It’s great to see luxury fashion houses finally grasping hold of the fact the web provides an ideal place for them to demonstrate the richness of their brands.
Slowly but surely, we’re moving away from tremendously uninspiring sites built on basic building blocks, to innovative platforms housing everything the company both stands for and creates. Accordingly, that once awful label of ‘digital destination’, might finally be warranted after all.
Admittedly not all of them are quite there…
Dior.com recently relaunched, for instance, and its yet to prove itself as impressive as its preview video implied – a little clunky in functionality, and that’s before we get into the remaining lack of e-commerce debate.
And then there’s say Marc Jacobs, which, as Tony King, creative director of King & Partners, highlighted last week at the Fashion Forward Digital conference in New York, doesn’t quite live up to the luxurious persona with its animated entrance point. (For the record he drew on the likes of Burberry, Oki-ni, Bally and Tory Burch, among others, as examples of digital best practice).
Said to be “an exciting, ever-changing format of exceptional richness and visual appeal”, its design is based on the concept of a journey, tying in, of course, with the brand’s longstanding initiative, The Art of Travel.
On the homepage, a moving cloud of images entices users towards five sections of content:
- New, Now: the brand’s online magazine, which offers insights into the house, interviews with international personalities and coverage of events
- Journeys: the home of the Core Values campaign, such as this season’s travels to Cambodia with Angelina Jolie, as well as historical content on the brand, details on its craftsmanship, artistic collaborations and store architecture, and links to its Amble application
- Collections: a presentation of the entire product range, featuring new moving and 360° images. A multiple search functionality is also integrated, allowing users to refine by category, line, colour or collection
- Stores: a detailed information feed of Louis Vuitton stores worldwide
- My LV: a dedicated personalised space for users to access bookmarked content such as news and wish lists, and info on past purchases
It’s certainly a hefty offering. The question is, once users have entered in, will they stay long enough to actually navigate their way through it all? While the content is beautifully done (albeit surprisingly in Flash), the functionality is a little slow, and if it’s a sale they’re after, the route to buy is not all that straightforward, once again. But on what level does this matter?
With a brand like Louis Vuitton, is it more important to immerse and engage consumers in the experience with the aim of developing them into sales properties later? Or certainly at least driving them into store instead? Maybe so.
As Rich Tong, fashion director of blogging platform Tumblr recently told me in reference to Oscar de la Renta’s use of social media, it’s about awareness and brand building.
“Oscar de la Renta sells $5,000-$10,000 dresses; there is absolutely no correlation between those dresses and a 15-year-old in the Tumblr community. But Erika [Bearman, director of communications] is aiming more for establishing the Oscar brand in that little girl’s mind, so that when she grows up and does become established or successful, or becomes engaged and wants to get married, she’s thinking: ‘I want to be in an Oscar dress, I want to be an Oscar girl’,” he said.
“For Erika, it’s really about the persistence of the brand; seeding the Oscar brand in these girls’ minds really, really early on. It’s a long-term play.”
Louis Vuitton – once it’s ironed out a few creases – in that case, might just be on to a winner. It’ll be interesting to see how it develops.