June 11, 2014
Italian fashion house Fendi is connecting with aspirational consumers through a new mobile application for tablets that uses its Baguette as a blank canvas for creativity.
Through the “myBaguette” app, consumers can virtually paint their own Baguette and share it with a community of other registered users. This app creates an interactive experience for consumers regardless of their ability to purchase a physical Baguette, and will further fans' loyalty to the brand.
"The Baguette is arguably the first ‘it bag' and has inspired designers and artists around the world to create thousands of different styles," said Melody Adhami, president and chief operating officer of Plastic Mobile, Toronto.
"I think this app will allow fans to be inspired, and allow them the opportunity to create the iconic bag in a variety of different patterns," she said. "I think Fendi is aiming to build their growing online presence, boost consumer/fan engagement, and gain new fans as well."
Ms. Adhami is not affiliated with Fendi but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Fendi was unable to respond by press deadline.
Cloth as canvas
The Baguette has been the subject of an ongoing project, the Artist Baguette series, which asks talent to transform one of the shoulder bags a creative way.
Gallery of Fendi Baguettes created by artists
Now it is the consumer’s turn to wield a digital paintbrush in Fendi’s app.
MyBaguette opens with a button beckoning consumers to “create.” Before jumping into making their own bag, they can swipe to the right to enter a gallery of professional Baguette art to be inspired or swipe again to watch a video that introduces the app.
Screen shot of Fendi's myBaguette app
The video shows various paint techniques flying across the Baguette on screen, showing the many ways consumers can customize their bags through the app. This also encourages the viewer to share their creation.
Video still from Fendi's myBaguette app
Once they are ready, the consumer can enter the editor. A white Baguette sits in the center as a blank canvas.
Screen shot of Fendi myBaguette
Buttons at the bottom of the screen allow consumers to pick the color, brushes and effects they want to use. Next to that, consumers can switch the side of the bag they are painting.
Brush strokes include a line of stars and a splatter pattern, while effects allows the consumer to put a filter on their bag or upload a photo from their device to go onto the Baguette.
Screen shot of Fendi myBaguette app
Further allowing for unique designs, the app lets consumers mix the 16 available colors together to form new hues.
When the consumer is done making their artwork, they can save it in the gallery by giving it a name. The pop-up that appears to save also lets them know that the back can be customized, too.
Along the top of the app, consumers can navigate to the editor, their own gallery of saved Baguettes, or a community page that shows the works that other users have created.
Screen shot of Fendi myBaguette community page
Also accessed from the top is the “Art Gallery.” This is a slideshow of pieces completed by professional artists for the brand’s Artist Baguette project.
Text accompanying the gallery images gives a quote from the artist about their work and provides a sentence about the origins of the commissioned piece.
Screen shot of Fendi myBaguette app
Each individual Baguette can be shared on social media once the consumer connects their social networks to the app and registers for an account on the app.
One of the bags features in the gallery is the piece Hiroshi Senju created for the label’s store opening in Munich.
Mr. Senju is known for his large paintings of waterfalls, which tied into Fendi’s exhibition in Munich featuring photos of fountains in Rome taken by creative director Karl Lagerfeld. Having an exclusive art piece or item for a store opening helps a brand attract foot traffic, as consumers visit to see the one-of-a-kind work (see story).
Fendi’s Baguette has been given its time in the spotlight before by the brand, with the creation of a microsite centered on the accessory.
The Italian fashion house enabled ecommerce for a limited-time through an online pop-up shop dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the label’s Baguette handbag.
Consumers could shop limited-edition, vintage and online-exclusive Baguette handbags as well as accessories, gifts and items designed by Karl Lagerfeld. Since Fendi’s main Web site is not commerce-enabled, the brand could have been using the pop-up shop to test the waters for future ecommerce (see story).
The Baguette microsite is no longer ecommerce enabled, but it still provides a central space online for the handbag style. When the myBaguette app launched, Fendi posted the introduction video to the microsite first to reach the bag’s enthusiasts.
Automakers have created similar customization apps for mobile.
British automaker Aston Martin is showcasing its bespoke capabilities with a new configurator application that lets enthusiasts play with possibilities.
The configurator app features the full range of Aston Martin models and allows fans to tinker with all the customizable details that a prospective consumer would encounter at a dealership. Also, the app gives consumers far more time to mull over their final vehicles, which may increase satisfaction (see story).
While Aston Martin's app is for its traditional consumers, Fendi's is more for its fans who cannot yet afford its merchandise.
"In my opinion, the app is intended for aspirational consumers, as a traditional Fendi consumer would have no real use for this app," Ms. Adhami said. "Traditional luxury consumers are looking for apps that serve a more practical purpose.
"Although it will be fun for aspirational fans and new designers, I think the app will fall short of consumer expectations as there is no actual utility to it," she said. "It is a start into digital, but I feel that the app needs a purpose or some form of utility to truly engage their consumers."
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York