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What you missed: Blockchain in fashion, the dark side of digital luxury, Alibaba on tech’s future

Blockchain fashion
Blockchain in use at Shanghai Fashion Week

The role Blockchain will play in the fashion industry is our top story this week after it was documented from a storytelling and verification perspective at Shanghai Fashion Week by Babyghost and VeChain. The opportunity for the fashion industry at large to look to embrace it for anti-counterfeiting and provenance is brought to mind.

Meanwhile, the ongoing struggle of luxury brands has been strongly documented this past week, from the positive effect Brexit has had on the likes of Burberry to a new report from Bain/Altagamma on what’s ahead. That sits alongside insight from Luca Solca, head of luxury goods at BNP Exane Paribas, on the strategic threats of digital to luxury brands.

Also worth reading this week are predictions for the future of technology from Alibaba’s Jack Ma and an interview with Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts on turning stores into town squares. Don’t forget to also sign up for our Snapchat Masterclass before the early bird rate ends on Oct 31.

  • Blockchain technology hit Shanghai Fashion Week [Bitcoin Magazine]
  • The dark side of digital [BoF]
  • Alibaba’s Jack Ma just predicted the next 30 years of technological change [Fortune]
  • Speed, transparency and efficiency lead Blockchain’s potential for disruption [Stores]

  • If not for Brexit, Burberry would be in even bigger trouble [Quartz]
  • Luxury isn’t having a very good year [NY Times]
  • 8 experts predict the 2016 holiday shopping season [Retail Dive]
  • Is the new working? [BoF]
  • MPs unanimously back motion to strip Sir Philip Green of his knighthood [The Industry]

  • Why chat may be king of the new mobile landscape [Fast Company]
  • Fashion brand All Saints uses Instagram as a sales channel [Digiday]
  • Fendi extends life of Snapchat stories with international album [Luxury Daily]
  • Here’s how brands like Nordstrom are cashing in on Snapchat’s long-awaited API [AdWeek]
  • How Nike is beating brands like Apple and Adidas at Twitter customer care [AdWeek]

  • Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts on turning stores into town squares [Fortune]
  • Everlane mulling brick and mortar efforts [Retail Dive]

  • YOOX Net-A-Porter unveils plans for new London technology hub [Vogue]
  • Why ‘Silicon Valley Fashion Week’ is not a joke [WWD]
  • Charlotte Tilbury’s new virtual ‘magic mirror’ serves as active make-up selling tool [Forbes]
  • Shiseido partnered with Microsoft to create a make-up filter for women who telecommute [Quartz]
  • Mirror scans your face and prints the perfect make-up [PSFK]
  • Brands are testing programmatic catalogues [Glossy]

  • Your brilliant Kickstarter idea could be on sale in China before you’ve even finished funding it [Quartz]

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Charlotte Tilbury opens Westfield London store with “magic mirror” serving as active selling tool

The new Charlotte Tilbury store at Westfield London (Image: Charlotte Tilbury)
The new Charlotte Tilbury store at Westfield London (Image: Charlotte Tilbury)

In just three short years, Charlotte Tilbury make-up has become somewhat of an obsession among its fans. Heralded by the celebrities and models the namesake artist has long worked with herself, it’s transposed into the consumer market at a rapid rate, popping up with counters all around the world and a second standalone store opening in Westfield London this week.

Core to the offering from a marketing perspective is a strong digital presence anchored by beauty tutorials, an eagerness to experiment with new technologies, like virtual reality for its Kate Moss-endorsed fragrance launch for instance, and a true sense of experience in the stores themselves.

Shoppers can book makeover sessions to recreate one of the 10 signature looks Tilbury products are built around – from Bombshell to Dolce Vita. Each take around 45 minutes, and unsurprisingly, serve as an opportunity to sell the items being used, either as a package or individually.

That part isn’t a new concept for a beauty brand. What is, in the Westfield store, is a virtual mirror that aims to help the decision process for which look to go for in the first place, or indeed which items to choose if you don’t have time for one of those tutorials at all.

Sitting atop a plush burgundy seat, users can choose any one of the 10 looks to see it superimposed on their own faces on a screen in front of them, thanks to augmented reality technology from creative studio Holition. In real-time, lips, eyes even make-up on the skin is transformed and mapped to the individual’s features so they can turn their heads, look closer, even close one eye to appreciate the shades even more. From a first-hand perspective, it’s an incredibly genuine and realistic experience.

Rachel Arthur trying out the Charlotte Tilbury magic mirror by Holition
Rachel Arthur trying out the Charlotte Tilbury magic mirror by Holition

Holition’s creative team reportedly worked closely with Tilbury’s make-up artists to understand the way in which the products are applied in real-life, including how they are layered and blended.

Said Jonathan Chippindale, CEO of Holition: “We [needed] to clearly understand how make-up is applied and only then could we start to create this digitally and make the virtual look as realistic as possible… Our creatives spent many months creating and perfecting the 10 looks including colour, shape, skin tone and face tracking.”

The full range of products is available for try-on including foundation, blusher, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipliner, lipstick and contouring techniques. A clever button has even been added to show how the look can be transformed for night and day – a nude lip with dark eyes on the one hand, updated with a red lip for the evening for instance.

Users can then save looks to compare them, share them and even email them to themselves. Better yet, they can also choose to see all 10 looks comparatively side by side – in just 40 seconds. That’s a significant boon for anyone not sure what suits them and short on time.

Indeed, while there’s something inherently gimmicky about the majority of so-called “magic mirrors” we’ve seen in the market to-date – augmented reality try-ons often for the sake of it rather than because of the fact it really helps you make a decision – this one serves as an enormous selling opportunity for the brand.

Rachel Arthur’s 10 looks wardrobe via the Charlotte Tilbury magic mirror by Holition
Rachel Arthur’s 10 looks wardrobe via the Charlotte Tilbury magic mirror by Holition

Providing consumers with the option for a real-life make-up session remains an important one, and the heart of the Tilbury experience, but it is hoped the ability to help the decision making process along the way through the use of this digital tool, will result in greater cross-selling, not to mention customer satisfaction.

Indeed, anecdotally, one of the team members from Holition on-hand to launch the magic mirrors to press this week, said a key attendee had believed she was set on one particular look to then go and have done by a make-up artist in real-life, but the mirror completely changed her mind. The ease by which shoppers can similarly determine what they want is a promising one, they said.

On the new store, Tilbury said: “It’s make-up made easy, but also fun and engaging. I can only liken it to falling down Alice’s rabbit hole into a world of make-up enchantment – my stores are all about making make-up easy-to-use, easy-to-choose, and easy-to-shop in a luxurious theatrical, sensory environment.”

Virtual try-on isn’t a new concept in the beauty industry, with brands and retailers including L’Oréal, Rimmel and Sephora all having their own versions of augmented reality experiences to-date. Rather than full-sized physical stands, however, they have tended to be apps at this stage; tools that allow the user to independently play around with different looks and products through their mobile phone screens.

What will be interesting then, will be to see how consumers actually take to engaging with this technology in-store. There’s still a perceived barrier in the retail world for shoppers to willingly interact with screens for fear they’re not supposed to. In this instance, however, the mirrors will be used as assisted selling tools, especially to begin with, thus actively encouraged by associates.

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Topshop launches Kate Moss video series ahead of new collection

Topshop has revealed the first in a series of videos in the run up to its new Kate Moss collection launch.

The line will hit stores on April 30 for the first time since 2010. Accordingly the retailer has teamed up with NOWNESS to tease its arrival through a total of eight films dedicated to the “supermodel, muse and designer”.

Each one will feature one of Kate’s friends and fashion contacts shot by Leigh Johnson, and providing “never before seen access to the notoriously private Kate”, as Grazia puts it.

The first, as above, stars BBC Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw. Others will include Charlotte Tilbury, Amanda Harlech, Beth Ditto, Cara Delevingne, Vivienne Westwood and Natalie Massenet. That makes a total of seven, meaning the eighth may star the always-elusive Moss herself.

Here in the meantime is an additional Topshop teaser featuring the model talking about the collection from behind-the-scenes at the Topshop design studio: