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Balmain to host public music concerts around menswear show

Balmain is adding a musical element to its spring/summer 2020 menswear runway show in Paris, with a series of live concerts that will follow the close of the catwalk.

In the spirit of Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing’s ambition to “democratize and modernize fashion”, the events will also be accessible to the public. A total of 1,500 free tickets will be made available on the Balmain website.

The show’s musical elements tie into the annual Fête De La Musique, a celebration that takes place on the same day, June 21, throughout the French capital.

For the activation, Balmain is set to take over the Jardin des Plantes, erecting a temporary space for its audience. The runway show’s soundtrack will be provided by French DJ Gesaffelstein, whom Balmain dressed for his show at Coachella.

Olivier Rousteing has in the past already championed his ambition to democratize customer’s access to the brand’s universe. In January he launched a dedicated app that allowed fans to see the houses couture live on their phone, as well as play with augmented reality content. In 2015, the French luxury brand also collaborated with fast-fashion retailer H&M on a capsule collection at affordable prices.

This menswear show also encompasses a philanthropic element, supporting the fight against AIDS through the RED organization. All revenue made from food and drink served at the event, alongside merchandise of limited-edition products, will be donated to the fund.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more

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Editor's pick Events technology

7 tech activations that stood out this fashion week season

Brands are constantly evolving their approach to tech during fashion week. This season we saw designers reinvent the show space yet again by using tools including artificial intelligence, LED sets and mixed reality powered by 5G to create memorable (and shareable) experiences for their guests.

Here are seven of the most interesting ways brands did so…

Rag & Bone’s AI guest
Rag & Bone’s “The Last Supper”

Rag & Bone decided to throw a fashion week dinner with one very special attendee: an artificial intelligence system designed by artist and creative technologist, Ross Goodwin. At “The Last Supper”, guests sat at a U-shaped table while their conversations and actions were filmed and analyzed by a series of cameras. Towards the end of the event, the guests were treated to a video that showed the AI’s view of their dinner party interspersed with models wearing Rag & Bone’s new collection.

Central Saint Martin’s mixed reality show powered by 5G
Central Saint Martins 5G mixed reality fashion show
Central Saint Martins 5G mixed reality fashion show

Mixed reality animations illuminated looks designed by MA students from Central Saint Martins university for their annual showcase during London Fashion Week. Imagine lightning bolts, skulls and even tiger heads beaming/ moving around the models. The university teamed up with mobile network, Three, and creative agency, Rewind, to bring the animations to life. 10 attendees, including Jourdan Dunn and Natalie Dormer, sported Magic Leap’s One mixed reality headsets, while others could see the animations on screens around the catwalk. “The future of design and fashion is intrinsically linked with the evolution of tech and we are seeing more and more disruptive and innovative technologies shaking up the way the design and fashion industries operate,” said Jeremy Till, head of Central Saint Martins.

Gucci and Saint Laurent’s LED runways
Gucci’s Fall Winter 2019 Fashion Show

LED bulbs decorated the runways of two major shows: Gucci and Saint Laurent, this season. As an experiment in futurism, both hosted mirrored LED runways that further illuminated their colorful garments. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele installed more than 120,000 LED bulbs to cover the walls around the 100-meter long circular runway for his Milan fashion show. The kaleidoscope of lights created a dramatic and theatrical experience for show-goers. Meanwhile, Anthony Vaccarello turned the Saint Laurent showspace into a runway rave in Paris. Wearing glow-in-the-dark shoes and garments, models strutted down the catwalk alongside hundreds of pulsing bulbs and infinity mirrors.

Real-time shopping at 11 Honoré
11 Honore fashion show
11 Honore NYFW show

There are always new ways to innovate even when using long since established technologies like QR codes.The luxury, size-inclusive ecommerce retailer, 11 Honoré, created the ultimate see-now-buy-now experience for its New York Fashion Week debut, enabling guests to shop the runway through a lookbook distributed to them containing QR codes. Using their phone to scan the codes, attendees could then purchase looks in real time. This was part of a partnership with Shopify, which wanted to showcase yet another functionality for mobile shopping.

Christian Siriano’s crowdsourced feedback
Christian Siriano RTW F19
Christian Siriano RTW Fall 19 show

To make fashion more accessible, designer Christian Siriano decided to take advantage of crowdsourcing and let the audience vote in real time on the looks on his New York runway. To do this, he partnered with SAP technologies to create an app that allowed both attendees and remote viewers to select if they “liked” or “loved” the looks. Powered by machine learning, the app was able to identify looks regardless of show order changes because the design team had uploaded stock images of each one into the app prior to the event. This created a more direct connection between the customers and the designer. According to WWD, the SAP runway app was previously piloted by Badgley Mischka, and there are potential plans for further rollout during September’s fashion week season.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Instagram Stories templates
Tommy Hilfigers Instagram Story templates
Tommy Hilfigers Instagram Story templates

Tommy Hilfiger partnered with mobile app Unfold on an Instagram Stories template collection that was released during the brand’s show for Paris Fashion Week. To spice up their Instagram Stories, users could choose from 15 limited-edition templates when uploading photos and videos. Designs included variations of the Tommy Hilfiger logo, as well as colorful prints exclusive to the Tommy Hilfiger’s spring 2019 TommyXZendaya collection, which features 22-year-old actress and singer Zendaya.

Rebecca Minkoff’s audience-driven social campaign
Rebecca Minkoff Runway SS19
Rebecca Minkoff Spring/Summer 19 show

With social sharing front of mind, Rebecca Minkoff’s New York show saw guests able to be part of a digital collage created by artist Rosanna Webster, who designed the brand’s female empowerment campaign “I Am Many”. As a way to incorporate them into the campaign, guests took selfies with a camera that worked as a portable photobooth. These photos were then worked into a collage that appeared in a mini-video inspired by Rebecca Minkoff’s brand campaign. The experience was meant to promote brand awareness and generate ROI. According to the designer, fashion shows aren’t just about posting pictures, but also a way for the consumer to embrace the experience. “Today, the [fashion] landscape isn’t about commerce; it’s about experience and standing for what you believe in; consumers want to be in a tribe,” Minkoff herself said.  

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more. 


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Campaigns technology

Tommy Hilfiger launches Instagram Stories templates ahead of fashion week show

Tommy Hilfiger is celebrating the launch of its collection with actress Zendaya, which is to be unveiled at Paris Fashion Week tomorrow, by encouraging social media followers to post branded Instagram Stories.

Ahead of the upcoming launch of the TommyXZendaya collaboration the label is partnering with app Unfold, which creates templates for Instagram Stories, on a series of 15 Tommy-branded templates that include prints and logos.

Upon using the Unfold app users can select the Tommy group of templates, and from then work on top of them by adding their own imagery and copy. Designs include variations of the Tommy Hilfiger logo, as well as colorful prints exclusive to the TommyXZendaya collection.

Templates will be available until March 12, while during the show tomorrow, Unfold will take over the brand’s Instagram Stories coverage.

Tommy Hilfiger’s fashion week presentations have become the brand’s platform of choice to test out new technologies that further invite its audience – whether watching the show in person or at home – into its universe. For example for its spring 2018 show in Milan, Formula 1-inspired TOMMYNOW DRIVE, attendees could scan QR codes to unlock more content on the collection and the manufacturing of a Mercedes racing car.

Last year the Current Global’s Innovators podcast spoke to Avery Baker, recently departed chief brand officer at Tommy Hilfiger, on the brand’s innovation strategy and how risk and authenticity play major roles in achieving it.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

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business Editor's pick Uncategorized

H&M forgoes fashion week for three-day immersive theater format

H&M is set to introduce its SS19 Studio collection on a three-day trip to the desert in Sedona, Arizona, forgoing its yearly Paris Fashion Week show. The collection, launching on March 11, will be unfolded in front of key influencers and members of the global press through a series of immersive events taking place during the trip, casting guests as active participants. 

“H&M has always been an innovation-led company and we are proud to launch the H&M Studio SS19 collection, with this new format,” said Kattis Barhke, H&M’s head of creative marketing and communication. “We hope that our guests will have a unique experience, partaking in the immersive theatre set-up and narrative we have devised, and that our customers will in turn be able to see the new collection, which combines practical utility pieces with glamorous after-dark options, in a context of wanderlust.”

The Swedish brand worked alongside London-based creativity agency Sunshine, creative and production agency PRODJECT and creative consultant Connie Harrison to develop the experience.

“Many fashion brands are moving towards creating fashion shows that are more experiential, but this is the first time a brand has fully embraced theater and invited guests to come along with them,” adds Keith Baptista, co-founder and managing director at PRODJECT. “We have devised a fictional narrative with multiple layers, so that participants can engage with the story on either a basic or much deeper level. Above all, we want to celebrate the spirituality, beauty and sense of exploration connected with Sedona, Arizona with an event that is truly unique.”

H&M’s move further questions the once-unanimous importance of the official fashion week calendar, which has been losing strength year after year as brands release collections beyond the traditional bi-seasonal model and consumers become more accustomed with see-now-buy-now. Tommy Hilfiger is another great example of a brand that is launching its collections by creating unique moments beyond the noise of fashion week. So far, its TOMMY NOW catwalk experience has traveled to New York, Los Angeles, London, Milan and Shanghai.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce Events mobile product Retail social media sustainability technology Uncategorized

ICYMI: beauty tech takes over CES, UK retail’s year of doom, the fake influencer problem

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • The future of beauty is on display at CES [CNN]
  • UK retail sales suffer worst year in more than a decade [BoF]
  • Fake influencers cost brands more than 200 million dollars [Fashion United]
TECHNOLOGY
  • IBM unveils its first commercial quantum computer [TechCrunch]
  • Amazon sets up virtual furniture showroom online [RetailDive]
  • Baidu announces Apollo Enterprise, its new platform for mass-produced autonomous vehicles [TechCrunch]
  • Here’s everything Google announced at CES 2019 [TechCrunch]
  • Bell’s hybrid-electric flying car will be available via Uber by the ‘mid-2020s’ [The Verge]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Boohoo faux fur jumper found to contain real fur [Fashion United]
  • Survey finds ‘conscious consumerism’ a top priority for Gen Z shoppers [WWD]
  • Asos and PVH Corp. join Global Fashion Agenda as strategic partners [Fashion Network]
  • NHL, Adidas to create sustainable jerseys for All-Star Game [WWD]
  • Los Angeles is hosting the very first Vegan Fashion Week [Dazed]
  • Bangladesh strikes: thousands of garment workers clash with police over poor pay [The Guardian]
  • Reusing, upcycling and innovation to be integral at the upcoming Circular Fashion Games [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Outlet malls seize WeChat to bring online traffic offline [Jing Daily]
  • Microsoft and Kroger to create data-driven connected grocery stores [Venture Beat]
  • Calvin Klein to rebrand 205W39NYC line, close Madison Avenue store [Fashionista]
  • The sweater you don’t like is a trillion-dollar problem for retailers. These companies want to fix it [CNBC]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Lululemon’s next target is mindfulness for men [Quartz]
  • Novak Djokovic takes time out to meet his greatest opponent, thanks to SEIKO [PR Newswire]
PRODUCT
  • Neutrogena unveils personalized, 3-D-printed sheet masks at CES [WWD]
  • L’Oréal’s newest prototype detects wearers’ skin pH levels [The Verge]
  • Simplehuman looks to upgrade beauty accessories business with CES launch [WWD]
  • Nike stretches into Lululemon’s space with 1st yoga line [RetailDive]
  • Goop alumni launch the “Sephora of CBD” to target the cannabis curious [FastCompany]
  • The North Face debuts new outerwear technology [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • CFDA report highlights what it will take to achieve a truly diverse and inclusive fashion [W24]
  • These latina Avon sellers have dominated a beauty company modeled on white womanhood [Buzzfeed]
  • Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya to show at Paris Fashion Week [Fashionista]
  • L’Occitane acquires Elemis for $900 million, eyes Asia expansion [WWD]
  • 38 percent of fashion and beauty brands plan to launch collaborations in 2019 [Fashion United]
  • Moschino has a code word for black shoppers, according to damning new lawsuit [The Fashion Law]
  • Dior switches Paris catwalk date to avoid ‘yellow vest’ protests [Reuters]
  • Debenhams rescue plan could involve closure of more than half of its stores [The Industry]
  • HSBC predicts luxury market to slow down in 2019 [Fashion United]
CULTURE
  • Gucci Garden opens exhibition dedicated to reflections on masculinity [WWD]
  • Miuccia Prada’s take on freedom of speech, cultural appropriation [WWD]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

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Editor's pick product Retail sustainability

Courregès ends iconic use of vinyl plastic with countdown pop-up

Courregès Fin du Plastique
Courregès Fin du Plastique

Courregès has opened a pop-up store in Paris that aims to make a statement about ending its use of plastics from here on out.

The Fin du Plastique initiative, as it’s called, marks the brand counting down its stock of shiny vinyl, a plastic it has been renowned for using for over 50 years.

Numbered products made from 6,000 meters of the stuff, are on sale until the material runs out. There’s a mix of current fall/winter 2018 pieces, as well as some archive looks revived by the brand’s new artistic director, Yolanda Zobel.

A colourful plastic bag print also features, with the words Fin or The Future is Behind You, on it.

“I have millions of meters of this amazing vinyl, and as it’s the iconic fabric of the house, I cannot dismiss it – it’s inspiring. I love the vinyl, its shine, but you can’t say hi to the new without bye to the old,” Zobel, said.

From here on, she will aim to source sustainable or recycled versions instead. “There’s no better world coming if we don’t take actions today.”

Courregès Fin du Plastique
Courregès Fin du Plastique

That comes as the industry at large starts to assess it use of plastics, as well as an aim for more circular materials across the board.

Brands like Stella McCartney has long been experimenting with such aims – exploring recycled plastics, more sustainable viscose, regenerated cashmere and more. Invites to her next show, which takes place on Monday in Paris, say: “Green is the new black.”

Yesterday Courregès sent a new collection down the Paris Fashion Week runway, which similarly made a statement about ending its use of plastics from here on out. “Fin du Plastique” and “The Future Is Behind You” were phrases extolled throughout as Zobel explored a post-plastics collection, using up more of the remains in the house and promising to invest profits from the brand back into developing an alternative material for the future.

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business data digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Inside Target’s test store, algorithms threatening jobs, L’Occitane’s AI personalization

Target
Target

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • Inside Target’s top secret test store [Co.Design]
  • How algorithms are threatening fashion’s white-collar jobs [BoF]
  • L’Occitane boosts mobile conversions by 159% with AI-powered personalization [Mobile Marketing]
TECHNOLOGY
  • What blockchain can’t do [HBR]
  • Think you know how disruptive artificial intelligence is? Think again [Forbes]
  • Top Japan fashion site bets big on custom-fit fast fashion [BoF]
  • Baidu’s self-driving buses will hit Japan’s streets next year [TNW]
  • How SK-II disrupted the beauty industry in Japan with emerging technology [TheDrum]
  • Watch MIT’s blind robot run, jump, and climb stairs [TNW]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Factory Tour: Eileen Fisher helps make the eco-fashion dream of circularity come true [Fashionista]
  • Wrangler and MyFarms talk ‘field-level’ sustainability in new report [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • 27% of apparel sales are now online [RetailDive]
  • Why virtual reality won’t revolutionize retail, but scan-and-go will [RetailDive]
  • Sophia Webster puts her spin on experiential retail with second London boutique [WWD]
  • Reporter’s notebook: A quest for experiential retail [RetailDive]
  • Walmart.com launches 3-D virtual reality tour [WWD]
  • Amazon claims it doesn’t want to take on UPS and FedEx. So why is it introducing tons of its own Amazon delivery vans? [Recode]
  • Samsung brand experience opens its doors in the heart of Paris [BrandChannel]
  • Kirsten Green’s survival guide for the ‘retail reckoning’ [BoF]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Inside Instagram’s social shopping masterclass [BoF]
  • Hilfiger’s next TommyNow runway show to touch down in Shanghai [WWD]
  • Are influencers really worth the money? [BoF]
  • Roger Federer signs $300 million sponsorship deal with Uniqlo [BoF]
PRODUCT
  • These people with disabilities have ideas for making shopping more accessible [TeenVogue]
  • Tiffany & Co. will now let you personalize with custom symbols and monograms [Town & Country]
  • What FDA approval of CBD could mean for the beauty industry [Racked]
  • Walmart pulls “Impeach 45” t-shirts after Trump supporters threaten boycott [FastCompany]
BUSINESS
  • Paris Fashion Week’s front rows speak to fashion’s complicated stance on #MeToo [TheFashionLaw]
  • Chanel’s digital strategy takes shape amid executive shuffle [BoF]
  • Subscription box market fights fatigue [AdAge]
  • How Revolve has built a billion-dollar fashion company for millennial women [Inc]
  • Fans of ModCloth and Bonobos were aghast when Walmart bought the brands. But they’re still shopping [Quartzy]
Categories
Editor's pick product

Lacoste replaces famous crocodile logo with endangered species

Lacoste x Save Our Species
Lacoste x Save Our Species

Lacoste has replaced its iconic crocodile logo with endangered species in an exclusive collection of 10 polo shirts in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Lacoste x Save Our Species line sees embroidered appliques of the Anegada Ground Iguana (only 450 left in the wild), the Sumatran Tiger (350), the Saola (250), the California Condor (231), the Cao-vit Gibbon (150), the Kakapo (157), the Javan Rhino (67), the Northern Sportive Lemur (50), the Burmese Roofed Turtle (40) and the Vaquita (30).

The quantity of shirts available to buy corresponds to the numbers of how many of each breed remains in the wild. All proceeds of the sale of the shirts will benefit conservation efforts for the species worldwide accordingly.

Lacoste x Save Our Species
Lacoste x Save Our Species

The collection, which was developed with creative agency BETC Paris, launched alongside the brand’s runway show at Paris Fashion Week yesterday, which also referenced a tree development project first established by Rene Lacoste and his wife at the start of World War II.

The initiative protected a dozen forestry workers in France from being sent to labor camps during the German occupation, and saw 50,000 trees being planted. That served as inspiration for the new season’s main collection, as well as the endangered species polo shirts.

As the brand’s current designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista said: “This is our way of planting trees in 2018.” It marks the start of a three-year partnership between Lacoste and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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business digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick social media technology

What you missed: Chanel vs Amazon space travel, Massenet’s VC firm, robots at retail

Chanel's spacecraft at Paris Fashion Week (Image: Vogue Paris) - space technology
Chanel’s spacecraft at Paris Fashion Week (Image: Vogue Paris)

Chanel grabbed everyone’s attention once again at Paris Fashion Week – this time for another future-focused theme with its spacecraft set design. Kudos to the work that went into that but can you imagine the budget? Even Karl Lagerfeld’s visions have got to come back down to earth (excuse the pun) at some point – where is the true value, is the question? Jeff Bezos of Amazon meanwhile, is genuinely exploring how to ship products to the moon.

Elsewhere this week, we’re also talking about Natalie Massenet’s other role running her own VC firm alongside her new co-chair position at Farfetch; the incoming of robots at retail; news of Everlane ditching Facebook Messenger notifications (an interesting move that may spell some serious indication around chatbot ROI); and under our tech header, a must-read from Wired on Ford’s future city including hoverboards that carry shopping and drone deliveries to skyscrapers.

If you’re headed to SXSW this weekend, we look forward to seeing you there – don’t forget to check out our handy content guide en route.


TOP STORIES
  • Chanel focuses on space travel for Paris Fashion Week show with branded spacecraft [Vogue]
  • An exclusive look at Jeff Bezos’s plan to set up Amazon-like delivery for ‘future human settlement’ of the moon [Washington Post]
  • Natalie Massenet, Nick Brown to form venture firm Imaginary Ventures [WWD]
  • Robots will be in retail stores sooner than you think [Forbes]

BUSINESS
  • Sports Direct clarifies purchase of Agent Provocateur [FT]
  • BCBG Max Azria gets bankruptcy loan as chain plots asset sale [Bloomberg]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Everlane, one of Facebook Messenger’s first retail partners has ditched it as a notification tool [Recode]
  • Snap pops 40% to start trading at a crackling $33 billion valuation [Quartz]
  • How 5 brands are using Snapchat Spectacles [Digiday]
  • Fashion series are popping up on Instagram Stories [Glossy]

MARKETING
  • Benetton launches new women’s equality campaign [The Industry]
  • L’Oreal’s UK CMO: ‘We are very clear on where our media money is going’ [The Drum]
  • France’s ARPP takes issue with “degrading” Saint Laurent ads [Luxury Daily]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Target unveils $7B plan to overhaul stores, digital operations [Retail Dive]
  • Mall retailers are competing on speed to stay relevant [Glossy]
  • ‘Notoriously difficult’: Inside the unraveling of the Thrillist-JackThreads marriage of content and commerce [Digiday]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Ford’s future city: hoverboards that carry shopping and drone deliveries to skyscrapers [Wired]
  • Virtual reality: growth engine for fashion? [BoF]
  • Apple reportedly could have over 1,000 engineers working on AR in Israel [Road to VR]
  • IBM Watson, Salesforce Einstein form AI dream team to aid retail, other industries [Retail Dive]
  • The emerging technologies getting us excited from MWC 2017 [The Drum]
Categories
business Comment data e-commerce Editor's pick

“Data Center Chanel” observes the most important aspect of luxury’s future at #PFW

Data Chanel PFW
Data Center Chanel at Paris Fashion Week (Image via Chanel)

Chanel has long been known for bringing elaborate set designs to Paris Fashion Week. Tapping into a sense of Instagram-ready curation, Karl Lagerfeld has introduced everything from a supermarket to an airport terminal and casino in recent seasons. In other words, backdrops that the audience will love to capture for the sake of social media, almost irrespective of the collection itself.

Today was no different, except this time there was an extra layer to the proceedings, arguably a metaphorical one about the future of luxury.

“Data Center Chanel” was the theme, with a series of data storage units (a supercomputer if you will) acting as the set for the spring/summer 2017 collection.

Multicoloured wires sprung from the machines, replicated in both the invitation to the show – which saw the interlocking C’s formed from cables – as well as some of the detail in the clothing line itself, a reworking of the brand’s traditional tweed. The flashing green lights from the data farm were even mirrored in LEDs that appeared on some of the brand’s handbags.

Meanwhile, “bots” walked the runway too. Two models opened the show wearing a headpiece largely reminiscent of Pepper – the small humanoid robot by Aldebaran Robotics and SoftBank, which has been working in various retail stores this year. Other coverage also referenced the idea of Storm Troopers or even virtual reality headsets.

Data Chanel fashion PFW
A bot walks in front of the Data Center Chanel setup at Paris Fashion Week (Image via @SusieBubble)

The big focus was on hardware, but it was of course a greater nod to all things digital. On the one hand, the entire setup could have been a narrative on modern consumers’ lives – the idea we’re all ruled by data; an awareness of just how much we individually share, a tangible replication of the servers behind our connected worlds. As Robin Givhan, fashion critic at the Washington Post, tweeted: “We’re all just bits of data.”

Perhaps it was also a more conceptual thought about all of us operating like bots in the screen era too, or even that bots themselves are becoming more prevalent in our communications and beyond – the algorithms shaping our lives. It was a look to the future some might say, and indeed a reflection on current day.

But there seemed an even greater underlying reference, and that was around the idea that Chanel’s roadmap lies in becoming itself just a series of data. And this is where the future of luxury comes in.

Any brand thinking about long-term growth strategy knows that data is at the very heart of finding that success. But data must fundamentally come from e-commerce, for which many luxury brands are still a stranger – Chanel included.

For many of them, this has been because they could find growth elsewhere, notably in China. As Luca Solca, managing director of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, told me for a story for the Business of Fashion last year: “[With a slowing China market] e-commerce is one of very few ways luxury goods companies can now grow.”


A video posted by CHANEL (@chanelofficial) on

The numbers make sense to do so: from 2009 to 2014, online sales of luxury goods grew four times faster than offline sales. In fact, in 2014, nearly all luxury market growth came from e-commerce, up 50% from 2013. And yet that figure is still only at 6% of total sales demonstrating how much space digital still has to grow. McKinsey expects it to triple to 18% by 2025.

Chanel has previously promised it will launch its e-commerce site by the end of 2016. For the same BoF story, Lindsay Nuttall, CDO at advertising agency BBH, which has worked with brands like Burberry, said going direct-to-consumer in a bid to have control over customers’ online data is essential. “The fact [many luxury brands have] given part of their supply chain away to third parties like Net-a-Porter could prove an increasing problem over time. It can affect really practical things, like their margins, and really huge things like their route to the customer. By not collecting data on them, you don’t understand how they’re evolving,” she explained.

In short then, the Chanel show really could be a precursor to the fact it’s finally about to go headfirst into e-commerce. It’s a true nod to the future of luxury and to a much more integrated, customer-first and data-led strategy, enabled by a final push into online transactions.