Natalie Massenet’s journey from a fashion editor of Tatler in London to a businesswoman who radically changed the luxury online shopping landscape is not just exciting but inspiring. It was her search for Chole jeans that triggered this retail revolution. Her fruitless search led her to found Net-A-Porter, the retail Website that sells high end brands in the year 2000. Despite the internet bubble losing steam her online business venture not only persevered but flourished. Operating out of her Chelsea flat with just two employees she built up her business to a level where a decade later she sold her portion of net-a-porter to the Swiss luxury goods group Richemont for an astonishing sum of approximately £50 million ($77 million). Massenet has added two new luxury retail websites namely Mr Porter catering to men and the Outnet which offers heavy discounts on designer items. She was talking to ARTINFO on a variety of subjects. She talked about her anti-aging secret, her latest art purchase and her choice of accessories and even the heels she prefers wearing to the office. Read on to find about her tastes and preferences.
Last Art Purchase: “Bliss Bucket” by Ed Ruscha
As a native Californian Massenet grew up admiring Ed Ruscha and his work. The Bliss Bucket is from a new series and the message is what inspired Massenet to buy it as it made her happy.
Beauty Essentials: Tracie Martyn Facials and Chanel Lift Lumière
Massenet feels that Tracie Martyn facial is the best and more importantly the products are pure. Chanel Lift Lumiere foundation is her anti-ageing secret as it magically erases age.
Clothing Picks: A Prabal Gurung Printed Wool, Silk-Blend Dress and Gucci Stretch-Leather Leggings
Stretch leather leggings are her favorite as she can wear them with everything from knits to blazers and T-shirts. This dress from Prabal Gurung is so modern with graphic details. Massenet finds it transformative and comes in handy when she is in a girly mood.
Best Things I Ever Ate: Spicy Chicken Pasta and Kale and Parmesan Salad
Her favorites keep changing but currently it is her friend Anne-Marie’s grandmother’s recipe for spicy chicken pasta and the kale and parmesan salad at the Mercer.
Obsession: Net-a-Porter Live
She also talked about her current obsession. Net-A-Porter Live is providing a new shopping experience as it has a window into the real-time shopping that other customers around the globe are engaging in. It’s a human instinct and all of us like to check out which items other women are carrying into their changing rooms. Massenet is no different and enjoys seeing which items are being selected by her customers from Kuwait to Kauai. Images of products pop up next to a rotating map indicating where in the world the action is, and at any given time, there are little black shopping bags representing our customers who are logged on and shopping. Even she gets inspired by her customers’ selections to buy it herself. There is something about coveting what someone else has that can be satisfied through Net-a-Porter Live. But she feels one needs to be careful as the experience is addictive.
Necessary Accessory: Repossi Maure Twin 18-Karat Rose Gold Ring
It is the combination of delicacy and boldness that attracted Massenet to this ring. She likes the fact that she can wear it to dress up a daytime look, or as a statement piece in the evening. The ring is available on net-a-porter for $7,465.
Choice Read: “That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor”
She was very clear about the book she loves and why. She said “I find Wallis Simpson a most intriguing historical figure who defied her circumstances and willed herself a different life, unguided by scruples, and ultimately getting her prince — while being reviled the whole way. Despite or because of this, she continues to fascinate her legions of would be detractors, who cannot seem to get enough of her, including me.”
The book is available on amazon for $15.35.
Shoe Fetish: Yves Saint Laurent Slingbacks and Charlotte Olympia Pumps
Massenet is known to like fancy shoes that she can wear every day. She prefers a heel that is not very high so that she can walk in them comfortably. Cute shoes, she believes make every outfit work. Her favorite shoes available on net-a-porter are Yves Saint Laurent Ingénue Swarovski crystal-embellished satin slingbacks priced at $976.50, Charlotte Olympia Dolly Suede platform pumps for $537 and Yves Saint Laurent Ingénue suede and metal slingbacks for $1,095