Currently, there are 350 people on a waiting list for a sheer, Seventies-inspired dress.
Unusually, it’s not the product of Gucci or Dolce & Gabbana but Atterley, the high-end high street label which re-branded this season under the creative direction of Becky Leeson, formerly of ASOS. And it’s not a one-off: the hushed buying format once reserved for the newest and most exclusive designer items is becoming the norm for savvy high-street shoppers too.
At Warehouse, a new design team has created a frenzy of waiting lists for several pieces from its autumn/winter collection including a full-length, printed sheer dress and a Mongolian sheepskin coat. And following several sell-out items last season, new online retailer Finery has received emails from 50 customers desperate to get their hands on a navy mac.
It’s a trend that is partly customer-driven and partly a way for retailers to turn their designs into covetable pieces.
“Retailers use them to create a sense of exclusivity and drive demand. The aim is to create a halo effect whereby shoppers go online or into stores to buy that season’s must-have and leave with a number of other items. M&S limited production of its much-hyped suede skirt to do just that,” explains Kirsty McGregor, news editor at industry outlet Drapers.
“It’s also down to the fast turnaround of trends today; for retailers it makes sense to restrict orders of fashionable styles. The challenge is getting the balance right: if they run out of stock too quickly, customers will be left frustrated.”
Which is why we’ve curated the pieces to sign up to now…
This season’s high street stars
1. Galaxy print dress, £115, Atterley.com
2. Mongolian coat, £350, Warehouse.co.uk
3. Real suede patchwork skirt, £49.99, Newlook.com
4. Dress, £65, Nine by Savannah Miller at Debenhams
5. Skirt, £150, Bruce by Bruce Oldfield for John Lewis
6. Skirt, £165, coast-stores.com
Words: Kitty McGee