The global pandemic created a new chapter for the fashion industry. Some found it hard to adjust, and some saw the challenge as an opportunity to be creative and innovative. With the in-person fashion shows being not feasible, the designers had to come up with new ways to present their collections, and it looks like Virtual Reality shows are among the latest fashion trends. Famous designers like Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia, Jenn Lee, Louis Vuitton’s Nicolas Ghesquière and many more, accepted the challenge and took it into another reality.
Jenn Lee’s breathtaking 360 Virtual Reality show took place during London Fashion Week and presented her fall-winter collection. The VR display strived to bring together the ideas of transformation and dissipation. In this film, the chaotic Virtual Reality world was compared with real characters from our everyday life. For this project, Jenn Lee teamed up with Renovation Pictures, Inc. and was joined by a group of Taiwanese celebrities, actors, musicians, influencers, make-up artists and designers in seeking the utopia via virtual reality. (Torio, 2021)
Balenciaga collaborated with Oculus - a company specialising in VR Headsets and equipment for their dystopian autumn- winter 2021 collection. Their guests and press worldwide received Oculus glasses to experience the virtual reality runaway show. On top of that, Balenciaga released a video game called Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, available through their website.
The fashion show took place in a blacked-out venue with elevated runaway and a soundtrack resembling a video game score. The guests were sited with other people around them, so realistic that they could study their wardrobe and even their body language. The audience, of course, was part of the virtual reality world. (Madsen, 2020)
After the show, Demna Gvasalia, the creative director of Balenciaga, told Vogue that: “The fashion industry will have to face this inevitable new chapter and come up with its own solutions in everything from how it deals with creativity and innovation to how it makes and communicates product. It is unknown territory, but a very exciting one. Only the true and authentic creative intelligence will be able to pass a long-term test of survival. (…)”
Nicolas Ghesquière, the creative director of Louis Vuitton took a different approach and demonstrated a ‘phytigal’ show - a combination of the physical and digital show. (Hawkins, 2020) The audience physically present could enjoy the socially distanced fashion show based on the top floor of La Samaritaine, a newly remodelled department store owned by LVHM, while non-attending guests were able to watch the show from their homes. The event was captured by 360-degree cameras, which allowed the at-home viewers to rotate while watching to see models passing and catching all the details of LV’s new designs. (Andrews, 2020) The absent journalists had allocated digitised seats, which allowed them to view the show online, while seated next to members of the actual audience, all from the comfort of their house. (Hawkins, 2020) Furthermore, the venue was fitted with green screens on walls and floors, so the at-home viewers, watching via live stream, could see models wearing the new collection against video clips of Wim Wenders 1987 romantic fantasy ‘Wings of Desire’. (Hawkins, 2020)
https://vimeo.com/490724884 Over the past months, Virtual Reality became more popular and important in the fashion world. Due to the pandemic, a lot of brands were not able to showcase their collection during an in-person fashion show and chose VR as an alternative. That allowed them to create something different, creative and fresh. For the at-home attendees, VR not only made the shows more accessible but also gave them a chance to experience having front row sighting and feeling. (Fashion Week Online, n.d.) Something, they otherwise would not have an access to.
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Written by Gabi, The AMTEvents Team
Andrews, C., 2020. Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2021 Virtual Reality Runway Experience. [online] ChicTrends. Available at: <https://chictrends.co.uk/chictrends-louis-vuittons-spring-summer-2021-virtual-reality-runway-experience/>.
Balenciaga, 2021. [image] Available at: <https://videogame.balenciaga.com/en/>.
Davidson, E., 2020. 3D clothes and VR fashion week: meet the duo making them happen. [online] Dazed. Available at: <https://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/50005/1/institute-digital-fashion-catty-taylor-leanne-elliott-young-3d-clothes-vr-tech>.
Fashion Week Online, n.d. VR Fashion Shows: What to Expect | Fashion Week Online. [online] Fashion Week Online. Available at: <https://fashionweekonline.com/vr-fashion-shows-expect>.
Hawkins, L., 2020. IRL to URL: S/S 2021’s most innovative show presentations. [online] Wallpaper. Available at: <https://www.wallpaper.com/fashion/innovative-ss-2021-fashion-presentations>.
Madsen, A., 2020. The video game imagines a new world. [online] British Vogue. Available at: <https://www.vogue.co.uk/news/gallery/balenciaga-autumn-winter-2020?image=5fcd118e94cc0b65da0f151b>.
Torio, A., 2021. Jenn Lee’s Virtual Reality Show for London Fashion Week - Our Culture. [online] Our Culture. Available at: <https://ourculturemag.com/2021/02/25/jenn-lees-virtual-reality-show-for-london-fashion-week/>.