How Luxury Brands Tap Into VR, AR and MR

Immersive technology turns Facebook into a colossal virtual 'fitting room'


How Luxury Brands Tap Into VR, AR and MR
Events & Culture October 9th, 2018

Paris Fashion Week may be over. But today, a virtual reality (VR) headset is your golden ticket to reliving the glitzy Parisian runway shows. 

Fashion houses Christian Dior, Tommy Hilfiger and Coach are inviting their in-store clientele to don VR headsets. And voilà, they are able to enter the world couture-cloaked models and celebrity-packed front rows – all with an immersive, 360-degree view.

Christian Dior launched Dior Eyes, a VR headset, to give clients an immersive experience of their runway shows.  Photo Courtesy of Dior

Far-sighted brands and platforms are adopting VR and more. They are tapping into the ever-expanding umbrella of immersive technology — virtual, augmented and mixed reality.

Facebook will soon become a colossal virtual fitting room to its over 2 billion active users — or one-quarter of the world’s population. Tap on an ad on your newsfeed, and it’ll bring you to the camera function where you can “try on” Michael Kors sunglasses, or various Sephora lipsticks.

Brands are jumping onto the bandwagon for good reason — it makes for good business.

London-based company Metail offers a “try-before-you-buy” solution for e-commerce platforms —  a virtual fitting room where customers superimpose outfits onto a 3D model of themselves. Its clients include Tesco, Zalando, and House of Holland.

Metail’s AR app reportedly boosts sales by 22 percent, according to research by Metail, in collaboration with Tufts University and the Kellogg School of Management.

“I don’t think there is any sector or industry that will be untouched by AR,” Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said in an interview with Vogue.

Before there’s a full-blown AR epidemic, you need to know what the tools do. Keyyes cuts through the sometimes baffling acronyms to give you a guide on navigating this brave new world.

Virtual Reality

VR fully immerses users in the virtual surroundings — it could be computer-generated content or real-world content.

The virtual environment is experienced wearing VR goggles, or without.

Dior’s fashion shows can be viewed via Dior Eyes. Or click on one of the immersive 360° videos on Dior’s official Youtube Channel. Every direction and angle is simultaneously filmed, offering a 360-degree view of the surroundings. Viewers can pan around the videos, and feel as though they were right there at, say, that haute couture show in Paris, or up in the remote mountains in Calabasas, California.

Auction house Sotheby’s transformed its striking paintings into 360° videos for the first time last year (2017). Gallery visitors donning Occulus Rift headsets are transported to the Spanish plain in Salvador Dalí’s 1930s masterpiece, Moment de transition. Later, they’re taken into a room with an almost-still, gently purring lion — bringing to life the majestic subject in René Magritte’s Le Repas de Noces.

Augmented Reality  

AR technology superimposes a digital image onto the real world. And chances are that you already have an AR app on your smartphone.

Think of Pokémon Go, where millions of users ran around with smartphones, seeking out virtual Pocket Monsters in their backyards, at the Effiel Tower, or at Hamacho Park in Tokyo.

Camera manufacturer Leica commissioned photographers to create a multi-sensory photo exhibition at its Singapore store at Fullerton Hotel.  Titled 二, A Tale of Convergence, vivid images come to life via an AR app when visitors scanned the pictures with their phones.

Leica commissioned photographers to put together a multi-sensory photo exhibition using Augmented Reality. Scanning this photo with the AR app Artivive brings it to life. Photo Courtesy of Leica

Lamborghini is going beyond print media, embedding its glossy magazine with digital elements. Download its official AR app onto your smartphone, aim it at a page featuring the iconic Aventador, and go on a virtual journey through breathtaking landscapes in Scotland from the driver’s perspective.

Gucci has a playful and interactive take on its Spring Summer 2018 campaign, titled Gucci Hallucination. Spanish painter Ignasi Monreal created Renaissance-style illustrations featuring Gucci’s runway looks. The stunning portraits were turned into scannable ads via Gucci’s app.

Mixed Reality  

The line between AR and MR is a murky one. Both AR and MR have synthetic digital content overlayed onto the real world.

MR technology takes it a step further than AR. It’s as if the virtual content is part of the real world, and users can interact with content seamlessly, and in real time.

Confused? Check out the video demonstrating the limitless potential with Microsoft HoloLens. Described by Microsoft as the world’s first “self-contained, holographic computer, enabling you to engage with your digital content and interact with holograms in the world around you”.

We will just call the tech giant’s HoloLens, mixed reality smart glasses.

Rémy Martin served up mixed reality using Microsoft HoloLens at its Los Angeles event last year (2017). Called Rooted in Exception, the interactive installation tells the story of the almost 300-year old cognac maker.

Once you put on the goggles, a table embellished with 3D topography comes to life. Holographic elements appear. The Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne vineyards are displayed as holography, accompanied by narration fromRémy Martin’s rising star, cellar master Baptiste Loiseau.

“Mixed reality is an amazing opportunity for storytelling. How better could we engage our customers and tell them about our roots than by bringing our story to life, for them to see?” said Augustin Depardon, Rémy Martin’s global executive director.

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