Archive | November, 2011

Video preview: Marni for H&M

30 Nov

 

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s to come from the Marni for H&M collection in spring 2012.

“I wanted to create a true Marni wardrobe by revisiting all our favorite pieces in signature fabrics and prints. As always, I love juxtaposing prints and colors, mixing modern tribal with Bauhaus graphic adding sporty utilitarian elements,” said the Italian label’s founder and designer Consuelo Castiglioni about the collaboration.

She can be seen styling various looks in the video, which also features H&M’s Margareta van den Bosch and Style.com’s Tim Blanks.

Click here for a selection of images too.

Google’s ‘Checkout’ video

29 Nov

I was just directed towards this great video from Google demonstrating the complexity of online shopping. In it, a man aims to buy a loaf of bread while the checkout attendant puts all sorts of obstacles in his way.

The aim is to encourage e-tailers to find out where their customers are “checking out” via Google Analytics.

Take a look below:

Michael Kors launches Bag Alert Facebook campaign

29 Nov

Michael Kors has launched a Facebook campaign featuring established street-style bloggers capturing real women they see carrying Michael Kors bags.

Bag Alert” will see different bloggers’ work posted for one week at a time, through the end of 2011. Fans can then vote on their favourite photos to be in with the chance of winning a bag from the designer’s holiday collection.

“Social media is now part of our brand’s DNA,” says Michael Kors. “It’s a way to communicate directly with our consumers, to let them know how much their opinions matter to us and to keep moving the needle forward in our interaction with them on every possible platform. And of course this is a fabulous way to see how all of these chic real women incorporate Michael Kors into their own style.”

The blogger with the most popular photo at the end of the initiative will receive a cash donation to a charity, and be featured on the brand’s editorial platform, Destination Kors, in 2012.

Digital snippets: Saks, Topman, Esquire, Jaeger, JC Penney, House of Fraser, Figleaves and more

28 Nov

A mega update this week to make up for the lack over the past fortnight:

  • Saks ups online content [WWD]
  • Topman to launch online magazine [GQ]
  • Esquire partners with JC Penney to launch men’s e-commerce site CLAD [Esquire]
  • Jaeger debuts transactional mobile site, anticipates 80% increase in m-commerce revenues [NMA]
  • JC Penney adds QR codes, Facebook game, apps and Google+ presence to Christmas campaign [Media Decoder, NY Times]
  • House of Fraser to launch iPhone app offering in-store barcode scanner [NMA]
  • Figleaves links London Underground ads with mobile app [Media Week]
  • Old Navy doles out deals to Shopkick app users [Venture Beat]
  • Flash sales site Vente-Privée launches in US [Market Watch]
  • New York Times launches iPad app for fashion and style content [WWD]
  • How leading fashion brands are embracing online video [Mashable]

Exclusive: Farfetch.com’s SIXby6bloggers collection revealed

23 Nov

 

Farfetch.com has released a video in celebration of its new SIXby6bloggers project, which sees six top fashion bloggers each designing a pair of one-off shoes in collaboration with shoe studio SIX London.

Featuring the creations of Susie Lau (Style Bubble), Yvan Rodic (Face Hunter), Caroline Blomst (Carolines Mode), Steve Salter (Style Salvage), Leandra Medine (The Man Repeller) and Alix Bancourt (The Cherry Blossom Girl), the video features both a male and female model sporting each pair against a studio background.

The shoes will be available on Farfetch.com from tomorrow, Thursday, November 24.

A previous video followed the journey of each of the bloggers, from the initial sketches to the production factories in Portugal.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade app

23 Nov

Macy’s has released an official mobile app for the 85th year of its Thanksgiving Day Parade tomorrow.

Launched by MyCityWay and available on both iOS and Android, it features a route map, participant tracker, guide to the city, wifi hotspot finder and weather forecasts.

It also provides information on tonight’s balloon inflation event, not to mention tips on transportation, restrooms and more.

Find out more about it, here.

 

Barney’s Gaga Workshop incorporates interactive Twitter windows

23 Nov

One of the Madison Avenue windows of Barney’s is hosting an interactive installation featuring a live Twitter stream as part of the store’s Lady Gaga Holiday Workshop.

“Constellation Gaga”, as it’s called, was conceived by integrated creative studio The Science Project. It enables shoppers to tweet their Holiday wishes.

The results appear projected on a Prysm crystal laser display panel, alongside a new Lady Gaga video, directed by Tim Richardson, posted by The Mill, with creative direction by Nicola Formichetti.

“We were asked to integrate a social component to spread the excitement of Gaga’s Workshop by adding a social-interactive element to the window,” said Jeremy Bergstein, The Science Project’s chief of strategy. “Each passerby can add their own personal message and wishes to an ever-growing, global social media stream.”

UPDATE (November 28): see the film, below…

Brazil’s new luxury focus: IHT #hotlux and more in summary

22 Nov

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been completely and utterly engrossed in both attending and then writing up everything from the International Herald Tribune’s annual Luxury conference, which was held this year in São Paulo.

I was lucky enough while I was there to spend a few extra days immersing myself in everything to do with how the fashion / retail industry operates – meeting with everyone from ad agencies and local brand owners, to publishers, editors, bloggers and sales assistants. I was blown away.

Here’s an attempt at summarising everything I learnt:

Rising middle class and growth of luxury brands

- Brazil has a rising middle class. There are currently 100m people considered in this category, up from 50m less than five years ago. By 2014, Carlos Jereissati, CEO of Iguatemi, says there will be 120m, or 60% of the population. That’s a lot of growth.

- That and the fact the country has a new sense of economic stability – 7.5% growth in 2010 –  remaining relatively unscathed while Europe and the US have weakened in the global crisis, means the luxury industry is thriving here. And the country’s presence on the global stage is only set to increase further as the eyes of the world turn to it in 2014 and 2016 for the FIFA World Cup and Olympics respectively.

- Having said that, São Paulo is the first major city I’ve been to in the world where I don’t recognise most of the stores along the street. In fact, in the malls – where most of the true luxury sits – only 25% of the space currently belongs to international brands. Local designers still rule the roost. But although local consumers are rightfully very attached to that fact, they’re also pushing for more and more of the fashion world on their doorstep.

- Next year will see two new shopping centres: one from JHFS, Cidade’s Jardim group, and another from Iguatemi, the JK mall. International stores are headed out in droves to the latter including: Lanvin, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, not to mention the first Topshop Brazil.

- A couple of other specific cases: Gucci is planning to have 25 stores in Latin America by the end of 2012. Diane von Furstenberg’s store in São Paulo’s Iguatemi mall is her second most successful in the world, after New York. Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen had never before been to Brazil but held meetings while in town for the conference to discuss opening a store there soon. Coach will open its first store in Brazil in the new JK mall next spring, but has plans to quickly increase to up to seven stores. CEO Lew Frankfort says he estimates the market to be worth up to $350m per year to them.

Complicated and expensive

- It’s a highly complex market though. There isn’t a culture of multi-brand stores, for instance, the result of sky-high import taxes restricting a regular wholesale model. Most designers entering the market therefore have to do so by opening own-brand stores. Needless to say, that’s quite a risk in what could still be referred to as unknown territory.

- With those import taxes through the roof, everything in Brazil is expensive, not least the fashion. But people still buy. There is an overwhelming desire for access to international labels no matter what the price is. Some stores, like Zara, are getting round this however by also producing in the country. There’s likely to become more of this, although it’s currently the exception rather than the rule.

- An interesting fact: shoppers in Brazil buy on credit; deferred payments in two to three installments is absolutely the norm. According to a few people I spoke to, it provides a false sense of security – they don’t see what they’ve bought as the total price, but rather as the individual installment prices.

Lacking fast fashion but digitally savvy

- In amongst all this new luxury, fast fashion as we know it doesn’t really exist. One couple I spoke to – admittedly both of whom work in the industry and both of whom travel often – buy when they’re abroad. They raid Topshop and H&M and otherwise only spend occasionally when they’re in Brazil. When they do, it’s inevitably on expensive items, but they see these as likely to last. Investment pieces.

- Local stores such as Marisa, who are turning to this faster fashion route, feel it is necessary to educate the middle class consumer they’re targeting. These shoppers are not used to buying ‘fashion’ nor are they used to thinking about ‘trends’, the store’s ad agency explained to me. A heavy proportion of marketing therefore is based around advice, hints and tips.

- The only thing fast about fashion in Brazil is the response seen when actors in the infamous soap operas wear items or bloggers post about them. Where they go, the market follows. Simple.

- Given this is a digital blog, it’s also worth noting this is one of the most digitally savvy consumer markets there is. Period. In fact, I’ve never seen such obsessions with Twitter, Foursquare and Facebook (or local site Orkut).

- One in three Brazilians is currently online, and they spend an average of nine hours connected, said Jessica Michault, online style editor of the International Herald Tribune. Real growth is set to follow however as the internet infrastructure improves – things are currently being put in place on a national scale to enable widespread broadband access for instance.

E-commerce versus service

- What’s interesting though, is the complete lack of e-commerce acceptance there is in the marketplace so far. Why? In the main part, because of customer service. I have never seen anything like it – not only do the shop assistants actually speak nicely to you, but everyone is treated like a VIP. Suzy Menkes, fashion editor of the IHT, told a great story at the conference about Tom Ford saying his role model for service in opening his first New York store was Brazil’s most upmarket one, Daslu.

- On top of the service aspect however, consumers in Brazil are used to shopping as a truly social experience. Friends hit the mall in groups, and they continue it back at home, trying on outfits, sharing with others and getting ready en masse ahead of a night out. The interesting thing is, this isn’t restricted to a teenage activity; women of all ages reportedly partake.

- Combining this service and social aspect means two things then: brands coming into this market will really have to up their game (it’ll be interesting to see what Topshop does), but so too will the e-commerce experience need to evolve to get this consumer truly on board. Thinking bigger picture, you could say e-commerce is likely to follow once some marrying between service, bloggers and fast-fashion occurs. There’s definitely business opportunity there.

And finally

- My favourite quote from IHT, came from Diane von Furstenburg. She said: “If Brazilians could put their joie de vivre in a bottle, it would be bigger than Coca-Cola’s”. Just about says it all, not to mention summarises my trip.

- On a truly final note, if you haven’t checked out the local activation of Puma’s After Hours campaign in São Paulo, you should. Run by the team behind by the Brazilian edition of Vice magazine and its counterpart agency Virtue, it’s a brilliant example of turning global creative into experiences specifically relevant to the market at hand. It did so with a variety of events throughout the year that transformed regular nightclubs into old fashioned social clubs; offering games and sports such as table tennis, snooker, darts and more. The outcome was so successful, it opened its own fully operational bar for three months. If you’re visiting, be sure to stop by, it’s there until December 23, 2011.

Enormous thanks to my incredible friend, and tour guide, @carolalt

Valentino to launch virtual archive museum

21 Nov

Valentino is set to launch a virtual museum that will showcase five decades of the designer’s fashion history in an immersive 3-D experience.

A downloadable desktop application connected to an online database, it captures over 300 dresses from the Valentino archive, organised by theme.

Users can explore different galleries and wings that would likely cover over 10,000sq m in an actual museum. There are also sketches, illustrations, advertising campaigns and red carpet as well as event photos accompanying each dress.

Photos and videos celebrate the special events and exhibitions from Valentino Garavani and his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti’s history, from the 1968 White Collection to the 2011 White Fairy Tale Love Ball. And there’s a media library cataloguing more than 5000 images including dresses, photos, drawings and 95 show videos.

A short video introduction has just launched (as below), while users are currently being invited to register their email addresses on the site to keep up with news on the December 5 launch.

A social media campaign has also kicked off across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The museum has been created by Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti, with support from Valentino SpA. It was designed and produced by Novacom Associes in Paris, in collaboration with Kinmonth-Monfreda Design Project in London.

 

Benetton to activate sentiment of Unhate campaign online

17 Nov

In case you haven’t seen the film that accompanies the Unhate campaign images from Benetton that have gone viral in the past 24 hours or so, check it out below.

Directed by Laurent Chanez, it aims to tell the “precarious balance and complex interweaving between the drive to hate and the reasons to love”:

 

While it might be the controversy of the world leaders kissing that has grabbed headlines – something Benetton is renowned for doing well – it’s the sentiment behind this campaign that will continue to drive it forward.

Alessandro Benetton, deputy chairman of Benetton Group, explained: “It means not hating… In a moment of darkness, with the financial crisis, what’s going on in North African countries, in Athens, this is an attitude we can all embrace that can have positive energy.”

The campaign is backed by the company’s new Unhate Foundation, which seeks to contribute to the creation of a new tolerance and make a significant impact on the international community.

Accordingly, it is set to continue with a number of live actions and projects that aim for participation. It will do so by inviting people to play an active and central role through the internet, social media, and other digital applications, the company explained.

Alessandro added: “Ours is a universal campaign, using instruments such as the internet, the world of social media, and artistic imagination, and it is unique, in that it calls the citizens of the world to action.”

The initial launch has a great interactive angle. On the Unhate microsite, users are invited to add their own messages of “unhate” by posting to a list facilitated via Twitter, for instance. “Global love might be a utopian dream, but global unhate is maybe something we can hope for. So here’s a list of UNHATE messages,” it reads.

Users are also encouraged to upload their pictures to the Unhate Kiss Wall to see themselves placed opposite and as though kissing someone random, as below:

If you haven’t yet been privy to the kissing leaders, click here to see US President Barack Obama and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas; North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak; German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and Obama again with China’s Hu Jintao.

There was also a shot of of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a senior Egyptian imam, Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb of Cairo’s al-Azhar institute, the pre-eminent theological school of Sunni Islam, but it was withdrawn after being denounced as unacceptable provocation by the Vatican.

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