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Marc Jacobs and Lanvin launch jazzy new e-commerce sites

September 24, 2010 | 12:19 pm

It's taken the designer fashion world a minute to figure out how to cut out the middle man (retailers) by selling their products directly to customers on their own websites. Without compromising any precious cachet, that is.

But with the launch of souped-up websites from both Lanvin and Marc Jacobs this week, it's game-on for e-commerce in the high-fashion sphere.

Marc Jacobs' new site, which was created by digital commerce agency Createthe Group, features video game-style interaction.

Plug in the URL and you're greeted by a friendly, tattooed avatar beckoning you to come inside a virtual store. Once inside, you can roll over items on the shelves to get product names and prices, or choose from a menu of collections: Little Marc (kids), Marc by Marc Jacobs and Marc Jacobs Collection. Inside each collection, more hipster salespeople take you into the different sections of the store to see the items.

All the bells and whistles make for a charming, user-friendly experience. But it's all pretty useless if the item you want isn't on the site; the company decided to feature a curated selection of items from each collection -- no doubt to keep certain things deliciously unattainable. Women's ready-to-wear, for instance, has a total of three items hanging from its virtual rack.

Lanvin's new site is miles more straightforward. And though here, too, the entire collection isn't represented, there's enough merch to make it feel like a real e-commerce site. Items are accessible by product category: gifts, new arrivals, women and men. Click on a category, and you're delivered to a familiar, product page.

But both sites deliver when it comes to extras, boasting newsy sections and current runway video. Lanvin's site also includes sketches from designer Alber Elbaz and video of him discussing the forthcoming H&M collection.

Under the "World of Marc Jacobs" tab on the Marc Jacobs site are videos of featured employees; travel photos chronicling the jaunts of Jacobs and business partner Robert Duffy; videos of runway shows dating back to 2008; and a video of the Marc Jacobs parade float that set sail during the Provincetown Carnival in Massachusetts last year.

-- Emili Vesilind

Illustrations: Sketches from Alber Elbaz on the Lanvin website. Credit: Lanvin