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Fashion Glossary: Pre-tail

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With the landscapes of fashion, retail, and media changing faster than we can say, “flash sale,” we’re all for new idioms, so our pencils came out when we spotted the word "pre-tail" in Vogue’s January issue.

Contributing Editor Lauren Santo Domingo coined the term in reference to her new business venture, Moda Operandi, an invitation-only Web site that allows its members to order styles straight from the runway. Pre-tail -- not to be confused with the “pre-sale” fire-drill of reserving items in the final days before markdown or simply "retail" itself -- aligns itself in civilized opposition to post-season clearance.

Burberry engaged in high-tech pre-tail when they allowed the audience to order styles straight from the runway last February. Cynthia Rowley took pre-tail in a DIY-direction, when she sold sewing kits and fabric printed with pictures of her designs at the Gagosian Gallery, right after her Fall/Winter 2010 runway show.

In Santo Domingo’s version, the process begins before retailers decide which styles will survive the transition from the runway to the real world, empowering tastemakers who have the funds to pay full price, and the patience to wait for delivery in the proper season. So keep an eye out for those Vogue editors at shows like Calvin Klein, Thakoon, and Proenza Schouler in February. Maybe they’re taking notes, or maybe they’re writing orders. Pre-tail.

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