Archive | February, 2012

Sorry Dior, your new online magazine misses the mark

29 Feb

Dior has unveiled a new online magazine in a continuation of its quest for greater digital presence, but unfortunately the result just isn’t fit for purpose.

According to WWD, Diormag.com launches with eight articles to coincide with the fact the number is a good luck charm to the company. It will follow with  daily updates based on a variety of content designed to “both entertain and inform”. News from its 30 Avenue Montaigne headquarters will be included, as well as details on its other activities worldwide.

The aim is to tell the backstory of the brand and its products. As WWD’s piece explains, there is therefore also “house lore galore: The site’s introductory letter notes that Christian Dior was so superstitious, he would sew sprigs of lily of the valley into dress linings for luck on the day of his show.”

In theory, it sounds great. But in practice, it unfortunately comes across way too much as corporate spiel than it does anything that closely resembles that of “news” or a “magazine”.

Take this title: “Silver screen stars and fashion icons: femininity as seen by Christian Dior“. From that, I expect a real insight into the women of Dior, why they’ve been chosen, who they are, history of where they’ve come from. Maybe, even hopefully, then some insight into a fresh campaign, at the very least the latest update on one of its ambassadors like Charlize Theron (though the images of her that are provided are beautiful, if not fresh).

Alas, the text intros as follows: “Backstage Dior: the other side of the show coin. Behind the scenes, the action continues. But it’s another film that’s showing here, a more intimate one. Flanking the runway: director Jean-Jacques Annaud’s cast of four hundred. In the wings: Marilyn, Grace, Marlene, Charlize – Dior-ified, brought together through the magic of cinema.” A further three very similar paragraphs follow.

Unfortunately, the only phrase that comes to mind from that is: PR jargon. Or worse yet, utter mumbo jumbo. The team might have hired a “full-time editor in chief, whose identity has not been disclosed”, but the writing doesn’t come close to offering anything slightly resembling that of true magazine editorial quality. Beautiful if it’s on a page about the history of the brand, a piece of text designed to inspire or merely illustrate, but for a blog? (as that’s essentially what this is trying to be). Don’t expect digitally-savvy consumers to embrace it is all I’ll say.

This post on the house’s latest couture show, is much the same. It claims to offer a “look at it”, but the gallery doesn’t actually overly show the collection itself, and the copy, once again, reads exactly like a press release. Or maybe the show notes.

The post on Miss Dior, or Christian’s little sister Catherine, is better, but not by much.

The key thing that’s missing from Dior’s puzzle here, is creating content that’s shareable. Nothing in any of these pieces screams out “share me on Twitter” or “post me on Facebook” (where it has almost 7m fans), although that functionality is, quite surprisingly, built in.

There are some incredible branded content offerings out there from luxury fashion houses: Dolce & Gabbana’s Swide, Mr Porter, not to mention LVMH’s own Nowness, so plenty for Dior to have learnt from. Even Chanel’s very elusive attempts do a better job.

According to WWD, Diormag.com will cover Friday’s Paris Fashion Week show as its inaugural headline event, live-streaming it for the first time too. There’s also plans for blogger Susie Bubble to oversee a feed on Twitter at the same time. In both of those, therefore there may come something of much more value.

The entire concept has real potential, but from a content standpoint, I just hope they start to drive it properly. When you’re a brand as rich as Dior, you are naturally sitting on an enormous bed of information that people want to know, hear and see more of. By all means tell us about the past, but also show us behind-the-scenes, take us into 30 Avenue Montaigne, and give us a sneak peek at what’s coming next.

Either which way, just write it in a straightforward manner… for if you do, we’ll probably start talking about it. And better than that, we’ll also come back again.

***

ps. This piece from The New York Times fashion desk is worth reading: Editing as a brand investment

More SS12 videos: Giorgio Armani, Nina Ricci, Dolce & Gabbana

29 Feb

A handful of brands in Milan and Paris have been using their fashion week shows as an opportunity to release campaign videos for their current collections.

First up is Giorgio Armani with a three-minute spot based on its spring/summer 2012 campaign called “One Plus One”. Directed by Luca Guadagnino in Italy, the narrative follows the “story of a suspenseful and unsettling love triangle”, reported WWD.

“Today, fashion needs to open itself to new languages,” said the designer. “Cinema is the form of expression I have always felt the closest to. Working with Luca Guadagnino, I have had the opportunity to transform the atmosphere of my collection into a story, and it has been a stimulating experience.”

Nina Ricci has similarly unveiled a new film based on its latest campaign. Directed by photographers Inez & Vinoodh, and shot in Old Westbury in Long Island, New York, it stars model Raquel Zimmermann.

The spot will be showcased during the designer’s autumn/winter 2012/13 show at Paris Fashion Week tomorrow. It is also being broadcast in Nina Ricci stores.

And finally, Dolce & Gabbana has released a video that depicts its spring campaign “in motion”. Monica Bellucci and Bianca Balti alongside their pseudo Italian family are seen dancing, playing, talking and laughing as they pose for Giampaolo Sgura’s camera.

Twitter hashtag accompanies new Vogue Italia cover

28 Feb

It’s great to see the new cover of Vogue Italia not only featuring black supermodel Joan Smalls, but a tech reference with the now universal Twitter hashtag.

#OVERTHETOP is the only line accompanying the image of Smalls, shot by Steven Meisel, for the March issue of the magazine.

Vogue Italia – frequently referred to as somewhat savvy when it comes to digital initiatives – also released a series of GIFs shot by Meisel called “Haute Mess”, as a preview of the issue. See the one featuring Smalls below, and click here for more.

 

 

Digital snippets: NYFW, F-commerce, Christian Louboutin, Louis Vuitton, Marni, Nike

27 Feb

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital over the past week:

  • Jason Wu, Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors prove most “talked” about in online space during NYFW [WWD]
  • Retailers shut their Facebook stores; is this the end of F-commerce? [Mashable]
  • Neiman Marcus launches social media challenge for Christian Louboutin’s 20th anniversary [Luxury Daily]
  • Louis Vuitton sets short film series on major cities, starting with Hong Kong (as pictured) [WWD]
  • Nike introduces Nike+ basketball sneaker with high-tech sensors [AllThingsD]
  • Sølve Sundsbø’s The Ever Changing Face of Beauty installation becomes interactive iPad App [The Business of Fashion]
  • Google to start selling glasses that will project information, entertainment and ads onto the lenses [NYTimes]

Mugler reveals digital plans, live consumer access to Paris Fashion Week show

24 Feb

Mugler, under the creative direction of Nicola Formichetti, has released a full timetable documenting its digital activity around next week’s Paris Fashion Week show.

Formulated by digital agency, Moving Image & Content, the #MuglerLive program includes live Formichetti interviews with bloggers from China and Brazil, backstage access to castings and fittings, and even a preview of the new collection. It begins the day before the show.

Viewers will also be able to ‘command’ Formichetti’s assistant, Prince, in the atelier throughout by using the hashtag #askprince. He will become the eyes and hands for viewers, answering special requests as well as questions on what’s happening behind the scenes.

The experience will be live broadcast on Mugler’s Ustream channel, with the show itself taking place on Wednesday, February 29 at 9pm CET. Here is the full schedule of activities, beginning the day before…. (timings are subject to change – check @muglerlive for real time updates)

Tuesday, February 28:

1pm: Live Q&A on Weibo with blogger Han Huo Huo regarding inspiration for the new collection

1.30pm: Hair test – beauty team & Formichetti to discuss with international beauty blogger

2pm: Make-up test

3pm: Digital pioneering – Formichetti discusses his groundbreaking approach to all things digital with The Business of Fashion

2-4pm: Live fitting and casting

4-5pm: Collection walk-through – Formichetti chats with Vogue.it and previews a couple of looks from the new collection. Vogue.It will also submit crowdsourced questions from their social network community.

5-6pm: Casting Conversation – Formichetti discusses his casting choice and decision with Made In Brasil founder, Juliano Corbetta

7-9 pm: Special guests including bloggers, journalists, and buyers visit to preview the collection

Wednesday, February 29:

6-8pm: A Minute With Mugler – Formichetti’s friend Chris will question five people backstage, including a model, and someone from each of the make-up, hair, design and production teams

8pm: Rehearsal / choreography

9pm: Show livestream with live comments from Prince and Chris

9.30-10pm: Post show – follow Formichetti backstage to see what happens after the event

See by Chloé next in line for digital fashion show

22 Feb

It’s great to see the Digital Fashion Shows initiative from PR company KCD is continuing. Hot on the heels of ICB by Prabal Gurung during New York Fashion Week, comes news See by Chloé will be presented online on February 29 (which falls in Paris Fashion Week).

The collection will be shown on digitalfashionshows.com via invite-only, at 10.30am CET.  As with ICB, it will feature a full catwalk show, detail shots of every look and behind-the-scenes beauty coverage.

The video footage will then be available to all on Chloé’s Facebook page a mere 30 minutes later.

Digital snippets: Givenchy, Miu Miu, Chanel Boy, 7 for all Mankind, Gap, M&S

22 Feb

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital over the past week:

 

  • Liv Tyler cover INXS song for new Very Irrésistible Givenchy Electric Rose fragrance ad (as above) [YouTube]
  • Woman turns into a dress in Miu Miu’s new short film [The Cut]
  • Alice Dellal stars Karl Lagerfeld’s short 1920s-inspired silent film for Chanel Boy [Fashionologie]
  • First episode of 7 for all Mankind’s James Franco-directed video series starring Lily Donaldson, launches [7 for all Mankind blog]
  • Gap uses bloggers for new Styld.by digital catalogue [PSFK]

 

Fashion week: designers divided over digital media

20 Feb

Although the fashion industry has been quick to use digital media to become more accessible to consumers, certain designers are using the same tools to keep catwalk access exclusive.

While I watched the ICB by Prabal Gurung show at New York Fashion Week it struck me that although the fashion industry is embracing the openness digital media provides, the backlash against it is also beginning.

I wasn’t at the Lincoln Center; or any other grandiose venue across Manhattan, but rather in front of my computer screen.

However, the difference to any other live-stream of a show during a fashion week, was that this one was online-only.

I am a strong proponent of watching shows from the comfort of my own home or office anyway. As media editor of an online trends service, my defence is that I’m actually the geek that prefers being able to more easily tweet while still focusing on the collection. The biggest bonus of all is that you get a far better view of the garments first time around via the stream, than you often ever do when you’re there next to the catwalk.

As Christina Binkley, style columnist for the Wall Street Journal said on Twitter: “Watching the ICB by Prabal Gurung online fashion show is like watching football on TV. You’re not there, but you see more than if you were.”

However, what you don’t often get with either, unless you’ve headed straight backstage or you’re booked for follow-up salon appointments, is that close detailed view; a true second look. Believe me there have been many times when I’ve peered forward from my seat, or better yet hit pause and CTRL + to zoom in on the screen – it’s not quite the same.

But this is why ICB was perfect. Every look was already there in high-res jpeg form. And every detail had a dedicated picture too – the fabric textures, the handbags, the prints and the make-up choices. There were also informative notes on each piece and a video of Gurung discussing his inspirations. All can be replayed and revisited.

And what’s even more interesting about all this, is that the ICB show was also invite-only. Even my colleague next to me couldn’t login – her email address wasn’t on the list.

This new exclusive online-only strategy has made me wonder – is this a step towards an anti consumer all-access sentiment? Are Gurung’s team trying to buck the trend for offering everyone around the world a “front row seat” via the web? Could this be the beginning of a backlash to the fashion industry’s rapid adoption of burgeoning social media platforms?

We first saw it with Tom Ford, who has a strict no photographs and no reviews policy for at least three months, and Phoebe Philo at Céline, who likewise calls for no shots or tweets from backstage at her shows. Those decisions have been met with mixed reception, but both are essentially attempting to close the gap between the hype of a new collection and the time (on average six months later) it actually hits the shop floor.

ICB is adopting the same exclusive strategy, albeit with a less established brand and solely on a digital platform.

“The password is just a replacement for your seat number,” said Ed Filipowski, co-president of PR company KCD, who was behind the concept. “To me, it’s not MTV, it’s not YouTube. It’s for the industry.”

While the time lag wasn’t enforced (I for one was tweeting as I watched), it seems, if anything, at least an attempt at rediscovering a sense of authority in the industry. Enabling the likes of Vogue and the major newspapers to be the first to comment once again, rather than your dime-a-dozen blogger is an interesting step.

Likewise, the British Fashion Council is reinforcing the importance of focusing on the press and buyers who attend London Fashion Week this season. Although consumer access to the event, which kicked off on Friday, has become increasingly open over the past few seasons, and is set to be its biggest yet with 46 shows streaming live, those in the trade are being prioritised once more.

For the first time, their passes to the fashion week grounds provide a constant stream of live content, thanks to an ongoing partnership with image-recognition app Aurasma. By scanning them, they’re directed to live news from the London Fashion Week organisers. While that content isn’t exclusive, it is confirmation of ensuring the experts have easy, on-the-go access to everything they need, especially given the fast-paced nature of such a week.

But on the other hand, London is also seeing a continuing focus on consumer-first. Burberry kickstarted it with the Tweetwalk last September – offering those on Twitter a glimpse of each look seconds before those actually in attendance. The same is planned for tomorrow’s show, with a delayed version of the image-stream also being posted on the giant Cromwell Road billboard in London (Europe’s longest advertising outdoor space).

The brand’s main focus is reach; getting out to as many of the public as possible, which is why they’ll also be live-streaming to Liverpool Street Station, as well as on mobile and tablet device.

Harrods is taking it one step further again by handing the buying decision of the forthcoming Burberry collection over to its Facebook fans.

On Tuesday, the day after the designer’s show, the department store will post images of every look on its Facebook page. Those that receive the most ‘likes’ will be incorporated into the store’s purchases for the season.

The argument almost certainly is that it’s common sense those outfits proving the most popular at this stage will end up being the ones that sell once they hit the floor later in the year (although the profile of the Harrods Facebook fan versus the actual Harrods shopper could be questioned).

Similarly, back in New York and Oscar de la Renta turned to crowdsourcing, inviting consumers to become a part of his creative process by launching a virtual pinboard open for anyone to post their ideas to. The idea is similar to Pinterest, the new picture-based social network, that has been attracting lots of attention of late.

The Board” is a call for anyone and everyone to help the designer with inspiration sources for his resort collection.

Both of these initiatives aren’t just about providing consumers with increasing amounts of access anymore then, but actually involving them in the entire behind-the-scenes process; from concept to sales rail.

Combined with ICB, the result of these conflicting digital strategies is an overwhelming sense of the fashion industry being drawn into a “whirlpool”. There is now a battle between a tightening industry grip on the one hand, and an all-access opening to consumers, on the other.

Neither side is right or wrong, but there’s still that gaping hole from one extreme to the other, and more importantly from the season we’re seeing to the season we’re buying.

The question is can the industry, defined by these biannual fashion weeks, the world over, adapt fittingly while continuing to embrace the benefits of digital media?

This piece originally appeared on The Telegraph

Burberry to debut catwalk collection via animated GIFs on Twitter

20 Feb

Click here for the lowdown on all things digital planned for the Burberry show at London Fashion Week today: Mashable

Only Burberry would launch a trailer for its #LFW show

17 Feb

 

Watch it live on Monday at 4pm GMT – www.Burberry.com

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