THAT CLOSER LOOK: Staying Alive and Keeping It Real. Fashion, Technology and Social Media

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Burberry livestreamed its September 2016 show

The fashion industry continues to change. Many of these changes are related to the need for brands to adapt to and integrate digital technology. Some fashion brands like Burberry and Topshop have lead the way in successfully advancing the use of technology. They’ve presented collections online and made shopping online easier. One of Calvin Klein’s recent controversial campaigns drew inspiration from dating apps. Others like Celine, have fallen behind. At the heart of the digital challenge is the need for fashion brands to offer an authentic fashion experience within the limitations of a constantly changing digital media landscape.

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J.W. Anderson presented a collection on Grindr earlier this year.

Success in business means meeting this challenge. In a time when customers increasingly expect seamless offline and online brand experiences, fashion brands must adapt. This means keeping an eye on brand authenticity and moving beyond novel experimental approaches. J.W. Anderson may be capable of livestreaming a show on Grindr, but doing so needs to make sense for his brand.  Strategies should be grounded in planning and have clear objectives. At stake is customer loyalty, one of the most important goals a brand can achieve. Anderson understood the esthetics of his fashion appealed to the men using Grindr. He was making a bold move to meet his customers where they spend time.

Understanding Customer Expectations

The industry understands that fashion consumers are highly mobile, highly digital. They want an effortless multi-channel experience. Fashion advocates are looking to engage, to be involved, to include fashion brands as part of their self-concepts. They want to participate in brand love and to indulge. Used correctly, social media proves to be a valuable platform of invitation.

Social Media: Brand Awareness to Engagement

Until the past decade or so, fashion had traditional media such as magazines and television at its disposal. Traditional media largely impacts brand awareness. Customers know Brand X exists because of advertising, published editorials and public relations write-ups. On the other hand, social media has evolved to help achieve brand engagement. Customers are given a chance to interact, to receive advice and information, and to present customer service issues.

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THAT CLOSER LOOK: One VIP Invite for the Next Dolce & Gabbana Event, Please

Following Dolce and Gabbana’s Alta Moda in Naples, I could not have felt more proud and in total admiration. Being from Pompei, the world famous Italian archeological site, I know Naples as not just the closest city but also the symbol of my southern Italian roots. Watching what the fashion duo was able to organise in those streets where I usually have pizza with my friends or where I go shopping, my eyes simply shone in adoration.

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A shot of the advertorial campaign inspired by Alta Moda

Let’s start from the advertorial campaign inspired by Alta Moda. The pictures, savvily shot by the brave Franco Pagetti (who frequently shoots in war zones like Afghanistan and Kosovo) show the luxurious garments in the real streets of Naples. This combination of roughness (think about the cobbled streets or from the walls covered in graffiti) and exquisite elegance of every piece of clothing, makes these pictures stand out. It is impossible not to stop and look at every detail shown when you go through a fashion magazine or you spot a billboard in town. Then you also have the added bonus of noticing how the Neapolitans enjoyed themselves in such a setting, unaware of the fact that thousands of people will see their faces in glossy magazines all over the world.

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Villa Pignatelli, one of the event locations

The Alta Moda fashion show took part in San Gregorio Armeno, the street that for locals means craftmanship and creativity. Artisans here make by hand those characters that Italians use to embellish the nativity scene at Christmas. It’s a tradition that goes back centuries if not a millennium, and represents the heart of Neapolitan artisanship. As I watched highlights and videos of the catwalk I couldn’t help thinking that those models and gorgeous dresses were like those statues, so beautiful and decorated, just in flesh and bone.

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The Alta Moda catwalk in San Gregorio Armeno

But the catwalk was only one of the many events Dolce and Gabbana finely crafted to entertain their guests, show the world Naples and promote their Alta Moda. First was the exclusive aperitif in Villa Pignatelli the day before the fashion show. Then there was the extravagant banquet at Castel dell’Ovo (Yes, they reserved a whole castle!). These, along with the closing soirée on the seaside, elevated Dolce and Gabbana Alta Moda as special experience beyond the usual fashion event.

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Mambo Italiano: the theme of the dancing night on the beach

Therefore yes, having watched from afar all these events, clothes and delighted guests, I guess it is not that crazy to desperately desire to get some tickets for whatever event Dolce and Gabbana are planning next.

Maybe this year I will try something I haven’t done in a long time: to write that letter to Santa. And I hope he will pull some strings so that I will find under my Christmas tree, my dear tickets (If VIP, even better, Santa… if you are reading this.). At least I can try.

FASHION FILM: Kenzo “World” Le Nouveau Parfum! Directed by Spike Jonze

FASHION FILM: Kenzo "World" Le Nouveau Parfum! Directed by Spike Jonze
Kenzo World Le Nouveau Parfum
A CLOSER LOOK: Kenzo "World" Le Nouveau Parfum!. www.imageamplified.com, Image Amplified
by Storyline Illustration

Kenzo just served up a reminder as to why we fell for the fashion brand in the first place. Not too long ago social media was reeling from the disappointing first looks at their collaboration with H&M. After Kenzo suddenly exploded into ubiquitous Bro Wear mass appeal this summer, some were whispering that Kenzo had lost their cool.

What a turnaround. Kenzo, being the brand that gave David Lynch license to work over the runway formula, allowed Spike Jonze to flip the well familiar formula for the perfume commercial. Kenzo and Jonze have totally trolled the fashion film genre to hilarious effect.
 
W Magazine proclaims it to be the best music video of the year. Yes, it’s quite similar to Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” video. But “Weapon of Choice” is gold standard for music videos. Kenzo’s commercial has been crafted by pop counter culture royalty. This Kenzo partnership is a stroke of genius.

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SOUND CAFFEINE: Bjork Digital at Somerset House

THAT CLOSER LOOK: Bjork at Somerset House

THAT CLOSER LOOK: Bjork at Somerset House
by Storyline Illustration

Bjork is coming to Somerset House! Her exhibit will be there from September 1st, which is basically tomorrow.

We missed out on her exhibit at MOMA. However we’re excited to see her work on Biophillia and her Black Lake video, which will be showcased. This being an exhibit on Bjork, we’re expecting a unique juxtaposition of nature and technology, and its expression in music.
 
The exhibit at Somerset House will also feature video by Nick Knight, Michel Gondry, and Spike Jonze, who just released a top form commercial for Kenzo.
 
Check this space for our experience at Bjork Digital. Did we mention that we scored tickets for Bjork’s 24th of September performance? September is my birthday month, but I’ll happily christen it Bjork Month this year.

An immersive virtual reality exhibition from Icelandic icon Björk.

Somerset House is thrilled to announce the European premiere of Björk Digital, an exhib­ition of digital and video works, resulting from Björk’s collaborations with some of the finest visual artists and programmers in the world and coinciding with a special performance at the Royal Albert Hall.

Björk constantly and consistently challenges the status quo, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in music, art and technology. The exhibition at Somerset House invites visitors to engage with her work through the latest in virtual reality (VR) technology. Björk believes that by offering a private theatrical experience, VR provides a unique way to connect with her audiences.

The exhibition will include Black Lake, Björk’s groundbreaking immersive film commissioned by the New York’s Museum of Modern Art where the audience is treated to panoramic visuals and enveloped by a bespoke, cutting edge surround-sound system. Filmed in the highlands of Iceland, the work was directed by the Los Angeles-based filmmaker Andrew Thomas Huang. Huang also collaborated with Björk on Stonemilker VR, a project that transports the viewer to a private performance of the first track from Björk’s critically acclaimed Vulnicura album. Shot on location on a remote, windswept beach in Iceland and viewable in full 360-degree VR, the viewer will be able to experience a one-to-one recital.

In Mouthmantra VR, Björk worked with director Jesse Kanda to capture intense footage from inside her mouth whilst she sings the title track, her teeth and tongue twisting and seemingly taking on a life of their own. Meanwhile, Notget VR, directed by Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones, presents Björk as a digital moth giantess transformed by stunning masks created by artist James Merry.

As part of the European premiere of Björk Digital, Björk will hold two special concert performances in London in September. These are her only UK shows this year and her first London shows since her acclaimed sold out Biophilia show in the round at Alexandra Palace in 2013.

Somerset House’s edition of the Björk Digital exhibition will include never-before-seen work by Björk. There will also be an interactive educational space which showcases the innovative apps and custom-made musical instruments from Biophilia, an app created by Björk that explores music, nature and technology. A programme of Björk’s extensive video work will run alongside the exhibition, spanning the artist’s 24-year career during which she has collaborated with film directors including the award winning Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Nick Knight and Stephane Sedanaoui.

Bjork Digital Exhibition at Somerset House is supported by
Intel, AMD, HTC, Bowers and Wilkins and Barco Iosono.

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THAT CLOSER LOOK: Manus X Machina at the Met by Troy Wise

THAT CLOSER LOOK Manus X Machina at the Met by Troy Wise. Spring 2016, www.imageamplified.com, Image Amplified (2)

We’re  fascinated  by  technology’s  influence  on  fashion.  Technology  has  impacted  how  fashion communicates,  how  it  spreads,  and  how  it  connects.  However,  Andrew  Bolton’s  Manus  X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibit gives us a compelling look into how technology shapes how fashion is designed and produced.  We were eager to see Manus X Machina during our recent trip to New York.

The exhibit pointedly overturns the familiar hand vs. machine dichotomy, usually associated with the haute couture vs. prêt-à-porter categories of fashion. Handmade usually signifies exclusivity and individuality. The machine-made is generally regarded as inferior and appropriate only for the masses.  However,  Manus  x  Machina  reveals  that  when  it  comes  to  fashion,  the  handmade  and  the machine-made  aren’t  always  so  separate.  Haute  couture  and prêt-à-porter  have  frequently borrowed production processes from each other.

True, the first couture house used sewing machines for its seam work. However, fashion’s recent use of 3-D printing and materials like rubber, metal powders, magnets, and neoprene give us glimpses into fashion’s future.

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The view is distinctive, imaginative, and optimistic.  Technology is increasingly leading production innovation. As Bolton points out, “…the hand and the  machine  are  equal  and  mutual  protagonists  in  solving  design  problems,  enhancing  design practices, and ultimately, advancing the future of fashion.”

For example, Karl Lagerfeld’s bridal gown stands at the center of the show. As Lagerfeld points out, the use of moldable scuba neoprene material offers couture without the couture. Its train is 20 feet long, has been digitally pixelated, hand painted, and embroidered.  Lagerfeld’s gown is a continual intertwining of that made by hand, and that made by machine.  Gareth Pugh’s work seems like a natural fit for such an exhibit. There are also pieces from Prada, Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen.

THAT CLOSER LOOK Manus X Machina at the Met by Troy Wise. Spring 2016, www.imageamplified.com, Image Amplified (8)

Some of our favorites are from Iris van Herpen. Having created her first 3-D printed dresses in 2009, she has created truly remarkable silhouettes, and is at the forefront of embracing the fashion opportunities afforded by emerging technology.  The Manus x Machina exhibit examines fashion’s place in the “Age of Technology.” It also imbues us with a sense of the new, offering us a glimpse of the future that is just starting to unfold.  Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 5 – August 14, 2016.

Ph: Troy Wise

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