A consummate style ally looks beyond trends. They can spot a good pair of stilettos and a true investment-worthy satchel from a mile away. “It” bags or must-have shoes hardly rouse excitement in them. You can, however, expect a generous serving of compliments from a full-bloodied fashion aficionado when they set eyes on limited edition collaboration collections or an unusual chunky strap on a pair of slides. Just the same, the are likely to pass over logo strewn garments, but gush over a well preserved, rare vintage dress.
In a boundless digital space that houses countless of retail platforms, you’ll be lucky to find a handful of sites that offer a distinct product offering, quality, and at reasonable prices. There are the extremely popular luxury multi brands that are spot on when it comes to introducing only the freshest, most coveted pieces from the runways. They are inspiring digital spaces to visit when you want to stay current. You’ll also likely max out a credit card with only two or three pieces when you shop through there.
Pre-loved designer platforms are absolute treasure troves. Not only is pre-loved shopping a more sustainable way to enjoy and consume high fashion, it also elevates any wardrobe with iconic vintage pieces. TheRealReal is a remarkable style space that houses an impressive collection of wares from Alexandre McQueen dresses (circa 2010), Alaia laser cut bags to ethic-inspired Dior skirts. When shopping vintage online, make time to find out about the condition of the items you’d like to add to cart. The Obsessions feature is also a great way to edit through the countless finds before making an actual purchase. There are other vintage online sites worth taking a look at, but I personally find that TheRealReal does the best job at curating, presenting products, and securing that every piece is authentic. The other sites I’ve seen so far leave much to be desired when it comes to visual merchandising online.
The truth is, well-rounded, modern wardrobes are a mix of vintage pieces and new ones. A fresh pair of shoes, or that current bag that has cause sleepless nights is an occasional indulgence that completes our fashion experience. When I first fell in love with Bottega Veneta’s Woven Leather slides in 2019, it seemed all hope was lost at getting my own pair. During a trip to Paris that year, sales personnel across all the boutiques in the city confirmed that “Bien sur, all fashion girls stocked up on those shoes. Desole, mademoiselle.” It was the same in other key fashion capitals, and even at airport luxury boutiques. That year, I heard the word sorry in at least five languages.
That’s how I came across then newly launched luxury multi brand e-commerce site, BALTINI. Not only did the site have the coveted Bottega shoes I’d been dreaming of, they also had it in my size and in a wide range of colors. I was particularly impressed by how efficient and prompt logistics were. Considering I was receiving packages from all the way in Manila (Baltini’s offices are in Dover, DE), my box arrived promptly. Updates as my package was en route were frequent and most importantly, accurate. Customer service channels were not only easy to access, they were responsive, too.
After writing about BALTINI two years ago, several first-time customers sent me private messages asking if the site was legit and reliable. To which, the response was: “They’ve exceeded all my expectations in terms of service, product range, quality, and price.” More key accessories–shoes, mostly–have been added to my cart since. And in that period of time, I’ve witnessed the platform’s range expand and customer experience elevate.
As I decided it was time to park my favorite pair of slides and find a new one, I returned to BALTINI. This time around, designer selections had grown to include independent and emerging talents. Brand founders Vincent Moiras and Josh Leonardi explains: “We try to include as many brands as we can on our website. Not only do we specifically choose brands that are highly popular amongst our customers, but we also try to introduce independent brands.”
Whereas collections in popular shopping sites tend to look almost identical, pieces at BALTINI are noticeably more distinctive. Vincent and Josh admit, “We do not have any exclusive items, but we personally curate every collection on our website to caters to our customer’s needs and demands.” This includes an exclusive collection of designer digs at 65% off, which is made most of past season best-sellers. “Just because it’s from the past, doesn’t mean it is not in demand.”
The site’s secret to staying competitive especially in sphere of luxury fashion lies in the partnerships they’ve forged with speciality boutique across Italy. According to the retail duo, they’ve kept their working relations with their Italian partners strong throughout the years. “We are able to get our items straight from Italy, which allows us to provide costumes with higher discounts.”
New collaborations are high on the priority list of the BALTINI team this year. It founders disclose that, “We working with a couple of local brands in Itialy and the collection should be released by end of the year.” The website’s back-end is a constant work in progress, especially for a company that is dedicated to giving customers a seamless luxury shopping experience online. Vincent and Jost end, “We will also have a member vip area where members can gain an exclusivity to shop exclusive pieces as well as high demand goods at special price.”