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Much ado about Shakespeare: Selfridges in fashion, tech and culture blitz

Shakespeare ReFashioned at Selfridges
Shakespeare ReFashioned at Selfridges

Is this a handbag which I see before me, its handle towards my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.

Doesn’t quite work as a great soliloquy does it? But this preamble is indeed much ado about something, and not just a lack of ability to get our hands on lustworthy designer bags. Because British department store Selfridges has brought together designers, musicians and drama heavy hitters for a giant campaign that blends fashion with tech and culture (with a capital C), this summer.

“Shakespeare ReFashioned” celebrates the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death, introduces loads of designer and brand one-offs, gives us a massive VM extravaganza and even sees a temporary theatre in-store where a new production of Much Ado About Nothing will be staged.

There’ll also be a major tech presence with cameo appearances by some big names, but in the form of holograms projected onto static mannequins.

Dries van Noten as part of Shakespeare ReFashioned at Selfridges
Dries Van Noten as part of Shakespeare ReFashioned at Selfridges

In the meantime, shoppers can see the play being rehearsed and buy from over 100 limited edition collaborations. Designers and brands taking part include Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen, Van Cleef & Arpels, Shrimps, Paige Denim, Hudson Jeans, Olympia Le Tan. Maison Margiela, Marques’ Almeida, Dries Van Noten, Erdem, Craig Green, Givenchy, JW Anderson, Gareth Pugh, Rick Owens, Roja Dove and Simone Rocha.

Although it doesn’t officially start until July 4, the windows have already been taken over by one-offs from some of those names with the current display (Act I) being all about the comedies and romances, and the next phase (Act II) being focused on the tragedies. What’s the betting Givenchy, Gareth Pugh and Rick Owens put their hands up to dress the latter?

It all runs until September 24, so get down there if you can.

This post first appeared on, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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Digital snippets: shoplifters at Harvey Nichols, Iris van Herpen on fashion and science, Rakuten’s virtual fit start-up

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…


  • Harvey Nichols features genuine CCTV shoplifting footage in new Rewards ad (as pictured) [Creative Review]
  • Iris van Herpen’s science fashion [BoF]
  • Rakuten buys virtual fitting room start-up Fits.Me in a fashion commerce play [TechCrunch]
  • Why an “Amazon for high fashion” is a really bad idea [HighSnobiety]
  • Amazon Fashion, playing the long game [BoF]
  • ShopStyle figured out how to monetise Snapchat [Racked]
  • Why it took Zappos Labs five tries to admit failure [Fast Company]
  • Stamp your in-store Snapchats with custom Lilly Pulitzer prints [Digiday]
  • Crocs bets big on interactive Twitter videos with ‘Funway Runway’ effort [AdWeek]
  • Online jewellery start-up Bauble Bar to open retail stores [Forbes]
  • Matthew Williamson to sell part of pre-fall collection exclusively on Lyst [Fashionista]
  • Net-a-porter partners with Tom Ford on e-commerce exclusive [WWD]
  • Nike quickens plans to ‘seamlessly connect social platforms to commerce’ [The Drum]
  • How artificial intelligence is powering e-commerce in India [TechinAsia]
  • Fashion apps continue the trend for mobile swiping [The Telegraph]
  • Six futuristic retail displays that will change your idea of ‘e-commerce’ [Time]
  • Luxury brands dip toes in e-commerce waters [WSJ]
  • Why the Internet of Things won’t be about the ‘things’ for retailers [Retail Dive]
  • The man who wants to turn our clothes into modular gadgets [Wired]
  • Meet Mona, the world’s smartest personal shopper [PSFK]
  • Why the Apple Watch is flopping [Co.Design]
  • 3D-printing has stagnated, says pioneering designer Francis Bitonti [Dezeen]
  • We did not expect Vogue’s native advertising to be this good [Brand Republic]
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Transparent display could spell future for shop windows – CES


Amid all the tech trends to come out of CES this year, it was the Transparent Display Case from Samsung that particularly stood out from a fashion perspective.

Seemingly a glass box (in the above example holding a shoe), the front is in fact a see-through screen linked up to a built-in PC and speakers. What that means is videos are able to play over the top of real-life items, enhancing rather than distorting their view.

It might just be a 22″ screen at the moment, but as PSFK reports, what place does that sound more relevant than in the store windows and retail shelves of the future? See it in action in the video below.

“[The display] allows images and animations to dynamically interact with the merchandise inside the showcase while still enabling passers-by to view the product,” reads the write-up from Samsung, who refers to it as “a new era of creative display in digital retail design”.

Now, add that idea to the transparent smart window it launched last year, and we might be on to something.

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Digital snippets: Bodyform, Chanel, Gap, Uniqlo, Thomas Pink, Hermès, Facebook

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital over the past week:


  • Bodyform responds to viral Facebook rant with ‘The Truth’ video (as above) []
  • Brad Pitt’s Chanel No 5 ad: the smell of disaster [The Guardian]
  • Gap tests Whispering Window ‘invisible audio’ displays [BrandChannel]
  • Uniqlo model draws as much on Intel and Toyota as Gap [Wired]
  • Thomas Pink launches instant mobile check out app [The Drum]
  • Hermès gets tech-y with computer-inspired ties [Styleite]
  • Facebook tests new ‘want’ feature for retailers [FT]
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Swarovski to generate content via Facebook and Twitter for store windows

Swarovski is inviting consumers to send in suggestions of how London inspires them to help build creative for its Regent Street store windows.

Part of the brand’s “Iconic London” campaign ahead of the 2012 Olympics, it is encouraging users to participate via Facebook and Twitter using the #IconicLondon hashtag.

Illustrative design duo Good Wives and Warriors will then be transforming the windows with a live art event taking place over two days from the evening of July 16, and again on July 31.

“The store will be magically transformed, from a crystal forest, into a surreal and kaleidoscopic world full of colourful, dreamlike illustrations inspired by London,” reads the write-up.

Fans will be able to discover if their suggestion has become a part of the artwork by watching it come to life online. Their names will also be painted into the illustrations.

The resulting designs will also act as an exclusive preview of Swarovski’s autumn/winter 20112/13 collection, Kingdom of Jewels. Other stores across London will feature a unique creative also designed by Good Wives and Warriors.

Swarovski previously launched a campaign inviting fans to interact with an augmented reality Facebook app.


Harrods unveils Pinterest contest winner, #DiamondJubilee window

As previously reported, Harrods recently launched a contest on Pinterest to tie in with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Here now is the video of the winner, Fay Martin, and her custom display in the infamous department store’s window ahead of next month’s celebrations:


Click here to see Martin’s original pink- and gold-themed Pinterest board too, inspired by an early portrait of the Queen.


Harrods launches Pinterest contest for Queen’s Diamond Jubilee windows

Harrods has launched a competition on Pinterest that will result in one consumer’s mood board forming the basis of its store window in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The London department store has posted its own inspiration page on the virtual scrapbooking site, formed around the idea of a street party for the occasion, and invited UK residents to do the same. All they have to do is then tweet their link to @HarrodsofLondon, along with the hashtag #HarrodsWindows.

Mark Briggs, image director at the retailer, will select three of the best mood boards to post on Facebook, from which fans will be able to vote for one to be transformed into a window by the store’s visual merchandising team next month.

The deadline for entries is April 19.

UPDATE: See the winner’s video here – Harrods unveils Pinterest contest winner, #DiamondJubilee window

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Gucci pushes retail engagement with immersive video displays

Gucci is encouraging consumer interaction in its retail stores with the launch of a new immersive experience using groundbreaking technologies developed by experience design company OOOii.

Unveiled at its newly-renovated Milan via Montenapoleone flagship last week, the initiative includes 50 LCD video wall displays from Planar Systems tiled throughout the store that from 2012 will enable natural human-computer interaction.

Patrizio di Marco, Gucci’s president and CEO, said: “This multi-year Immersive Retail Experience initiative underlines our belief in the growing importance of creating highly impactful and sharable brand experiences across all of Gucci’s platforms and touch points by taking advantage of rapid advances in digital technology. The all-round sensory experience that a customer will now feel when approaching and entering our Montenapoleone store will create an unprecedented level of engagement.”

Three zones have been created in the store: the Immersive Window Display, the Immersive Entrance Display and the Immersive Women’s and Men’s Fashion Show Displays. Each one will showcase curated digital content.

In a second phase planned for 2012, additional functionalities will be introduced which will enable shoppers to interact via motion with the digital content they are viewing.

Inspired by the film Minority Report (on which OOOii also worked), simple hand gestures will enable consumers to pause, rewind and search what’s in front of them. They will also be able to receive images on their mobiles and send notifications to sales assistants in order to reserve items.

Kent Demaine, founder and CEO of OOOii, said: “For years Hollywood has perfected the art of merging virtual content into the physical world where the two appear to coexist. For Gucci, we have moved these techniques onto a scalable architecture so that this process can happen in real time. The ultimate goal is to allow consumers to explore the world of Gucci in effortless and highly engaging ways, while simultaneously allowing the brand to learn from this participation thereby informing the creation and presentation of future content.”

The technology will be progressively introduced to Gucci’s other stores worldwide over the next two years.

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Garrard unveils augmented reality windows

Garrard developed a virtual “try on a tiara experience” in the window of its Albemarle Street store as part of UK Vogue’s Street Lights initiative earlier this week.

The luxury jeweller partnered with augmented reality technology company Holition to create the interactive campaign, which allows users to see themselves wearing the precious item.

Advanced photo-realistic computer modelling and Holition’s unique real-time light reflecting technology means the user can even see each diamond sparkling as they move.

Creative director at Garrard, Stephen Webster, said: “Having seen a demonstration of the technology being developed by Holition we thought it would be fun to use the technique of virtually trying on jewellery and adapt it to create a unique window for Garrard.”

Holition has previously worked with the likes of Tissot, Boucheron and Taccori on similar initiatives.

Garrard’s interactive tiara experience will remain in its windows until May 15. It forms part of the Street Lights project set up by Vogue jewellery editor, Carol Woolton, which in collaboration with The Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins is focused on creating innovative displays within the windows of fine jewellers.

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Nordstrom uses Xbox’s Kinect for interactive windows

US department store Nordstrom has integrated Microsoft’s Kinect technology into the windows of its flagship Seattle store.

The Xbox accessory has been used to enable shoppers passing by to “write with light” on the white backdrop of the display simply by moving their hands.

“With the help of Kinect’s infrared technology and their technical genius, our teams created a seamlessly interactive display that anyone can ‘paint’ on using just the motion of their hands in front of the glass,” Nordstrom posted on its blog.

The Kinect controller is reportedly hidden underneath a Dolce & Gabbana bag.

The interactive windows, which run until today, April 11, follow on from the store’s Spring 2011 Designer Catalog, a partnership with Glen Luchford and Ruben Toledo which also saw experiments in writing with light.

According to AllThingsD, Kinect for Xbox has also been used to create the world’s best shadow puppet and to operate a computer like Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

See the Nordstrom windows in action below: