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Virtual Valentino museum opens, sets the bar for digital designer archives

Valentino Garavani and Giancarlo Giammetti

The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum launched today, and is well worth a look.

As reported last month, it showcases five decades of the designer’s fashion history in an immersive 3-D experience; 300 dresses, 5000 images, 100 show videos, all in an equivalent real-world space of 10,000sq m.

Although officially retired from Valentino ‘the brand’, Valentino Garavani and his business partner Giancarlo Giammetti (pictured above) have been working on it for the past two years.

Speaking at a press conference in New York this morning (watch on YouTube), the duo explained that the aim was to showcase the work of a “life dedicated to beauty”, and make it accessible to as many people as possible.

It’s a particularly interesting move for a traditionally non tech-savvy brand (Giammetti joked at Valentino’s inability to even turn the television on).

“It all started with where to keep the enormous amount of things we’ve collected for nearly 50 years,” said Giammetti. “How to make it available to everyone that wants to see it; and how to make it exciting year after year without things becoming dusty or obsolete. Why not then use modern technology… where everyone can move with just a click.”

Albeit in essence a legacy space, Giammetti was quick to highlight that the work continues tomorrow; both in terms of keeping up with technological change, and providing fresh content.

Indeed to encourage return visitors, there will be frequent updates to the museum, be it additional rooms, new drawings and ideas – as suggested by Valentino – or video insights from the likes of Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue who also spoke this morning.

Giammetti pointed out that the museum was funded by themselves and has no sponsors. For them, the numbers are irrelevant, he said. The app is free to download in anycase.

Nonetheless, it will be intriguing to see how it actually does. The McQueen exhibition at the Met was one of the Costume Institute’s most successful of all time; if you were interested in fashion – indeed even if you weren’t – it proved a must-see on the New York calendar this year. Could an online museum ever have the same pulling power?

But perhaps that’s irrelevant. What counts is that Valentino is advancing the fashion industry. While digital destinations to accompany exhibitions have been played with for a few years, virtual archive museums in their entirety are now likely to become increasingly commonplace.

Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway, who hosted the press conference, explained how Valentino and Giammetti together helped shape the industry in the 1960s. “Now, they’re repeating that inspiration,” she said, “setting the bar for other fashion brands around the world.”

I agree.

See below for a virtual tour of the museum, as well as a number of pictures from within it… 

 

The museum entrance
The Red Room
The White Room
The Print and Pastels Room
The Animal Print Room
The Embroidery Room
The image library
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Tripping up on the red carpet

Good point of view about the digital attempts around this year’s Oscars on the Iconoculture blog…

by Robert van Alstyne:

Any way you look at it, the 83rd Annual Academy Awards telecast was a dud. Fresh-faced cohosting talents James Franco and Anne Hathaway fell flat both critically and commercially. And ratings among viewers ages 18-49 were down 12% from last year (Variety.com, 28 February 2011).

But the accompanying online chatter soared. Twitter saw a volume of 36.4 million tweets during the five-hour telecast (PaidContent.org, 28 February 2011). ABC looked to join the dual-screen viewing frenzy by complementing its telecast with “Oscar Backstage Pass,” a mobile application that promised an inside look at Hollywood’s big night for just a buck.

What this actually amounted to was a spate of fixed-angle video feeds that users could click between to get a poorly lit glimpse of the Kodak Theater’s lobby bar or shakily shot take on the red carpet. It got worse when the curtain rose, with a snooze-inducing look inside the telecast control room featuring pumped-in muzak, and a pointless bird’s-eye view of the theater audience viewable only during commercials. Without the aid of curation, the user was always uncertain as to where she should be looking and when.

What made “Backstage” bunk was its complete social media disconnect, turning what might have been a seamless two-screen experience into a tiresome three-screen regimen for the viewer wishing to watch the telecast, use the app and enjoy Twitter witticisms simultaneously. To truly channel event-driven energy in the mobile space, seamless social media integration is as important as a Miramax-backed Oscar campaign.

[Iconowatch]

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Oscars offer 360 digital experience

Given that I’m currently in Los Angeles and the build-up to the 83rd Academy Awards has already begun, I thought I’d post a quick update on all things digital surrounding this year’s Oscars.

It’s a big push from the Academy this year to involve as many people as possible, thus the tagline You’re Invited.

In a bid to attract a younger (and inevitably larger) viewership, young stars James Franco and Anne Hathaway have of course been recruited as the hosts, but so too are there a wealth of new online initiatives surrounding the event for the first time.

Between 20 to 30 cameras have been set up to offer online viewers a broader experience than ever before. Alongside the usual TV coverage, there is access to everything from a thank you cam to a press room cam. For just $4.99 fans can also purchase the premium All Access service which offers a 360 degree camera.

Those using an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch can also download the Backstage Pass app which similarly provides live streams from the various cameras around the Kodak Theatre venue in Hollywood.

Across platforms, the coverage spreads not only from the red carpet and ceremony itself, but backstage to see things like the winners getting their statues engraved, and a look inside the Governor’s Ball celebration thereafter.

The celebrities are more into digital this year too with live tweets from host @JamesFranco and other stars during the show.

A great start – there were already 1600 tweets per minute about the Oscars at the beginning of the red carpet coverage.

Happy watching!