Passion Points: Style
Every bona fide fashionista knows the dilemma: you see the dress-skirt-blouse-trouser of your dreams on the runway during the shows and then the piece disappears into fashion oblivion. If you’re lucky, you will spot it at a trunk show or in a select store many months later; if you’re unlucky, it won’t get picked up at all, be scrapped by the designer or given to a celebrity. Frustrated with this scenario and sensing a void in the high-end fashion shopping scene, two of New York’s most stylish women have launched Moda Operandi, the first virtual retailer whose members will be able to shop for couture just days after the pieces have made their way down the runway. (Click here to join.)
Just think of it as the ultimate online trunk show. “I kept hearing from designers that many of their favorite pieces aren’t ordered by traditional retailers and therefore don’t get produced,” says co-founder Aslaug Magnusdottir, the former head of merchandising for Gilt Noir. “At the same time, friends would tell me they loved a certain runway piece but couldn’t find it anywhere for sale.” She brought the online trunk show idea to her friend, Lauren Santo Domingo, a longtime contributor at Vogue, who immediately recognized the potential. “I thought the idea was brilliant from a customer’s perspective,” says Santo Domingo. “I made a few calls to designers and CEOs to gauge their thoughts and they had the same reaction.”
Members of Moda Operandi will have direct access to shop the complete runway collections of some fifty designers, including Chloe, Nina Ricci, Calvin Klein, Giambattista Valli, Carolina Herrera, Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler. A well-edited selection of jewelry, shoes, handbags and other accessories will also be available on the site, whose first sale—on February 16—coincides with the beginning of New York Fashion Week.
While there is no fee for joining Moda Operandi, the membership is strictly invitation-only and will be kept intimate during the first year. Moda Operandi is pleased to extend a special invitation to Indagare members (read about the invitation and join). Santo Domingo and Magnusdottir spoke to Indagare about their new venture, the designers they’re most excited to feature, and about their travel discoveries around the world.
When you first approached designers, what was the response?
LSD: The response has been phenomenal. We are usually not even half-way through our pitch when they ask where they can sign up. The younger designers, obviously, are more game to try out new concepts and are typically more receptive to new innovation.
Besides the runway fashion, what will Moda Operandi offer?
LSD: Accessories, jewelry, beauty, special collaborations and other things that are of interest to our members…travel, art, culture etc.
AM: We will offer a variety of ready-to-wear styles that are not featured at runway shows including pieces that are made exclusively for M.O.
Who will be invited to join and what kind of access will members get?
LSD: Membership will be invite only… a love of fashion and understanding of quality and craftsmanship is high on the list of requirements for membership.
AM: Our members will be able to shop the latest runway styles within days of the shows, purchase items that have been exclusively designed for M.O. and access unique and compelling editorial content.
Who are some designers whose work you most admire?
LSD: Proenza Schouler designers and Pheobe Philo for Chloe and now Celine. Completely by coincidence, I have ‘grown up’ with these designers and our styles seem to have evolved together.
AM: There are so many designers that I admire. I am constantly in awe of their ability to come up with new concepts and creations each season. Some of my favorites are Giambattista Valli, Riccardo Tisci, Matthew Williamson and Waris Ahluwalia of House of Waris.
What are some of your personal most prized fashion possessions?
LSD: The only thing I would take away from a burning house is my dog. Assuming my husband hasn’t already gotten him.
AM: My most prized pieces are those with sentimental value: vintage furs and jewelry that were given to me by my mother, grandmother and my husband’s family.
What was your latest bargain/splurge?
LSD: Nursery furniture!
AM: A greenish gray Isadora hat handmade at Worth & Worth on 57th Street
Whose style do you most admire?
LSD: Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Nan Kempner are my fashion icons.
AM: I admire women who can pull off a wide variety of different looks. Kate Moss is one of my all-time favorites.
What shows are you dying to see during New York Fashion Week?
LSD: Typically, I am backstage during fashion week. Proenza Schouler is the only show I consistently attend as a guest.
AM: Prabal Gurung is one of the emerging brands we will feature on the site in the first season, and his collection will be one of M.O.’s first trunk shows, so I’m looking forward to seeing his show.
What are your favorite travel destinations and why?
What are your favorite hotels and why?
LSD: I see hotels as necessary evil. No matter the level of luxury, I always prefer to be home. There isn’t a hotel in the world that can satisfy me.
AM: My favorite hotel is Hotel Budir, a small country hotel at the bottom of the Snaefells Glacier, on the west coast of Iceland. It is situated in one of the world’s most peaceful and magical places. Another favorite is the Tsala Treetop Lodge on South Africa’s Garden Route. The rooms are little cabins situated in treetops and every morning little mischievous monkeys try to break in to steal your breakfast.
What are your favorite shops abroad?
AM: I love discovering little shops that are unique to the country or region. Some of my favorite shopping experiences have been in little furniture stores in Morocco, souks in Qatar and Dubai, and at London’s Portobello Market.
Do you have a travel uniform?
LSD: I usually both over-schedule and over-pack.
AM: I have never been a sensible traveler. I generally wear six-inch heels and am incapable of doing carry-on.
Where do you dream of traveling next/will you travel next?
LSD: I have long been wanting to go to Macchu Picchu and Egypt. I am passionately obsessed with lost and ancient civilizations. But I do plan to wait just a little longer so that I can bring my son when he is at an age to enjoy it.
AM: There are two continents that I have not travelled to yet: Australia and Antarctica, and both are high on my list of places to see. In our kitchen, we have a beautiful photograph of penguins relaxing on an iceberg in Antarctica that my husband took when he traveled there during college. I would love to visit that same spot one day.
Search By Keyword
While it may lack some of the charm of jetset...
Like the French Riviera, Turkey’s southwester coast was “discovered” by...
New on Indagare
Give the Gift of Indagare The perfect present for travelers: a membership to Indagare. Buy now
Indagare Insider Trips: Cuba, Myanmar and India: We’re planning trips throughout the year. Contact Indagare (212-988-2611) to be added to the wait list.
- Community: Share advice with fellow members asking about your favorite travel discoveries.
- Indagare Insiders: Three-day itineraries for families in London and art lovers in Vienna. Plus, fashion insider Chiara Ferragamo’s picks on what not to miss in Florence, Bonnie Gokson, owner of Hong Kong’s lofty Sevva on Hong Kong, Culinary Insider: Budapest.
- Rant & Rave: Indagare members can share their advice with the community by logging in first, then clicking here: Rants & Raves.
- Give the Gift: Indagare: Give the gift of travel intelligence with a membership to Indagare. For details or to order, call us at 212-988-2611 or click here: Gift Membership.
- Indagare Plus: Remember that hotels marked by an Indagare Plus symbol offer preferential rates and benefits to members.
- Indagare Share Feature: Share articles, postcards and reviews with family and friends on such networking sites as Twitter, Facebook and Delicious. Simply click on the three small dots that symbolize our connect icon, at the end of every article, and follow the link to the networking site of your preference.
- Sample Indagare: With free bi-weekly email blasts on new hot spots and insider tips when you sign up for our mailing list.
- Profile feature: Members share your profiles, comments, favorite articles and IQs. Just click on the Profile tab on the upper right of your screen and look for the Edit My Profile blue tab.
- Indagare means to discover, explore, seek, scout in Latin.