Lauren Sanchez, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Anna Wintour attends the Tom Ford AW20 Show at Milk Studios on February 07, 2020 in Hollywood, California.Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Amazon is partnering with fashion house Oscar de la Renta to launch the first of its online, invitation-only "Luxury Stores." The initiative, which will announce additional partnerships in the coming weeks and months, will have powerful fashion brands design custom stores within Amazon's marketplace.
The Oscar de la Renta store touts 360-viewing capabilities, allowing shoppers to see every detail of a garment before purchasing, and access to Oscar de la Renta's Fall/Winter 2020 collection, which currently is only available on the designer's boutiques and website, according to an Amazon press release.
But while anyone can visit a boutique or Oscar de la Renta's website, the Amazon luxury store has an added layer of exclusivity. Amazon is only sending out invitations to "eligible Prime members," the company says. While Prime members can request access to the store online, Amazon declined to reveal how long they will spend on the wait list, or how many people have already been admitted.
Tuesday's announcement is a big step for the online retailer, which has long sought to tap into the $300 billion global luxury market, and has made previous forays into the fashion industry. Since Christine Beauchamp was hired as Amazon's head of fashion, the online retail giant has also created Prime Wardrobe, a "try before you buy" feature on Prime, and briefly offered the Echo Look, a smart camera that provided fashion device (the Echo Look was discontinued in July, according to the Verge.)
The move comes at a time when brick-and-mortar is going out of fashion. In June, Valentino sued to terminate its lease on its boutique on Fifth Avenue in New York City, according to The Wall Street Journal. And in August, Lord & Taylor declared bankruptcy and said it was shuttering its stores after 194 years in business.
A partnership with Amazon, whose sales increased by 40% in the second quarter, could be a saving grace for brands looking to beef up their e-commerce offerings amid COVID-19's negative impact on shopping. In May, Amazon also teamed up with Vogue to create a storefront for high-end designers like Derek Lam and Tabitha Simmons, with the stated goal of using online sales to help independent designers stay afloat.
For existing Prime members, here's how to request access to Amazon's Oscar de la Renta Luxury Store on your smartphone or computer:
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