecca Hessel Cohen, founder of LoveShackFancy, who stopped by to see an assortment of LoveShackFancy frocks on display, such as a floor-length watermelon-colored gown and models staged in front of oversized floral arrangements under soft pink lights.
Other brands included House of Harlow 1960, For Love & Lemons, Set Active, Bronx And Banco, and Hims & Hers. In addition, consumers could purchase pieces from the Gallery in a shopping area at the end.
Revolve Gallery, which extends through Saturday, along with Wednesday’s Revolve fashion show — a joint partnership and collection with fashion designer Peter Dundas — also marks the retailer’s first time participating in New York Fashion Week.
Mente said shoppers and fashionistas alike can look forward to more from Revolve, including pop-ups, outside of its sunny Los Angeles base.
“You can definitely expect to see us on the East Coast more,” he said. “This is a platform and a program that is designed to be scalable. And I think this is going to be global. It’s the type of thing we can do in different ways, which frees us up. It gives us the chance to really manufacture moments that let us be part of the global culture.
“And another part of our business that is quietly super strong is that we have a lot of diversity and strength internationally,” Mente continued. “So we really have the opportunity to play all around the world: Shanghai, Asia, maybe Australia, whatever.”
But the company’s rebranding efforts go beyond seasonality and location logistics. The brand is also hoping to snag some luxury shoppers.
Revolve, which was founded in 2003, went public in June 2019. Luxury platform FWRD was launched five months later and has grown triple digits in the last year, even amid the pandemic, said Michael Karanikolas, Revolve’s other cofounder and co-CEO .
“We just think, people didn’t really know about [FWRD] before the pandemic,” Karanikolas said. “It’s finally getting out there, getting more well known. And it has all the same great vibes [of existing brands on Revolve], but we also obviously have more product and elevated brands.”
“We view it very much as the same customer with adjacent shopping experiences,” said Mente, who added that the luxury division has been strong over the last year. “We know that if she’s going to spend $300, $400 on a coat, or $200, $300 on a dress, we know that she’s going to spend $1,500, $2,000 on a handbag. It’s a guarantee. It’s kind of like our digital, virtual way of going to different department stores.”
It also helps that Kendall Jenner was named creative director of Revolve FWRD earlier this month, helping further elevate the platform. Jenner has been tasked with curating the assortment and monthly edits of must-have trends, marketing, brand partnerships, activations and determining the look and feel of the luxury platform as Revolve as a whole continues to scale digitally.
“Stores as a concept of clothes on racks is probably not the way we would approach things,” Mente said. “I think you could call this [pop-up] a store if you wanted to call it a store. You can see beautiful clothes that you want to purchase and purchase them. You don’t necessarily leave here with it. But at the end of the day you’re engaging with us in a modern way. I don’t think the model of four walls with racks and clothes on them is going to be our approach. But I think in-person ways to experience the brand is definitely our approach.”