Net-a-Porter promises same day delivery service for UAE next year

Alison Loehnis. (Photo courtesy: Net-a-Porter)
Updated 14 May 2018
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Net-a-Porter promises same day delivery service for UAE next year

DUBAI: Alison Loehnis, president of the world’s leading fashion e-commerce platforms, Net-a-Porter and Mr.Porter, delivered a keynote speech at last week’s Arab Luxury World in Dubai, revealing some of the company’s plans for, and insights into, the Middle East.

To better serve the UAE’s fashionistas, Loehnis announced, the company will launch its classy same-day delivery service (first launched in London) in Dubai next year.

She also broke out some interesting facts about how men and women shop for fashion: “A woman’s going on vacation. She opens up her closet and what does she see? Nothing,” Loehnis said. “Nothing at all. So she goes shopping because she wants things and she has nothing.

“Men open their closet and they see blue shirts. So what do they go looking for when they go shopping? More blue shirts,” she continued. “Women shop for what they don’t have. Men shop for what they already own.”

She allowed this was a “sweeping generalization,” but said it was backed up by her platforms’ data.

The Middle East, she revealed, is a crucial market for both the women’s platform, Net-a-Porter, and the men’s. The Gulf market, she said, is full of early adopters who are constantly on the lookout for new styles. It’s also one of the company’s biggest markets for what it calls “EIPs” (Extremely Important People) — its most engaged and discerning customers. Globally, EIPs represent around three percent of the company’s customer base and 40 percent of its revenue. In the Middle East, 12 percent of customers are EIPs.

“Our GCC customer is slightly younger than our average customer, and spends more than twice that of our average customer,” she said, adding that the top brands for regional consumers — both male and female — include Fendi, Chloé, Oscar de la Renta, Gucci, Loro Piana, and Tom Ford.

GCC women, she explained, like to get dressed up. But they do so in different ways from country to country. “Emirati women love dresses, they love Oscar and Gucci. In Kuwait, they’re a little more trend-driven, and they love embellishment. In Saudi, they love glamor, and — in particular — jewelry; yellow gold and diamonds.”


Gulf-inspired Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

Updated 22 May 2018
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Gulf-inspired Chip Wickham ushers in winds of change on the jazz scene

  • “Shamal Wind” takes its name from the Arabic Gulf’s primal weather patterns, and there’s a distinctly meditative, Middle Eastern vibe to the title track
  • There’s rather less goatee-stroking to be found across the four further up-tempo cuts, which swap soul-searching for soul-jazz, soaked in the breezy bop of a vintage Blue Note release

PARIS: The hotly hyped “British jazz invasion” has been the toast of international scenesters for some months now, with breathy adjective-heavy sprawls penned on both sides of the Atlantic paying tribute to a fresh generation of musos who grew up not in the conservatoires but the clubs, channelling the grit and groove of grime into a distinctly hip, 21st century strain of freewheeling, DIY improvised music.

Now the Arab world has its own outpost in the form of Chip Wickham, a UK-born flautist, saxophonist and producer whose second album grew out of extended stints teaching in the GCC. “Shamal Wind” takes its name from the Arabic Gulf’s primal weather patterns, and there’s a distinctly meditative, Middle Eastern vibe to the title track, a slow-burning, moody vamp, peppered with percussive trills, with hints of Yusef Lateef to be found in Wickham’s wandering woodwind musings.  A similar spirituality drifts over “The Mirage,” another probing eight-minute dirge, featuring rising trumpet star Matthew Halsall, which sways with the languid trot of a camel crossing a desert plain.

There’s rather less goatee-stroking to be found across the four further up-tempo cuts, which swap soul-searching for soul-jazz, soaked in the breezy bop of a vintage Blue Note release. Recorded over a hot summer in Madrid, a heady Latin pulse drives first single, “Barrio 71” — championed by the likes of Craig Charles — with Spanish multi-percussionist David el Indio steaming up a block party beat framing Wickham’s gutsy workout on baritone sax.

Having previously worked with electronic acts, including Nightmares on Wax and Jimpster – and been remixed by US producers Andrés Carlos and Niño – one imagines the dancefloor was a key stimulus behind Wickham’s rhythmically dense, but harmonically spare compositional approach. Phil Wilkinson’s sheer, thumped piano chords drive the relentless nod of second single “Snake Eyes,” Wickham’s raspy flute floating somewhere overhead, readymade to be skimmed off for the anticipated remix market.

In truth, Manchester-raised Wickham is both too thoughtful, and too thoughtless, to truly belong to the London-brewed jazz invasion — Shamal Wind yo-yos between meditative meandering and soulful strutting with a wilful disrespect for trend.