Whether for shopping, gossip or inspiration, these are the sites where fashionistas get their fix, says Susie Rushton
Swish graphics, comprehensive background information (haven't you been dying to know that the Beckham's favourite Monogram luggage dates back to 1896?), plus video footage of trunks being handmade make this the ultimate corporate fashion site. In Britain, you can't actually buy any of LV's pricey leather goods on the site, but you can trawl through all the catalogues as a virtual form of retail therapy. See also Chanel.com, Gucci.com, Dior.com for more big-budget branding.
BEST FOR: Time-rich nouveaux riches
WORST FOR: Understatement
A Manhattan-based site that was once home to the infamous 'Chic Happens' gossip column, Hintmag is irreverent and experimental. Sadly, Chic Happens is long gone, but the seven-year-old Hint remains a uniquely irreverent voice on the net, offering exclusive 'Hinterviews' with designers, backstage photos, wry party reports and multimedia fashion shoots that require full Flash capabilities and a passionate interest in the Belgian School.
BEST FOR: A rare combination of humour and high fashion
WORST FOR: Low-speed connections
The corporates don't entirely dominate the web's best fashion content, and this quirky site is a photo gallery that documents the weird and wonderful street fashions of Tokyo. Also operating as a picture library, this English-language site is the place to check out the latest fluoro-sporty-kiddie-punk ensembles being sported by the Harajuku youth. Strictly for hardcore trend-hunters (and fashion designers on the lookout for ideas, no doubt). A refreshing break from the big brands.
BEST FOR: Street fashion, Tokyo-style
WORST FOR: Wearable, grown-up clothes
The five-year-old creation of Natalie Massenet, this e-tailer is proof that designer-fashion shopping and the net really can work together, despite the demise of Boo.com. Selling most of the top designers - with girlie accessories by Jimmy Choo, Chloé and Luella attracting the most clicks - NAP delivers worldwide - same-day in London. The site also features glossy mag-style hints on how to put an outfit together - usually involving a purchase of several hundred pounds.
BEST FOR: Getting hold of the latest It bag
WORST FOR: Bargains
A more playful version of the Stateside site, this online glossy has just picked up a Webby award. The 'Daily News' section is part-fashion tittle-tattle, part-PR-led info about new shops or products. Stories last week included: Kate Moss wears a waistcoat while holidaying in France; the average price of a fashion show in New York spirals to $26,000; Matthew Williamson throws a party. For those who don't know their Marcs from their Marios, there's a handy guide to who's who in the biz.
BEST FOR: Brit-focused fashion gossip
WORST FOR: In-depth analysis
The slickest e-glossy on the net, Style.com is the free-of-charge face of both US Vogue and W, where you can see the latest, most comprehensive catwalk images from Paris, New York, London and Milan - the morning after a show, each outfit can be viewed in slide-show format, complete with reviews by fashion critics and, for those who care about such things, the name of each model. Style.com also covers red-carpet events (mostly in New York) and previews megabuck shoots for Vogue and W.
BEST FOR: Free, high-quality catwalk images WORST FOR: Anything remotely avant-garde
Arty and ad-free fashion/photography site that is the brainchild of Vogue snapper Nick Knight. Interactive projects exploring the processes involved in creating both fashion and fashion imagery are the core of Showstudio. This week, you can download your own Junya Watanabe garment pattern, print it out, and sew it up; bone up on the relationship between art and fashion; and watch a webcam of male models at a casting. High-profile contributors to the site have included Björk, Tracey Emin and John Galliano.
BEST FOR: A behind-the-scenes perspective
WORST FOR: Frivolity: this is serious stuff
A well-financed Condé Nast site aimed at the stylish bloke who likes his fashion served up with barely dressed babes, cocktail recipes, restaurant reviews and bite-sized current affairs. Slide-shows of the latest Paris and Milan menswear collections are given a GQ twist: for each outfit, visitors can vote either 'Real Life' or 'Runway'. The results, in running percentages, give a fascinating insight into the mind and wardrobe of GQ Man. Baby-blue Puffa? Real life. Black leather jacket? Runway.
BEST FOR: Fashion-curious men
WORST FOR: Ad-free surfing
Available on subscription only, this is the most thorough and reliable source of fashion information for industry types. As the electronic version of Fairchild's Women's Wear Daily newspaper, it's where Tom Ford gave his first interview on leaving Gucci, and where many of the big houses preview collections. If you want to keep tabs on the corporate machinations of the luxury-goods conglomerates, sign up here. Subs start at $99 per year, rising to $895 with full archive access.
BEST FOR: Breaking fashion-industry news
WORST FOR: A fun, easy read
For those who can't face the hordes and hassle, the fast-fashion retailer has a fun website with girlie graphics where you can buy head-to-toe trends ('Modern Africa', 'Preppy Sport', etc) with ease. The e-shop stocks over 800 items, including maternity wear, surfing gear and, yes, those charity wristbands. If your teenager wants you to buy her clothes but doesn't want to speak to you, there's a 'Wish List' where she can e-mail you jpegs of her choices (next-day delivery about £4).
BEST FOR: Avoiding queues
WORST FOR: Anybody over the age of 25
The coolest boutique in Paris - the rue St-Honoré store sells hard-to-find fashion mags along with Prada, rare trainers, ultra-modern trinkets and gadgets, and has a water bar in its basement - is also an e-tailer of select goods. This cute site, featuring dancing cartoon dogs, a stylish line-drawn design and soundtrack by Billy Fury, is currently selling a few limited-edition gems such as tarot cards by Marc Jacobs, scented candles by Visionaire magazine and a Kermit T-shirt by Jim Henson.
BEST FOR: Painfully hip e-tailing
WORST FOR: Familiar items and brands
This Italy-based e-tailer sells the gamut of designer fashion, from Armani to Yamamoto, and has fun features such as a 'Mirror' scrapbook, where items can be assembled into 'outfits', and the zoom function for examining every button and seam. End-of-line, vintage and limited-edition garments are a speciality. Coldplay, Claire Danes and Larry Clark have all been invited to choose their favourite outfits on the site. Founded in 2000, Yoox racked up €36m in sales last year.
BEST FOR: Finding those 2002 Jil Sander boots
WORST FOR: People who don't like shoppingReuse content