Did you hear? The overhyped ShopVogue.tv site is now live. The New York Times reports it's a great "added value" for advertisers, and allows readers to get insidery, behind-the-scenes info. Fashionista claims it might be more fun than actual Vogue. Two of us checked it out: One cynic and one enthusiast. The reviews? Not what you'd think!
Dodai (the cynic): I log on not really knowing what to think. I expected it to be slick, and it is — everything looks great, loads quickly, the graphics and fonts are pretty. The choices you're faced with are "Shop," "Watch" and "Share." They've got videos of collections: Carolina Herrera, Versace, YSL and more — sparkling electro beats and models strutting on a runway — fashion at one of its purest forms. While viewing a behind-the-scenes piece of the Chloé ad campaign shoot, I wonder about the price of the graphic dress Shalom Harlow is wearing, so I click "shop the ads" and discover that the dress is $2425. I stop watching the video.
Next, servicey stuff: "60 Seconds To Chic." A makeup artist shows how he creates a natural look and a glamorous look. A stylist named Jen Rade shows how a Mary-Jane can take a summer dress from Summer into Fall. "That shoe is cute," I think, and click on the adjacent ad, discovering that the shoe is affordable at $140! Swept up in the easy, "See. Want." mentality of the site, I suddenly decide that I'll buy the shoes. But when I submit my zip code (downtown Manhattan) I get a message: "Sorry, we couldn't find any stores." WTF. Shoe-blocked! (Later I went back and found the link to the online shopping site, but the thrill was gone.) Moving on: "TrendWatch" has a video about Phillip Lim's new store, snooze. I skip to fall accessories: Ooh, environmentally-friendly reusable grocery bags! Wait, no click and buy option? Grrr. I jump over to "Share." Here's where you're encouraged to "share your style" and submit a photo. How democratic! Is this really Vogue? I try submitting a shot of my friend Richard's cool shoes and socks, then discover I have to wait and see if my shot is approved. Ah, so it is Vogue, after all. Final verdict? Love the immediate gratification; hate the postponed acceptance. It's designed for a fashion junkie with a short attention span and a large pocketbook. But if you love fashion — actual fashion, not just styled celebrities — looking at clothes and accessories and wondering if you can afford them — this site delivers, and it's kind of fun.
Jennifer (the enthusiast): I'm confused. I spent a solid hour trolling the site and still have no idea what the fuck it is. I thought it was supposed to somehow facilitate — through the magic of Web 2.0! — being able to interactively shop the pages of Vogue. Either I am stupid, or this is untrue. "Shop", one would think, should be the most significant category. But in reality, it seems to merely display the ads for many brands (the label the Devil supposedly wore is noticeably absent. Pringle of Scotland in but Prada out? Huh?). Soon enough, I tire of looking at objects I can neither afford nor buy impulsively if I want to. So I try some "Watch"-ing. I see the Chloé ads get shot (and hear Shalom Harlow get called "bourgeois" by the Chloé designer), learn three Maybelline make-up looks in 60 seconds (all of which seemed to consist of "pencil your brows, put on Maybelline mascara, apply Maybelline lip gloss), and watch about half of a Vera Wang runway show before I start to feel like the NY Times' Cathy Horyn. And still I wonder what the fuck any of this has to do with shopping my way through Vogue — and why this wasn't just loaded as new, much needed, content on Style.com, the official website of Vogue(and its other Condé Nast sisters). Hell, at this point I would be grateful for even a Lucky-esque shopping tour of one given city street! Finally I turn my gaze to "Share." Some chick has uploaded pictures of herself riding camels? I give up. Bored, confused, and still hankering for the "shopping" of titled promise, I realize it's time for me and ShopVogue.tv to break up.