November 13, 2013
Italian fashion house Valentino is taking an unconventional approach to promote the opening of its new store location in Shanghai by unveiling an exclusive collection Nov. 15 that will be available at this location months before it hits the shelves in other stores.
The Maison’s creative directors, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, designed the Shanghai collection that will premiere Nov. 14 on the Bund and via a live-stream on its Web site. By live-streaming the show, Valentino is giving consumers around the world the opportunity to participate in the opening of its newest flagship even though they cannot be there in person.
"While many fashionistas await each new Valentino collection with much anticipation, there are still many consumers who have yet to discover Valentino, and so embracing unconventional methods to unveil a new collection is almost required for this legacy brand," said Karen Pattani-Hason, head of new business and partnerships for Aurnhammer, New York.
"Live-streaming makes the runway accessible to anyone with an Internet connection, so this approach by Valentino is very exciting," she said.
"This campaign is most likely targeting not only loyal fans who follow Valentino in multiple media channels, but also the innovative, younger, aspiring Valentino customer who seeks access to Valentino's newest line regardless of where in the world it will be unveiled."
Ms. Pattani-Hason is not affiliated with Valentino, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Valentino was unable to comment before press deadline.
Leading up to the live stream, the brand posted a video series titled “L’Unico” on its Facebook page to take viewers behind-the-scenes as the tailors created dresses from the Shanghai collection. The first of three videos begins with the tailors going to work, walking through the streets of Rome.
Once inside the atelier, the tailors get to work sketching, creating patterns, cutting fabric and sewing. We then see a model walk in the created dress in front of Ms. Chiuri and Mr. Piccioli, as they inspect the creation before locking up for the day.
A still from Valentino's first L'Unico video
The next video in the series features the buildup to a fashion show. The viewer first sees the quiet, empty venue.
Then, the ambient noise suddenly swells and we follow the featured tailor into a back room where hairstylists coif models’ hair and last-minute fittings are taking place. The video follows her to a quieter room, where a tailor is examining the same dress from the first video. Both model and tailor then walk over to the creative directors for the final approval.
A still from Valentino's second L'Unico video
In the last video, we finally see the fashion show. The model in the finale dress comes into focus and walks the length of the runway in slow motion, piano music underscoring her walk. Once she gets backstage, she hugs the tailor.
A still from Valentino's third L'Unico video
All of the models walk out for the finale, followed by Ms. Chiuri and Mr. Piccioli, and the audience applauds.
The Facebook posting for the final video features a call to action, telling viewers to tune in to the live stream of the Shanghai collection. If they clicked the link, they were taken to the Valentino page where the fashion show will stream.
For now, it features a countdown to the collection and details about the store opening in Shanghai.
Valentino's Facebook post featuring a "L'Unico" video
Even though the collection will be shown in Shanghai, the videos have piqued the interest of Valentino fans around the world. The Facebook posts containing the videos received a combined 6,500 likes and were shared approximately 1,700 times.
Front row seat
Valentino is not the only fashion brand to use live-streaming to allow more fans to tune in and participate in an event.
For example, U.S. apparel and accessories label Michael Kors furthered its “WatchHungerStop” campaign through a month-long initiative that included giving away T-shirts at five stores on World Hunger Day Oct. 16, stepping up social media efforts and encouraging consumers to make small donations when purchasing products.
T-shirt recipients could get their pictures taken in the Phhhoto Stations at participating locations, which were then live-streamed on Times Square billboards and on the WatchHungerStop microsite. Continually injecting new energy into the campaign increased the chances that it would have an enduring impact on the fight against hunger (see story).
Like Valentino is doing with this video series, other fashion brands have taken viewers behind-the-scenes of their preparations for fashion shows.
Italian fashion house Fendi generated interest in its spring/summer 2014 collection exhibited during Milan Fashion Week through a microsite that featured interactive and behind-the-scenes content.
The Fendi Life microsite centered on “The Fendi Day” Sept. 19 at the fashion show in Milan, the opening of a Milanese boutique and a new exhibit exploring Fendi’s role in film. By displaying different aspects in one location, the brand was able to appeal to the different types of consumers who fall under the enthusiast umbrella (see story).
This campaign from Valentino is likely to change people's views of the iconic fashion house.
"This campaign is likely to cast Valentino in a modern, tech-savvy light," Ms. Pattani-Hason said.
"Understanding that one's customers are worldwide, and choosing to connect to them via livestream, is a great move for a legacy brand aiming to draw in newer, younger fans," she said.
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York