In this age of sample sales and knockoffs, the high-end shopper is “sort of a unicorn,” says perpetually best-dressed socialite Lauren Santo Domingo. In an attempt to target such elusive creatures, she has teamed up with Aslaug Magnusdottir, a former executive at Gilt Groupe, to launch Moda Operandi, a website that allows designer devotees to buy directly off the runway. In the days after a show, members can log on to see the collection and place their orders, paying full retail price: 50 percent up front and the rest upon delivery. Moda Operandi debuts this month for New York Fashion Week, with 15,000 initial members, and will cycle through London, Milan, and Paris. They hope to expand to 100,000 members within a year, and an impressive coterie of designers—including Proenza Schouler, Giambattista Valli, and Narciso Rodriguez—plan to participate. “Women today know what’s gone down the runway,” says Santo Domingo. “They’ve seen behind the curtain, and now we have a chance to let them in.”
Santo Domingo wears Lanvin’s jersey dress. Magnusdottir wears Lanvin’s wool dress.