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Posts Tagged ‘FCUK’

Fashion’s digital moves

November 17, 2010 3 comments

Both parts of Zeitgeist may be out of the office at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t kept our nose to the grindstone, our ear to the ground, our eye on the ball, our finger on the pulse and our foot wedged in the door.

Last week, Zeitgeist was fortunate enough to attend the International Herald Tribune’s Heritage Luxury conference at the InterCon on London’s Park Lane. While the Missoni clan waxed lyrical on the importance of keeping it in the family, after such luminaries as Paul Smith and Alber Elbaz had already spoken, the real highlight was seeing the legend that is Karl Lagerfeld, designer for Fendi and Chanel, as well as his own eponymous collection. Karl spoke on a variety of subjects. He even offered his take on the LVMH / Hermes debacle, which Zeitgeist wrote about recently, suggesting that Hermes keep their earnings private, as Chanel does, so as not to encourage hungry buyers by “putting the milk out”.

Host Suzy Menkes asked Karl to talk about Coco herself, which he did with no subjectivity, criticising her knee-jerk dislike of blue jeans and miniskirts, and failing to adapt. It is this same failure to adapt that is causing many businesses – or even entire industries, such as books and music – to suffer massive losses, with Chanel itself a “dowdy dowager”, as the Wall Street Journal once described it. Indeed, when the managing director of the reputable Brown’s stores asked Karl what how important he thought the digital world was for luxury brands, Karl was unequivocal, saying Chanel the brand ignoring digital would be like Chanel the lady ignoring miniskirts and blue jeans. He was also talked about the increasing binary pull of fashion, where inexpensive and expensive rule, with no middle ground. Businesses in that middle ground – think FCUK – will not fare well in the future he intimated. If one thinks of this from a branding perspective, it is perfectly understandable. Selling your product as the best you can get, or, conversely the best you can get at the cheapest price, is a robust selling point. Anything between becomes undefinable and wishy-washy; at exactly what point has quality been sacrificed for expediancy in x product? Chanel have done a fair job so far of embracing the digital world, with an engaging iPhone app as well as an e-commerce section on their site.

Of course, some brands – especially luxury ones – revel in their heritage, and so it was on Tuesday night when Zeitgeist attended the evening preview of Dior Illustrated at Somerset House. Illustrator Rene Gruau was still drawing adverts and couture dresses for the company long after other labels had switched to photography. Of course, it is when one can combine the worlds of heritage and keep the brand contemporary that is most impressive. So it was with Ralph Lauren’s 4D presentation, also last week, shown in New York and London, recorded by a friend of Zeitgeist’s. Enjoy.

Overexposure on Chatroulette

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Having first flirted with the random video chatting site Chatroulette back in December 09, Zeitgeist has watched with interest as different parties have innovated in their use of the functionality provided by 17 year old Russian Andrey Ternovskiy.

The honour of being the first brand to base a marketing campaign on Chatroulette goes to French Connection who, as part of their ‘The Man, The Woman‘ campaign, offered men (and then women after they received complaints) the chance to win a £250 French Connection voucher by arranging a date on the site.

Clearly not all brands will want to be associated with the random and uncontrolled nature of the site, where there is a slightly greater chance of seeing an unsightly erection than in a 1960’s architects casebook, but such a risque experience appealed to the brand that is arguably best know for its FCUK campaign.

The random nature of the site offers users an element of excitement as the user never knows who they will connect with next, which creates a ‘just one more’ click mindset before they finally turn off.

One reason you might want to stay on is that you could find yourself serenaded, either by a man in his bedroom or by Ben Folds in front of 2,000 people. After which, you’ll find yourself on YouTube viewed by millions.

Depending on what gets them goings, the risk of such exposure may encourage or indeed discourage people from wearing underwear in front of their webcams.

If the intimacy of a one to one chat being shared online grates with the initial idea behind the site, as we mentioned last week, the layer of anonymity is further eroded by Chatroulettemap.com which shows the location of each user.

Zeitgeist watches and waits, fully and respectably dressed, to see whether Chatroulette is here to stay or will just be an amusing memory in a few months time.