Zappos and André Leon Talley might seem like an entirely bizarre pairing: what would a former editor for Vogue be doing producing content for an Amazon.com-owned company best known for their self-proclaimed amazing customer service and free shipping? Making everyone a lot of money.
According to Women's Wear Daily, Talley will a. be producing editorial content b. specifically for Zappos Couture, the company's higher-end website in order to c. "become the destination in online luxury shopping," explains the company's head of couture Jennifer Sidary. Right now, the company sells mostly accessories and fragrances, but they're looking to expand and Talley's years in the business and numerous connections provide them that opportunity.
Yet despite that admission, Zappos still wants to make it seem as though the work he'll be doing for the company won't have anything to do with selling things. Zappos Couture's current editorial content is limited to a video series called The Trend, which is moving over to their regular site (though right now it's featured on both the Couture site and the Zappos site). When that video series was launched over two years ago with host Victoria Recaño, it was described as "a current, smart, pop culturally relevant show" featuring featuring A-List designers and celebrities "that appeals to the young, fashion-savvy, engaged viewers that live online."
Zappos has defined Talley's role in this one-year partnership as strictly editorial, but by doing so, they're putting themselves in a tricky situation. One executive wanted to make it clear to WWD that Talley is "not selling anything and he's not asking his friends to sell anything," yet they still admit that they want to reach out to more brands to (subtext) make more money.
In working with Zappos, Talley joins a roster of fashion celebrities who have made money in the divide between creating and selling product. Perhaps the most successful is Rachel Zoe, whose deal guest editing for Piperlime has likely made the company a mint; in one episode of her Bravo reality show, executives there discuss how her monthly guest editor picks always sell out. While Talley's history in the fashion landscape has been largely on the "journalism" side of things at Vogue, to pretend that the line between editorial and sales in fashion is clear at all is ignoring the entire industry's driving force: to make money from selling clothes.
Image via Jacopo Raule/Getty for Philipp Plein