What? Your weren’t invited to Girorgio Armani’s Privé show in Paris last month? Come on 860,000 people attended! Online that is. His show was streamlined on MSN.com.
According to an article in today’s WWD, European designers and luxury goods firms (initially wary of
the cyber world)are suddenly
buzzing about new media and communication technologies, unveiling
six-figure gems online, dispatching fashion shows to cell phones and
iPods, and expanding e-commerce to more product lines and regions, from
the U.S. to Japan.
contend the high-tech world offers crucial new channels to communicate
with current and future customers, enrich their brand experience — and
capture impressive sales.
"For us, it’s like electricity,
trains, cars, planes were for other generations: It hadn’t existed
before," said Karl Lagerfeld, who last year did a live podcast of his
signature fashion show from New York. "The world has changed: For some
audiences, it will soon be the only way to reach them….Fashion has to
Gucci has also done a live Web cast of its
cruise collection, and offered a podcast of a store opening in Tokyo,
underlining the role of new technology for brand communication.
"I love the fact that this presentation is open to anyone who wants to
come and see it. There are three million people on Secondlife.com. You
can fly, meet people, sunbathe on a huge rock," Victoire de Castellane,
Dior’s fine jewelry designer, enthused about her online teaser.
In the early days of the Internet boom, luxury brands
feared online selling would undermine the exclusivity of a dedicated
brand environment, promote the "gray market," antagonize wholesale
clients and generate few profits, said Pierre Mallevays, founder and
managing partner of Savigny Partners, a luxury goods advisory and
mergers and acquisitions firm in London. "All those fears are pretty
much dissipated by now," he said. "The Internet channel is effectively
turning into the best or one of the best stores in each local market."
Prada recently teamed up
with LG Electronics of South Korea to launch a signature phone with an
advanced touch screen. The fashion house collaborated on every aspect,
from software and graphic interface to the design and packaging.
Prada is also venturing further onto the Internet. Besides an
interactive site for its perfumes, the brand introduced a new
informational site — pradatheleadingskischools.com — that is expected
to start selling Prada skiwear this fall, a company spokesman said. He
added the brand would sell special ready-to-wear and accessories
related to its America"s Cup sailing bid at lunarossachallenge.com.
Robert Triefus, Armani"s executive vice
president of worldwide communications, credited informational sites
like Style.com and multibrand online retailers like Net-a-porter,
Neiman Marcus, eLUXURY, Shopbop and Nordstrom for popularizing the Internet as a go-to
resource for fashion information and shopping. Today, "every magazine,
every editor, every publisher realizes they have to have a live and
interactive presence to complete the magazine."