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Fashion brands now live on stories

Something is happening in the fashion world and especially in the communication of fashion brands. An apparently superficial phenomenon, but which tells us a lot about this market: from image, fashion is becoming a story.

The protagonists of this transformation were fashion films in the first place: short films, often commissioned from leading directors, in which clothing is omnipresent but not the protagonists, at the most, they are compressed. The story, the actors (often stellar) and the set design (a blast) lead the way.

As objectives, the fashion film does not stray too far from fashion photography: to show the clothes and tie them to a specific and unforgettable mood. The advantages, however, are numerous:

  • the game of cross-referencing with the world of cinema widens the potential audience, also by virtue of the director’s fame;
  • the video allows to tell a richer, more articulated and therefore more memorable reality;
  • finally, the video is a much more suitable tool for digital diffusion, therefore essential to bring the messages of fashion to the millennial audience.

Let’s see some examples.

We could start with Castello Cavalcanti, the short film shot by Wes Anderson for Prada.

Prada itself entrusted Roman Polanski with his short film A Therapy, with Ben Kingsley.

Looking at a more mass market brand, there is the amazing The Secret Life of Flowers, shot to tell the story of the H&M by Erdem collection by Baz Luhrmann (director of Moulin Rouge, Australia, Romeo & Juliet, The Great Gatsby).

Halfway between story and video clip is the frenetic video shot by Spike Jonze for Kenzo World, a tribute to Christopher Walken's crazy dance for Fatboy Slim.

Or there is Walking Stories, a romantic miniseries shot by Luca Guadagnino for Ferragamo (even in 2013) that tells a love story around the world.

A case in point is A Single Man, the film shot by fashion designer Tom Ford, in which the aesthetics of fashion are mixed with those of cinema.

This growing familiarity of fashion with the story, matured over the years, has recently begun to expand its domain. Before, in fact, it was limited to the fashion films we talked about: in many cases, products distinct from product communication.

Today, however, this language comes ever closer to product communication. Think of the Gucci AW 2017 collection, entirely set in a retro-futuristic universe where models become unlikely aliens. The world of reference here has widened to include collection shots, other than fashion movies. It’s no coincidence that Gucci is enjoying considerable favor among millennials, accustomed to consuming stories, no matter how absurd. Any numbers? According to the WSJ, 55% of Gucci’s sales are attributable to the millennials. In addition, in the first quarter of 2018 (so immediately after the “alien” campaign) sales grew by 46%. This is not by chance, because it seems that creative director Alessandro Michele hired a real “millennial commission” to evaluate the creativity of the house.

Gucci AW 2017 Campaign

Or, let’s take the case of Zegna, who presented his latest collection with a serial story featuring two super-actors of the caliber of Javier Bardem and Dev Patel, as two friends who meet on the streets of Madrid. The videos are part of the series “Defining Moments” that had already seen Robert De Niro as a protagonist last year, but the interesting thing is that on Facebook and Instagram these videos are in fact an animated catalogue, because they are used in shoppable format: that is, with links to the product pages of all the garments that appear on the screen.

Ermenegildo Zegna fashion communication

What does that tell us? That fashion and luxury brands today can no longer focus solely on aesthetics, an element that for the Instagram generation is overabundant and cheap. To add value, they must create stories and invent worlds. In short, they must involve external elements, perhaps “aliens” to the fashion world, in their creativity. Because only by contaminating themselves will they remain relevant.

Matteo Sublimio Founder & Creative Director
AUTHOR:

Matteo Modica
Founder & Creative Director

A tireless purveyor of quality, Matteo manages every branding and communication project down to the details, leading creative teams to always express their best.

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