1. This week Pinterest has raised a $225m Series E round, valuing the company at a whopping $3.8 billion. For comparison, that’s a third of the size of Twitter, which is targeting a $10.9 billion IPO.
This has suddenly got a bunch of techbros to go "Oh! Perhaps women-oriented sites might actually be worth something." Especially ones with, you know, a clickthrough direct to retailers, that works across food, fashion, fitness, furniture and other fffabulous verticals. Pinterest is the biggest single driver of ecommerce sales out of all social media platforms.
I for one have just bought a flat, and I’m organising what’ll be a four figure furniture spend through Pinterest clipping and curation. (That and ELLE Decoration, oh my.) Will I actually end up making purchases by clicking through off Pinterest? Not necessarily - it’s first about inspiration, then identifying suppliers for items you like, then finally keeping ‘em all organised so you can compare and make a decision.
If I were marketing director at Made.com, or Dwell, or Nest, I would be selling my firstborn to get my products all over Pinterest - and my moodboards, and my catalogue photoshoots, and my behind-the-scenes.
In which case, it’s worth bearing Polyvore in mind. Polyvore is like a more creative Pinterest, where instead of “curating” boards through one-click reblogs, you actually spend a couple of hours designing a specific “set”. Top sets (such as this and this and this) look like magazine layouts, and aquire thousands of
To construct these layouts out of Polyvore’s fashion and image database, they’ve built first a “clipper” tool and secondly a very simple, easy to use but powerful image editor. This is a really nice set of tools that could doubtless have applications elsewhere.
Ultimately it’s probably always a smaller market that’ll want to put this level of effort in - as opposed to Pinterest’s ultra-low-friction model - and there are still some social dynamics Polyvore needs to refine. While top Polyvoristas gain millions of followers, it can be hard for newbies to get any attention - or indeed learn the visual and graphic sensibilities required to build popular sets. But with the same direct-to-retailer click-through as Pinterest, the same level of inspiration and fashion passion… I think it’s worth keeping an eye on Polyvore to see what happens.
2. While I have been away and not Tumbling, I have been thinking about clothes.
Following let us say a certain obsession with digital print, classic botanical and zoological illustration now provides a fresher feel. For a modern take, Louise Amstrup’s mesh-hemmed dress. Or Paul Smith’s romantic black-backed winter florals.
As you are doubtless aware, the 1990s are back. At an arty party last weekend (@JesseDarling’s #fuckfrieze), there were more bomber jackets than I could count. These aren’t the Rickson MA1 faithful reproductions that Gibson details so fetishistically in Pattern Recognition. Instead, a little brasher - the blue metallic puffa from Alpha Industries is just the right side of offensive.
ASOS’s 1991 dress, meanwhile, is simply fuck you. Being born in 1985, I don’t think I can get away with it - but with a new fierce haircut (planned for next month), we shall see.
Meanwhile, coloured brogues are the most useful shoes anyone can own, turning any old pair of jeans into an outfit. These neon ones from Grenson are stunning. (Also fatally made of suede, so they’ll last about 5 minutes. Ho hum.)
The Puma Disc Lite trainers are also brilliant, with layer over layer of translucent neon plastic that’s so OTT FUTURE!!!!1 that I am transported back to Cyberdog in 1998.
Finally, ASOS have made a pair of tights that come with a trompe l’oeil plasters-on-the-knees effect. Grungey, childish, slightly pervy and wrong - fucking brilliant.