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Editor's pick Events technology

NYFW roundup: #MeToo conversations, immersive runways and supersized robots

Models close the Prabal Gurung AW18 show
Models close the Prabal Gurung AW18 show

It was a quieter New York Fashion Week season than usual, as big-name designers including Altuzarra and Tommy Hilfiger chose to decamp to other cities – Paris and Milan, respectively – to host their much buzzed-about runway shows. Even fashion week parties, which in the past provided magazine fodder for weeks to come, have also been scaled down, with the industry seemingly more subdued in general.

That didn’t stop various buzzworthy moments however, including subtle nods to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, various more immersive runway presentations, and a dash of the futuristic with Google TiltBrush and an oversized robot.

Here we highlight some of the most interesting conversations that took place, and where there was still room left for improvement…

Cultural statements

There was little direct acknowledgement of the powerful conversation around the #MeToo movement, but shows attempted to create a stage for female empowerment. For Tom Ford, the approach was literal and included models strutting down the runway donning shoulder pads and a “Pussy Power” handbag. For Prabal Gurung, which The Washington Post has previously described as the “most woke man in fashion”, it was a nod to the #TimesUp conversation as models closed the show as a group, carrying white roses.

Tom Ford AW18
Tom Ford AW18

Also alluding to the message of empowerment, designer Jonathan Simkhai presented a Suffragette-inspired collection, while Kesha’s song on speaking out on harassment, “Praying”, greeted guests.

Following the second yearly Woman’s March, which took place globally on January 20, Brother Vellies teamed up with a roster of labels, such as Clare V. and Rachel Comey, to design a capsule collection benefitting the march and Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile designer Rebecca Minkoff, who was due to give birth to her third child during the week, forwent a formal presentation, instead opting to showcase her see-now-buy-now on 20 powerful women online. That cast includes members of the Women’s March committee, as well as actress Zosia Mamet and fashion presenter Zanna Roberts Rassi. The designer also teamed up with networking app Bumble Bizz to host a speaker night titled “Trailblazers: Women who have started their own company or have forged their own way within their industry”.

The topic of diversity was ever-present during NYFW too, though perhaps rather positively it was less buzzed about as more designers included a variation of ethnicities and sizes on their runway. Designers such as Christian Siriano and one of this season’s favourites, Eckhaus Latta, enlisted models at each end of the spectrum. Meanwhile model Kendall Jenner hosted an Adidas Originals presentation that featured a colourful cast and the showcase of the brand’s first hijab.

Alternative runways

In addition to the designers whose presence was missed in New York this season, many others moved away from formal runway shows to explore new ways to engage with a new, savvier audience.

Kirsten Dunst for Rodarte AW18
Kirsten Dunst for Rodarte AW18

Adidas teamed up with trendy New York label and lifestyle store VFiles to host a multimedia photoshoot at the Terminal 5 venue in Hell’s Kitchen, for instance. As music played for partygoers, models stood on stage posing against white backdrops, thus partaking in a live photoshoot. The immersive event aimed to respond to a community who wants to participate, rather than watch from the sidelines, said Julie Anne Quay, founder of VFiles.

Online, Zac Posen launched his collection via a photoshoot starring actress and friend Katie Holmes. Similarly the Rodarte sisters published the “Women that Inspire Us” lookbook, which features a pregnant Kirsten Dunst and young R&B duo Chloe x Halle, among others.

Perhaps cleverly steering clear from live presentations, which have in the past not received the best of reviews, Kanye West leveraged his online fandom by releasing his Yeezy Season Six collection online, in a lookbook starring women such as Paris Hilton and actress Sarah Snyder dressed up as Kim Kardashian look-a-likes, as well as the woman herself.

The future is here?

In a week primed for entertainment and participation to take place, designers were surprisingly timid when experimenting with technology this season.

Irina Shayk and robot companion at Philipp Plein AW18

As previously reported, Rebecca Taylor teamed up with Google’s Tilt Brush to create an immersive in-store environment for customers to enjoy her collection in, while Badgley Mischka harnessed technology to better receive their immediate audience’s feedback.

Meanwhile, Nicole Miller teamed up with AI and image recognition company RevelGlam to pilot their software on her runway show. The software analyses insights from fashion shows as well as celebrity sightings and influencer activities in order to predict trends.

Never one to shy away from the spotlight, it was German designer Philipp Plein who became a major topic of conversation however; giving the week a much-needed injection of futuristic tech. In a display of extravagance he has become known for, model Irina Shayk entered the runway from a spaceship and strutted alongside a giant bot with the designer’s logo plastered all over it.

In a week where most designers arguably played safe on many fronts – from not taking a truly clear stand on serious conversations to engaging with new technologies – Plein’s stunt may have trumped the collection being shown, but it simultaneously provided an irreverent and timely take on the future.

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Editor's pick film

Kate Spade’s #MissAdventure holiday campaign stars Miss Piggy and Zosia Mamet

Kate Spade's latest #MissAdventure campaign, starring Zosia Mamet and Miss Piggy
Kate Spade’s latest #MissAdventure campaign, starring Zosia Mamet and Miss Piggy

Actress Zosia Mamet returns to Kate Spade New York’s #MissAdventure campaign series, this time accompanied by her friend Miss Piggy for the holiday season.

The duo appears in an elevator together at the Empire State Building on their way to a festive party. In dreaded holiday style, a faux pas lies in the fact they’re wearing the same outfit. Cue a flurry of bickering and amusing comebacks to one another around who wears what better. There’s even a cameo appearance from Lendra Medine of Man Repeller.

“Our story for holiday is about the tools that we create to give our customers a unique and personalised experience,” Kristen Naiman, Kate Spade New York’s SVP of brand creative, told AdWeek. “When we started thinking about personalisation and the place that #MissAdventure occupies, we were really thinking, ‘What does it mean to have a unique sense of style and how do you express yourself through that?’ We turned that on its head and created a would-be debacle out of an effort to have your own personal style.”

The ad ends on the two long-time friends making up over their fashion choices and heading out to enjoy the occasion. “I love you but you make me bananas,” Mamet says.

Shorter versions of the spot are running as paid digital placements, while Miss Piggy also appears in a print and social campaign alongside Jourdan Dunn. Her character is otherwise part of an accessory line for the brand featuring wallets, phone cases and jewellery.

Speaking to WWD on the launch, Miss Piggy said: “Moi was already a big fan of Kate Spade New York’s Miss Adventure’s series. I mean you see all these fabulous and incredibly strong and wonderful women like Anna Kendrick and Zosia Mamet having fun. So, I thought: I’m fabulous, incredibly strong and wonderful, I need to be part of this. When I discovered they wanted to create product inspired by moi: Well, it was a done deal.”

You can also check out more about it as well as the rest of this year’s seasonal films, here.

Categories
Editor's pick film

Kate Spade keeps on winning in the storytelling campaign stakes

Behind-the-scenes on Kate Spade New York's #missadventure series, season 2
Behind-the-scenes on Kate Spade New York’s #missadventure series, season 2

Narrative continues to creep its way into the fashion industry’s advertising, and nowhere more is that true than with Kate Spade New York.

In a continuation of its #missadventure campaign series, the brand this time tells the tale of three women (actress Zosia Mamet returns alongside Lola Kirke and Kat Dennings) who go on the perfect weekend away, only to have their plans go “comically, perfectly wrong”.

Hoping for a spa package and yoga instructor, they end up with a retirement cake and bundle of bride-to-be accessories.

Those items as well as a bouncy castle are the product of Mamet’s attempts to use a new app called Favor Faves to order everything en route to the house they’re staying in, which is where such narrative wins it’s first points: it’s real. We’re all (and by all, we mean Kate Spade’s target market) obsessed with new apps and the idea that they make us more efficient.

We’re all also obsessed by things coming to us, on-demand. Especially if you live in New York, as well as an increasing number of other major cities (thanks Seamless, Uber, Deliveroo, Shyp, Postmates etc etc). But… we’ve all often had scenarios where such ideas have also failed us, especially when travelling. Perhaps they haven’t resulted in such extremes (the #missadventure series likes to add a touch of the surreal), but you get the idea.

The second way that Kate Spade wins, is that this short film feels as though you’re watching a scene from a TV show or a movie, not an ad. It’s not even a trailer – not a hint of something you need to go and watch the full-length version of, but instead something that you’ve rather missed the rest of. In a cameo role, Marisa Tomei shows up in her pyjamas for goodness’ sake.

As Kate Spade’s SVP of brand creative, Kristen Naiman, tells Vanity Fair, when the #missadventure series first started it was aiming to take advantage of the fact there was a renaissance in scripted serialised content being seen. “By the end of the first four episodes, we had set a world in motion. We saw on our social media channels an incredible appetite for it as a ‘show,’ as entertainment. There was a transition from ‘what a cute bag’ to ‘when is this going to be a movie?’” she explains.

And yet, in addition to that, Kate Spade also manages to throw a load of its product in there too. Those pyjamas in this recent film are really great, as is the hat Tomei wears with them. That box of bridal gear is perfect for those indeed planning bachelorette / hen parties (of which undoubtedly Kate Spade does very well from). And let’s not forget that each of the actresses are dressed in numerous covetable items throughout themselves – apparel, shoes and accessories – ready to be shopped now.

It’s true marketing, yet it feels like entertainment. Bearing all that in mind, it comes as no surprise this ad has nearly one million views just a week after launch.

Meanwhile, Burberry has recently opted for a more “traditional” take on narrative – sharing the tale of a young couple without spoken word. The short film by Oscar-winning British director Steve McQueen, captures duo Joshua Whitehouse and Amber Anderson on a romantic/dirty weekend in London for the brand’s new Mr Burberry fragrance. While it’s nicely done, it’s been met with criticism from some, and can certainly be considered not as engaging as the above. Watch it here:

One worth checking out by comparison is Hill & Friends’ The Happy Factory, first unveiled during London Fashion Week in February. While also not using any spoken word, it’s a rather more captivating 10-minute tale where a combination of live action, animation and CGI follows a bellboy and a variety of woodland animals in a subterranean Hill & Friends office. You can also watch it here: