It was one of the most baffling moments in my life. First of all, I’m not entirely sure how I ended up on stage along with fashion journalism luminary Suzy Menkes, facing every single communication and PR executive in the Richemont Group, owner of watch brands such as Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, A. Lange & Sohne, Panerai, IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Ostensibly, I was there to explain what I thought were some of the more significant evolutions in the way watch brands could reach new demographics. But at some point, I had to stop and ask a question of the audience gathered before me.
Clearing my throat, I said, “Look, in 2010, Richemont Group acquired Net-a-Porter, which has been the single biggest engine of change in luxury retail since the last century. Net-a-Porter has demonstrated that consumers are willing to buy high-dollar luxury goods in an editorially rich environment with a well-curated offer on the Internet. Beyond that, this website has created an ease of transaction and a return policy that in many ways makes e-retail more practical and pleasant than brick-and-mortar experiences.