Legal Disclaimer: I have absolutely no affiliation with, investment in, or relation to Mr. Porter or any of its principals, agents, employees, managers or directors, as applicable. That said, this looks promising, with two caveats: First, they will be offering brands from Alexander McQueen to J. Crew. J. Crew? Really? Isn't that stuff pretty economically-priced to begin with? Second, there will be editorial content. I am hoping that this content won't be chock-full of really, really asinine stuff like "Skinny lapels are in! Cuffed trousers are *so* out!" - for, if this is the case, I will be highly annoyed and will likely abandon the site entirely. For now, though, I shall give them the benefit of the doubt. I just signed-up, and will add to this post after I make a purchase. For your convenience and information: Sign-in to become a "Founding Member": http://www.mrporter.com/ WSJ article on Mr. Porter (published this morning): http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...867667602.html Mr Porter to Test Men's Urge to Shop Online The New Site, a Cousin to Net-a-Porter, Aims to Lure Men With Uncluttered Layout and a Profile of a Motorbike Designer The debut of Mr Porter, the biggest ever launch of a men's luxury-goods website, will be closely watched by the fashion industry to see whether there are enough active male shoppers to support a fashion site. Mr Porter, a cousin of the successful Net-a-Porter site for women, is aiming to crack the notoriously tough men's market when it comes to clothes shopping. Men tend to be quickly intimidated and turned off by new fashions being promoted in magazines and stores. And men sharply trail women when it comes to shopping for clothes online. Women's online apparel sales in the U.S. rose 11% to $10.5 billion in 2010, compared with a 7% rise to $4.5 billion for men, according to NPD Group. "We know there's a demand for this," says Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet. "I don't think shopping right now really appreciates the way men want to shop," she says. To appeal to men, Mr Porter will feature profiles of men from real life, including a motorbike designer, a banker and a painter, wearing stylish clothes. By contrast, the Net-a-Porter women's site woos women with magazine-style spreads that feature "must-have" items. Mr Porter will offer a limited number of brands, figuring that men prefer a quicker, more selective shopping experience. The site will be relatively uncluttered, and will offer short videos with style tips. And there will be little use of the word "fashion" on the site. "I think men feel more comfortable with the word style," says Jeremy Langmead, editor in chief of Mr Porter. "A stylish wardrobe rather than a fashion wardrobe." Mr Porter's launch, expected this month, comes as other companies open online stores aimed at stylish men. Upscale menswear label Ermenegildo Zegna launched its retail site in December. Gilt Groupe, a site that sells designer goods at a discount for limited-time periods known as "flash" sales, plans to introduce a full-priced version of its men's site Gilt Man this summer. (Gilt Man and Mr Porter will ship internationally, with Mr Porter offering same-day delivery in New York and London.) High-end department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks have been beefing up their online men's sections, too. Men generally prefer to shop at men's-only stores, even online, rather than seeing women's products all over the home page, says Nita Rollins, an online retail expert at Resource Interactive, a digital marketing agency. "You have to take the fashion to the man," she says. Net-a-Porter's track record at online luxury shopping"”the site launched in 2000"”could give Mr Porter an advantage over other new entrants in the men's-only market, says Erwan Rambourg, a luxury and sporting-goods analyst with HSBC Bank PLC UK, who follows Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, which owns Net-a-Porter. The launch comes as the luxury market shows signs of recovery. World-wide sales of luxury goods rose 10% to â‚¬170 billion, or $237 billion, in 2010, estimates consulting firm Bain & Co., a significant improvement over 2009's 8% decline. In the past year, women's spending on luxury goods rose 28%, while men's rose 42%, according to Ed Jay, senior vice president at American Express Business Insights, the retail analytics and consulting arm of American Express, drawing on data from about 90 million cards. What's more, the share of dollars men spend on luxury apparel has grown more rapidly than women's since 2007, up 81% for men versus 57% for women. Mr Porter is counting on a captive audience of three million monthly visitors to Net-a-Porter, almost all women, to also shop on the new site for the men in their lives or to direct men to it. Ms. Massenet says a men's site has consistently been the most requested addition from Net-a-Porter's customer base. At Net-a-Porter's London headquarters last week, construction workers in reflective gear and hard hats were extending its offices to make room for Mr Porter. Upstairs on a mezzanine, the tech staff was scrambling to program code and rearrange the website ahead of the Mr Porter launch. "Six of your earth days to go. Don't panic!" read a sign next to the programmers. Ms. Massenet says the company didn't do much market research ahead of the Mr Porter debut, not wanting to delay the site's launch. But she said she has consulted with scores of men in the fashion industry. Mr Porter will have a lot of editorial content, as does Net-a-Porter. It will include a weekly magazine and fixtures such as Behind the Brand, a look at particular brands. The site is designed to resemble a broadsheet newspaper, figuring that men find that format more reassuring than a glitzy magazine design. Since men tend to be fact geeks, product pages will have a few historical facts about specific garments, such as when the blazer was first invented, Mr. Langmead says. The site uses generous amounts of white space, in contrast to Net-a-Porter's busier layout. In addition, the videos and many of the photos accompanying the articles are in black and white. "I think guys sometimes feel 'It's too complicated, I'm out of here' or 'I don't have time,' " Mr. Langmead says. "We just want everything to not be shouting at you. It is a subtle, calm hand-holding journey into buying products." Videos on the site, such as those of designers offering style tips on, for instance, how to wear a blazer, will be 60 seconds or less. "Guys, we want things straightforward and quickly," says Mr. Langmead. "And sometimes we're in the office" and don't want to be caught cruising a shopping site. The site plans to limit the number of brands it sells, with 80 brands being sold to start. "Men don't want to see as many brands as women want to see," says Toby Bateman, Mr Porter's buying director. Women's site "Net-a-Porter carries, I think, 350 brands. Guys aren't happy with that." The mix includes high-fashion lines such as Alexander McQueen and Balmain, traditional brands like Brooks Brothers and shoemaker John Lobb, and more casual sportswear, including J. Crew. As at Net-a-Porter, deliveries from Mr Porter will arrive lushly packaged in tissue paper and a box, all inside a trademark black-and-white paper bag. Mr Porter also invested in a handwriting font inspired by Francis Bacon's penmanship that will be used to put each customer's name on the packaging. Mr Porter will shun images of celebrities as style models, but will feature some bygone stars. "If you say, 'Here's how to get Brad Pitt's look at the Golden Globes' to guys, they'll say 'get out of here,' " Mr. Langmead says. Instead, "you might look at a picture of Gene Kelly or Cary Grant and say 'Wow, he looked cool.' " "The Mr Porter customer is interested in wearing designer collections, but he is not necessarily interested in the silly side of fashion," Mr. Bateman said.