As summer draws to a close and fashion continues to rebound from a year full of loungewear, fall/winter 2021 collections are well underway.
The pandemic completely altered consumer expectations for how they communicate with and consume content from their favorite brands. And to ensure they stay relevant and at the forefront of target shoppers’ minds, luxury brands continue to reinvent the playbook, both in-person and online.
The urgency of this shift was apparent when the personal luxury goods sector shrunk during the 2020 pandemic for the first time since 2009, with sales plummeting back to their 2014 levels. Still, the shift to creating experiential online experiences existed long before COVID struck.
For years, fashion futurists, like Loewe and JW Anderson, have questioned the relevance of traditional collection releases. Looking to reach bigger audiences and create a buzz for the FOMO generation, virtual events and shopping experiences were on the rise as early as 2017.
With virtual shopping experiences bringing in billions of dollars of revenue, technology is undoubtedly helping brands gain traction. So, how have luxury brands used the virtual space to launch their newest collections for Fall/Winter 2021?
Digital Fashion Events Help Luxury Brands Launch New Collections
Today’s most successful luxury brands understand the importance of focusing on their shoppers’ growing appetite for diversified digital content. Digital shopping events allow these brands to present their collections in a more impactful way by connecting them with global audiences. So, how do industry leaders cut through the noise to offer a more luxurious brand experience with social media platforms being more crowded by the minute?
Knowing that one triumphant online moment can genuinely define a brand’s success, world-renowned fashion brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton have been particularly tuned into the virtual movement. Still, most famous luxury brands knew it was time to rethink presenting their newest collections as we entered 2021.
With an increased focus on strengthening storytelling, experimenting with new technologies, and embracing strategic partnerships, shoppers had a lot to be excited about for the 2021 Fall/Winter fashion collections. Where traditional fashion shows once created the perfect platform for a successful collection launch, virtual options have taken over. Video fashion events, live shopping, and creative pop-up shops have upped the digital game for luxury brands.
Here’s what we’ve seen so far with the launch of this fashion season’s most luxurious collections:
Video Fashion Events
One way luxury brands stand out today is by shifting from traditional to video fashion events. These exciting and creative events allow brands to emotionally bond with viewers through unique content and authentic dialogues. Add a bit of entertainment, and brands see a boost in online performance that creates a lasting impact for future success.
Video fashion shows don’t just allow brands to appeal to industry insiders. They offer new opportunities to reach a global audience in a way that physical shows simply can’t. Look at Italian fashion house Gucci. An industry leader in bringing its collections to a larger audience, the brand stepped into the world of digital art and created a special film co-directed by Floria Sigismondi and Alessandro Michele, that showcases the brand’s latest pieces for the Fall/Winter 2021 season.
Live shopping is another way luxury brands have built anticipation and created hype around their collections to increase brand equity. Virtual shopping undoubtedly gives brands the opportunity to tap into new audiences that are less accessible using traditional channels.
Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Burberry, and Loewe are among participating brands that are leveraging the power of these platforms to reach a growing Gen Z audience. Using Instagram live to showcase collections, these brands give shoppers a much deeper understanding of the inspiration behind new collections.
Other brands maximize visibility by creating live shopping events powered by influential partners. Models and social influencers are used to engage online communities and spread the word about upcoming collections. By developing long-lasting relationships with a roster of influencers, luxury brands can strengthen the authenticity of their partnerships to create a more substantial impact on virtual audiences.
The most exclusive luxury brands follow up on these events with intimate, one-to-one virtual shopping experiences using virtual shopping platforms like HERO®. British luxury fashion house Burberry has focused on digital clienteling tools since 2020 to manage customer journeys more profitably. In a recent episode of Vogue Business and Worldpay from FIS master class series on creating seamless omnichannel experiences, Burberry’s Mark Morris talks about how the company “uses data to enhance client-associate interactions and increase the lifetime value of customers.”
Other luxury brands like Chloe and Berluti use Hero to allow shoppers to interact directly with a stylist online. Online shoppers can video chat, ask questions, and get a close-up of their collections. This further immerses shoppers in the exclusive showcase experience, creating an emotional bond that fosters brand loyalty.
Another exciting way luxury brands have showcased their latest collections is through temporary retail spaces. These shops allow brands to sell their products in an environment completely designed and controlled by their marketing and creative teams. Pop-up shops introduce brands to new audiences, generate a buzz, and enable innovative brands to take creative risks. Shoppers love the lure of exclusivity these spaces bring, while brands love the unmatched selling opportunities.
Luxury brands have already taken these pop-up events to the next level. The French fashion house, Louis Vuitton, launched its men’s accessories line in NYC this summer with a technicolor pop-up shop filled with sneakers and accessories. Branded “Louis Vuitton: Walk in the Park,” the shop uses a brilliant display of vibrant colors to create a sunset look that’s reminiscent of a view you might find walking through Central Park. Located in the famous SoHo neighborhood, the brand transformed this space in early July into a pre-launch for their men’s fall 2021 collection.
Showcasing New Collections Virtually Creates New Opportunities for Luxury Brands
Showcasing the newest luxury fashion collections looks substantially different today. Traditional fashion shows take a back seat to virtual events, virtual shopping, and pop-up stores. These new showcases strengthen consumer relationships and create more polished luxury credentials in a world looking for the frenzy of instant gratification, pleasure, and consumption.
As luxury brands embrace enhanced storytelling opportunities to captivate audiences, new collections are selling out at record rates. Establishing brand awareness online is essential for luxury brands that want to boost product value while attracting those with purchasing power. These innovative showcase events have helped brands gain massive publicity and widespread acceptance as they reach a global audience in a way that traditional showcases no longer can.
Providing a fine balance of convenience and connection, innovative showcases create a lasting impact for brands. The power of these creative opportunities will undoubtedly keep luxury brands in the virtual space with every new season for years to come.