Reprinted from: WWD International Fashion News
Original title: Depth | Can installation art become a new password for luxury brands to break the circle?
Behemoth-like installation art has recently become a traffic code on social media.
If you open the Xiaohongshu APP in recent months, it is not difficult to notice that the installation art created by several luxury brands has become a hit. In the popular fashion and cultural landmark of the country, the Gold Coast community of Anaya, to celebrate the official release of the Pink PP series, Valentino used the theme colors of the series to decorate many landmark buildings including Whitechapel, creating a sense of otherworldliness in an unusual way The pink universe has attracted widespread attention.
Trendy Cultural Landmark: Anaya Gold Coast Community
The Louis Vuitton 2023 Spring/Summer men’s wear replica show that also landed in Aranya was also the first to grab attention with the venue layout before the show. Judging from the pictures uploaded by netizens, although this is the second time to hold the show, the brand does not seem to intend to simplify or copy the original. In June, when the show was held in the Cour Carrée square of the Louvre in Paris, the brand chose a bright yellow toy track set, and decorated it with a red inflatable ball device with the brand logo, which continued Virgil Abloh’s gorgeous and colorful aesthetic system. Although the above installation has not been reproduced in Aranya, the brand has ingeniously built a fantasy paradise composed of giant sand sculptures.
Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2023 Menswear Aranya show live art installation
Diesel, an Italian denim fashion brand, has also successfully displayed a large-scale installation art in Shanghai TX Huaihai shopping mall to attract dense traffic. However, it is interesting that this pioneering giant inflatable doll has also pushed the brand to the forefront of public opinion. This doll with long hair and lying on the ground was originally one of the beauties of the brand’s 2022 autumn and winter show. When it first appeared, it did not arouse much controversy, but after coming to China, it provoked a lot of spectators. nerve. The brand’s original intention may be to create a grotesque aesthetic through large-scale art installations, but the interpretation of the domestic people is strange, and the dolls are also labeled “weird”.
First, installation art is expensive, and secondly, it may lead to a flood of negative reviews due to decoding deviations. However, when facing these two mountains, the brand did not shrink back at all, but scrambled to pursue installation art. Why is this?
According to relevant information, Installation Art is an emerging art form that emerged in the mid-twentieth century, which is defined as the creator’s artistic choice, transforming material materials or re-structuring ready-made products, and placing them in specific places. environment to give objects new meanings. Compared with traditional sculpture, installation art has a more open relationship with the audience in space. In many cases, the viewer can even walk directly into the work, unlike traditional sculpture works, which can only be seen from outside the work.
The field of installation art has always been intertwined with the fashion circle, and the show with strong dream-making intention is the place where art installations appear frequently. Many fashion lovers have basically completed the Chanel show when Karl Lagerfeld was in charge of the installation art. At that time, Chanel’s show every season was able to capture a lot of limelight with its spectacular art installations, and images such as merry-go-rounds, perfume bottles, and golden lions appeared in turn with different series. Among them, the big rocket on the 2017 autumn and winter show can be said to be the most sensational device. When the models collectively appeared for the curtain call, the ten-story-high rocket started to launch with the help of lifting equipment. With the special effects of fire and smoke, this indistinguishable lift-off scene spread like crazy on the Internet in an instant.
In recent years, more and more brands have begun to move art installations into the runway: in the first two shows after Kim Jones took the helm of Dior menswear, the large BFF doll designed by KAWS and the bionic female robot concocted by Sorayama became the show. At the Balenciaga winter 22 series show, creative director Demna skillfully used a panoramic glass container to present the ice and snow space with a sense of apocalypse; some time ago, in the Saint Laurent 2023 spring and summer menswear series release show, visual designer Es Devlin forged The metal ring transforms Morocco’s Agfi Desert into a surreal scene…
It goes without saying that for luxury brands, the most direct benefit of installation art is to enhance the effect of activities. On the one hand, the basic form and structure of installation art are unique, and accompanied by dramatic expression means such as light and shadow, sound effects and 3D, it can provide the audience with a fresh audio-visual experience. It is worth emphasizing that installation art usually uses real objects and environments to visualize abstract content, which not only creates emotional ripples, but also activates people’s thinking about themselves and society, and the senses acquired in this three-dimensional space. The excitement is beyond the reach of easel painting.
On the other hand, different from other art forms that can only be viewed from a distance, but not to be played with, installation art focuses on the sense of participation, which can provide solutions to the problem of lack of interaction in marketing activities. There is a view that when the public appreciates the installation art, whether it is active or passive, it will form a dialogue and exchange with the whole work, and in the process, the viewer will be satisfied with the sense of participation. Some analysts pointed out that a major advantage of installation art lies in its user-friendly multi-functional installations, and these installations that fully consider the user experience can effectively shorten the distance between consumers and brands, and at the same time improve consumers’ goodwill towards products. thereby promoting consumption.
In 2021, Gucci will hold a brand exhibition called “Gucci Originals” in Shanghai. The brand uses avant-garde technology and innovative scenery technology to create 17 creative spaces with different styles, and the artistic director Alessandro Michele’s unrestrained thoughts are concrete. Turned into a real scene, rich and diverse installation art is filled with it, giving visitors an immersive sensory experience. Like in the “House of Collection” exhibition hall, the brand’s star handbag GG Marmont, together with insect specimens and plush toys, are placed in a transparent glass cabinet, creating a kaleidoscope-like fantasy world under the reflection of the mirror. Thanks to this well-planned exhibition, Gucci successfully told the brand story of the new era to Chinese consumers and achieved a double boost in the volume of word-of-mouth. Thousands of discussions and nearly 530 million views, related videos have been viewed more than 20 million times on the Internet, and positive feedback on brands and exhibitions is frequent on major social platforms.
Al Ries, an American marketing strategist and founder of positioning theory, pointed out that the best way to capture the minds of potential customers is through vision, because compared to text, vision is more focused and easy to interpret, and can quickly enter the mind, especially if it is more recognizable than brands. Strong correlation “visual hammer”. In today’s era, attention is scarce and information is highly fragmented, making it more difficult to seize the cognitive heights. Therefore, brands may need to use installation art to nail the brand language into the minds of consumers. The giant doll erected by Diesel in the Huaihai shopping mall in TX, although it is difficult to form a unified conclusion about its beauty and ugliness, it is certain that it stands out from a variety of art installations and has won widespread attention, and successfully made Diesel’s new image take root in the minds of the public . According to “Musun News“, the staff of TX Huaihai shopping mall and nearby merchants admitted that compared with previous activities held by the mall, the dolls on display this time obviously attracted more audiences who came to check in.
On the contrary, when the “visual hammer” is missing, it is more difficult for brands to gather attention. After Virginie Viard took the helm of Chanel, the huge and eye-catching installation art is no longer the standard of the show, which also reduced the discussion of the release show to a certain extent. In the early days of the outbreak, Chanel even canceled the offline fashion show and released the 2021 vacation series online in the form of an electronic catalog. Although Chanel went to the Italian island of Capri against all odds and tried to convey the sense of an exotic vacation, it was unable to win the brand’s previous wide attention and rave reviews. Fashion author Alexandra Mondalek asked on Twitter, “Without a big runway show, one can’t help but wonder if the Chanel vacation collection is so special?” And Vanessa Friedman, a senior fashion critic for The New York Times, bluntly said, “I Even started to miss the big rocket.
By creating installation art, luxury brands have actually deepened their ties to the art field, leveraging the latter’s elegant connotation to empower their brand image. Relevant surveys have shown that when luxury brands intersect with art, or form associations with artists, consumers’ perceptions of brands will be corrected. Luxury is a product with the highest ratio of intangible value to tangible value, and its symbolic meaning far exceeds its material value. Therefore, with the addition of art, luxury goods can unlock more abundant and diverse symbolic values, thus maintaining a high-end customer base. status.
The late Louis Vuitton menswear creative director Virgil Abloh was particularly keen to explore the interaction between art and commerce. During his tenure, marketing activities such as release shows or pop-up stores will basically have installation art. Virgil Abloh once said in an interview that the injection of art is mainly to give the brand a new image. Perhaps the outside world will be puzzled by this. After Virgil Abloh took over, he has actually successfully swept away the legacy of his predecessor with a more street-like wardrobe combination. Why do you need to be persistent in art?
In essence, street trends are down-to-earth and have a high rate of change, while art is the opposite. It is classic and timeless. The two seem to stand on opposite sides. But for a luxury brand that needs to pursue street fashion and start a youthful transformation, art is actually an indispensable piece of the puzzle. For luxury goods that rely on the historical heritage of the brand and the origin of fashion culture, although embracing new trends is very popular, they still need to create a narrative method that is truly relevant to the brand and has a strong enough connotation, so as to provide consumers with an expensive way to buy a certain brand. sufficient and necessary reasons for some special products. Therefore, the close connection and cooperation with art has become one of the important means for luxury goods to maintain their tone in the digital age and trendy culture.
Sonja Prokopec, a professor of luxury brand management at ESSEC Business School under the LVMH Group, pointed out that because art can communicate with viewers from in-depth to emotional levels, integrating art into a brand’s narrative is a way to make the brand feel A good way to build a more meaningful and meaningful image in the minds of consumers.
Although installation art has many benefits for luxury brands, it is not without risks. The appearance of installation art on the show floor will undoubtedly add highlights to the show and increase the probability of it being reprinted on the Internet, but it is also easy to cause the problem of blurred focus. Previously, we were in “Inviting stars to the catwalk, will it be the best solution to the fashion show traffic dilemma?” “The article once analyzed that star appearance may be the biggest threat to a release show, because they will become the only thing remembered by the media and the public. And the creative director’s painstakingly crafted collection, which should have been the most important part of the show, was completely marginalized. Such a problem may also occur in installation art.
In addition, the understanding of art has always been subjective, and the same art installation will have diametrically opposite interpretations in different cultural contexts. In addition to Diesel’s giant dolls, Prada’s renovation of Shanghai’s Wuzhong market last year also caused a lot of controversy. In the minds of the public, intellectual temperament has always been Prada’s unique footnote. Therefore, when the brand covered the exterior walls of buildings, internal booths and vegetables and fruits on sale with the autumn and winter series of prints, many domestic brand fans were deeply impressed by this. Feeling puzzled, some media pointed out that this does not conform to the artistic and cultural characteristics of the brand.
In the fashion industry, there’s a saying that goes around: There’s no such thing as bad publicity. It means that even negative news is a form of propaganda, and it is good to be talked about. But for brands that want to use art installations to elevate their connotations, it may not be a wise move to seek exposure rather than reputation. If the breaking of the marketing circle is accompanied by misinterpretation and negative associations of the brand, then this wide-ranging and high-frequency exposure will actually only accelerate the decline of the brand image. From past experience, it can be seen that if the series is inaccurate in one season, the brand can still quickly adjust in the next season to wash away the impression and reverse the criticism, but a marketing accident of “a scandal spreads thousands of miles” may become a black history that will be unforgettable for a lifetime. WWD
Written by Drake
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