DAME HELENA MORRISSEY
Celebrated philanthropist, businesswoman and gender-diversity activist Dame Helena Morrissey is based in London. She has been shopping with NET-A-PORTER since 2003.
When I first discovered NET-A-PORTER, it was a revelation. At the time, I was CEO of an investment firm with six children – so, to state the obvious, I didn’t really have much time to go shopping. Even when I found a window of opportunity, I’d be traipsing around the stores, returning empty-handed and disappointed. Even before the business grew and there were multiple product drops and personal stylists, the service NET-A-PORTER provided just made the whole shopping process so much simpler and introduced me to a new range of designers I had never worn before, such as Roland Mouret and Nina Ricci.
I started my career on Wall Street in the late 1980s, and I wince thinking of the boxy suits I used to wear. It was such a defeatist way to dress, implying that the only way I thought I could compete with the men was on their terms. Now, I think it’s imperative that women express themselves through their clothes and don’t just look like they’re grateful for a seat at the table. In fact, I’m currently writing a book on the subject. Apart from that deviant phase, my style has always been very feminine. I love dresses – and the yellow Oscar de la Renta piece [pictured below] I bought in 2019 is a particular favorite. Last year, I wore it to the launch of a gender-lens fund I was spearheading, and suddenly I started appearing on best-dressed lists.
I really believe fashion can be powerful. That’s why, in 2017, when I received my damehood for improving diversity in the financial services, I wanted my outfit to pay homage to the suffragettes. I wore a Gucci jacket with purple and green bows and finished it off with a pair of amazing lilac Balenciaga heels [above]. This shade seems to be a bit of a theme for me, as it was also the color scheme of my eldest daughter’s wedding. When I decided to buy a piece of jewelry to mark the occasion, I opted for a beautiful Alice Cicolini ring. I didn’t even realize it had orange enamel until it arrived, but it was the perfect tribute to the happy couple, Florence and Benjamin Clementine.
I think it’s imperative that women express themselves through their clothes and don’t just look like they’re grateful for a seat at the table”
Curator of collections at family-owned jewelers Mayfair Rocks, Lauren Levison is based in Connecticut. She has been shopping with NET-A-PORTER since 2011.
Initially, I was really resistant to online shopping, because I come from a family of jewelers who have had bricks-and-mortar stores for four generations. But, moving from New York City to Greenwich, Connecticut, and not having the same access to the labels I love swayed me.
Right off the bat, NET-A-PORTER hooked me up with my personal shopper, Jeff, which was such a gift. Jeff doesn’t style me per se, but he has his ear to the ground and keeps me up to date with exciting new brands playing with volume in a way that might appeal to me. I can get pretty set in who I am, but another perspective helps keep your look fresh – once in a while, for example, Jeff might say, “We haven’t seen your waistline in a really long time; let’s make sure we show it a bit this year”, and I’ll be thinking, “You know what? You’re right.”
Dressing up is in my DNA. That’s part of the reason I love getting pieces delivered to my door: I can play with them and see how they interact with the rest of my closet – that’s where the true creativity comes in. My closet isn’t color-coded or organized by brand; there’s a Marie Antoinette section, a Mary Queen of Scots section, a Shirley Manson section, and more. To me, getting dressed is all about how I’m feeling that day; I’ll combine different influences into an outfit that feels perfectly me. Even in lockdown, I’ll wear something like a Simone Rocha tutu and smock to clean the house because it makes me feel good.
People are often very dismissive of women’s relationship with fashion, deeming it silly and frivolous, but this is my armor. It makes me feel complete. These aren’t things I just wear for street-style photographs; I dress like this every day. I have an emotional connection to all my pieces, like the stunning ombré Oscar de la Renta coat [pictured above] I wore to New York Fashion Week in September 2018, which Celine Dion ended up wearing to the couture shows a few months later. Another piece I love is my Lucite Oscar de la Renta bag – it’s such a chameleon. In the past, I’ve actually filled it with different-colored roses to complement various outfits. As for my Gabriela Hearst boots – from the comfort and quality to the heel height, they’re just perfection. I have a pair in every color.
People are often very dismissive of women’s relationship with fashion, deeming it silly and frivolous, but this is my armor. It makes me feel complete”
Business investor and philanthropist Sadie Zhang is based in Guangzhou, China. She has been shopping with NET-A-PORTER since 2012.
Honestly, before I started shopping with NET-A-PORTER, the only things I bought online were groceries. I have always been interested in fashion and had a strong sense of my style, but I’m still open to suggestions and being challenged. I really believe that fashion can be empowering; I feel so much more confident when I’m wearing a great outfit. I don’t have a uniform, but over the years I’ve realized I can always rely on certain labels for certain occasions: Jacquemus for vacations, Blazé Milano for important meetings and Zimmermann dresses for date night – especially paired with Alaïa heels. Even during lockdown, I’ve made a point of getting dressed properly every day.
One of the main things I love about NET-A-PORTER is that I’m always discovering new designers and special pieces on the site, like my Gabriela Hearst handbag [pictured above]. This style was exclusive to the site so, luckily, I was able to get my hands on it right away. It’s my dream bag; I wear it all the time. Similarly, I tracked down one of the last pairs of these sold-out Alessandra Rich earrings [above] on NET-A-PORTER. I love earrings and these are my all-time favorites; my friends are constantly borrowing them.
My Alexander McQueen clutch is also really special to me, for a number of reasons. Not only am I a huge fan of the house, but I was given the bag for my 21st birthday, when I was living in London. I had a brilliant night out with friends that ended in an after-hours karaoke bar. To me, McQueen’s work is art. I’ll have this piece in my closet forever.”
I really believe that fashion can be empowering; I feel so much more confident when I’m wearing a great outfit”
Jewelery designer Diane Kordas, who launched her eponymous label in 2000, is based in London. She has been shopping with NET-A-PORTER since its inception in 2000.
I first started shopping on NET-A-PORTER because I felt as though time was running away from me. I was starting to build a business, juggling being a wife, a mother and an entrepreneur. It was only after my kids were in bed that I had any time for myself, so I’d go online and start shopping.
When NET-A-PORTER started stocking my label, in 2006, it really made me feel validated as a designer; it was a dream come true. I didn’t even dare think if there’d be a re-order but, 14 years later, we’re still there!
I have always been confident in my style, which is casual but with an edge. Of course, I’ve been feeling a bit more casual in lockdown, but I am really looking forward to getting all dressed up again. I only bought this Saint Laurent bag a few months ago, and it’s already one of my favorites; it’s the perfect size and it works with any outfit.
On the other hand, I bought these beautiful leather jackets – the red Saint Laurent biker and gold Haider Ackermann piece – years ago; they were well worth the investment. At the time, both my daughters were teenagers, and I would ask them, “Isn’t this cool?” Which was met with a resounding no. Then, over the years, I’ve wanted to wear the piece and been searching through my closet, only to check Instagram and realize that my daughters have taken them. I take really good care of my clothes, and these are the kind of special pieces I’d only ever pack in a carry-on bag, so the minute I see pictures of them on my daughters’ Instagram, my first thought is, “That had better not be lying in a coat check somewhere!”
I take really good care of my clothes, and these are the kind of special pieces I’d only ever pack in a carry-on bag”