S he's the powerplayer behind the scenes at Net-a-Porter and the undeniable force with a fierce fashion vision: Meet Vice President of Global Buying, Sarah Rutson. In 2011, Rutson was listed as one of the 15 Global Most Influential People in Fashion by Le Monde newspaper. Then in 2012 she was named one of the 25 Most Powerful People in Fashion by The Sunday Telegraph. Now Rutson is Buro 24/7 Middle East's muse of the moment as we talk to her exclusively about the shoe for 2016, what designers to buy now and how the Middle Eastern market is changing...
Welcome to Dubai, what's your opinion on the fashion market in the Middle East?
The Middle Eastern customer is a woman that truly enjoys fashion. She's polished, considered and puts time into her wardrobe choices.
Net-a-Porter has a strong Arab customer base, what is the websites key to success with attracting online shoppers from our region?
We understand this customer and cater to her needs. We also have people in our buying and personal shopping teams who have lived in the region and have specialist knowledge. We work hard to offer an incredible, curated edit of the brands she wants to buy, whilst also offering newness. She is becoming an adventurous customer, and is very fashion savvy. We know that above all she wants great choice, as some of the own-brand stores in the region are not always be able to carry the breadth of styles and sizes to suit the diverse customer base.
One thing we've seen from the region of late is a real desire to shop from emerging designers, not just the big power players.
As one of the most influential people in the fashion world, how do you see your position within that?
NET-A-PORTER is a big believer in mentoring the next wave of designers. It is important to help nurture and provide them with help to guide them in the business of fashion as well as product architecture.
What's one thing people don't know about you?
I rescue animals. I love them.
What's been one of biggest coup for you in your career to date?
There have been some fantastic moments in my career but I always believe it takes a team and lot of inclusionary work to pull off the coup in the first place. I have a very hard working and talented team at NET-A-PORTER.
Top three tips for buying online...
1. Read all the great advice on sizing and fit that is given on NET-A-PORTER. It will really help you make the right choices.
2. Look at the 'ways-to-wear': we offer three different styling choices so you can get an idea of how versatile a piece is.
3. Don't be disheartened if an item is sold out. Put it in your Wish List and you will be notified if it comes back in stock. We receive lots of deliveries throughout the season, so it may well become available.
What are three items you always travel with and why?
My Jennifer Meyer 'Eliza' necklace to keep my daughter Eliza close to me always. I keep a picture of my family in a frame by the side of my bed wherever I am in the world. The Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial Supplement is a life-saver, keeping my skin hydrated with all the flying I do and the air conditioned hotel rooms I find myself in.
What are the top five brands to watch in 2016 and why?
Jacquemus is so talented. When you buy the brand, you get so much design for the money you're spending. Plus, he is just so cool without trying. Monse are a young duo who were with Oscar de la Renta for many years and really know about quality and fit. Their modern dialogue on dressing a woman today is really refreshing; they do fantastic modern evening wear. Vetements is another brand to mention. All eyes are on the man behind the brand, Demna Gvasalia, as he heads to Balenciaga. For the real fashion-forward cool girl, this has been a go-to brand for statement items. Goen J is a Korean brand to look to for the season's modern architectural ruffles trend. Finally, Ronald van der Kemp, the Dutch demi haute couture designer who is launching his first line exclusively with NET-A-PORTER. He's been a favourite with the likes of Kate Moss and Lara Stone to name just a few.
What are the next big fashion trends for 2016 .
Maximilism is the biggest story of the season, and it's really been driven by Gucci. We love the aesthetic that Allesandro has created of the eclectic, eccentric fashion magpie. Off-the-shoulder and shoulder cut outs are big trends — we saw this everywhere on the SS16 runway. The reworked shirt is another item to invest in. It's a wardrobe staple that's been updated and made special for the runway. It was a big season for ruffles, both romantic and architectural. At NET-A-PORTER, we're viewing this trend almost as the season's take on embellishment.
If you want to invest in a shoe for SS16, it's got to be a flat, slide on —almost like a slipper.
What's next for Net-a-Porter?
We are always moving forward and looking at new ways in which to excite our customer. We are already working on exclusive capsules with designers a year in advance to their launch. We are constantly thinking ahead and anticipating what our customer wants. A big part of this is newness: introducing women to exciting young brands. It's also about maintaining the best edit of the big powers players, as well as creating something special that our customer can only find at NET-A-PORTER.