While Milan Fashion Week (MFW) may be home to some of the industry’s biggest heritage houses, the calendar’s participants aren’t afraid to push the boat out and take their historical legacy to new territory.
This was particularly evident during the recent Spring/Summer 2024 season. Web3 hype was muted in London and New York, where this year smaller communities of arbiters did the heavy work boosting Web3’s cultural relevance.
In Milan, it was the style behemoths who championed the virtual realm and artificial intelligence (AI).
Old-school fashion evangelists may be reticent towards Web3, but with names like Gucci, Diesel, and Boss adding new tech interfaces to their strategies, the landscape’s potential is proving harder to ignore.
@charmbrasil Este robô está pronto para dançar a noite toda na Techtopia do #boss no #MFW. : martinocarrera : WWD #CharmBrasil #milanfashionweek #mfw ♬ som original – Charm Brasil
Boss’ ‘Techtopia’ immerses guests in a tech-powered reality
Boss is the latest to join the lineup of adopters harnessing AI this season. For the house’s catwalk collection, which showcased on Friday last week, guests were greeted at the entrance by Hanson Robotics’ AI-powered Sophia the robot (dressed in a full Boss look), then were immersed in the brand’s Innovation Lab venue.
The location was designed to emulate a universe in which cutting-edge technology and humankind are naturally integrated, complete with giant holograms and the AromaSynth Lab, where attendees could experience Boss’ fragrances via new olfactory activations.
The buzzy tech continues to have its moment in the cultural spotlight, particularly as industry players look to tap into the zeitgeist.
Diesel invites NFTs holders to attend its SS24 showcase
As part of its partnership with Web3 talent platform Public Pressure, Diesel’s latest NFT drop was a lesson in leveraging digital asset value and making non-fungible tokens cool again.
Diesel dropped 300 “Metamorph” tokens on September 13 via the Polygon and Polkadot blockchain networks. The NFT also doubled as an invite to the brand’s high-profile Spring/Summer 2024 showcase, located outdoors in Milan’s Scalo Farini.
With over 7,000 onlookers in attendance, tokenholders were given first dibs to be a part of the collection’s techno-apocalyptic presentation. Each NFT also arrived with its own soundtrack by music composer and Diesel fashion show sound designer Senjan Jansen.
Coperni goes generative
A brand at the fore of fashion’s tech revolution, Coperni was the catalyst for the runway’s recent infatuation with online virality, following Bella Hadid’s spray-painted dress performance for Spring/Summer 2023 during Paris Fashion Week (which, according to Launchmetrics, accumulated a media impact value of $26.3 million).
Unveiled during MFW, although not an official fashion week activation (Coperni’s SS24 collection will showcase during the Paris Fashion Week calendar), the rising Parisian label took its innovations off the catwalk with its debut “generate polymorphic story,” dubbed The Wolf And The Lamb.
Powered using generative AI and featuring model Lila Moss, the video will run live over a six month period. The presentation comprises a constantly-evolving series of 40-second videos based on multiple choices of sets, scenarios and looks from Coperni’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection. Over the course of its existence, the livestream will create over 320,000 different narratives, with no two outcomes ever being the same.
Gucci’s gaming strategy sets the gold standard
In addition to the brand’s recent creative director switch-up, the departure of Robert Triefus, CEO of Gucci Vault and Metaverse Ventures, in April this year created much speculation around what would happen to the maison’s strong Web3 entity (Vice President of Metaverse Ventures, Micael Barilaro, has overtaken Triefus’ role since). But Gucci’s digital ambitions remain robust.
Coinciding with Sabato De Sarno’s debut collection, Gucci launched a number of “Gucci Ancora” activations across Roblox, Zepeto, and Chinese Tencent-owned platform QQ to broadcast the brand’s new creative vision to gamers worldwide.
Users are able to experience a virtually-rendered version of the Gucci Ancora show based on its original outdoor location in the Brera district. Their avatars can also watch the IRL collection from the comfort of a digital theater.
Gaming has become one of the most powerful tools in Gucci’s Web3 arsenal, with its Gucci Town and Gucci Garden initiatives drawing in over 53 million users, according to metaverse data platform Geeiq.
Avavav pivots back to digital assets
Following the independent label’s first rollout of NFTs in partnership with Brand New Vision in early 2022, Avavav is back exploring the novelty of digital assets for Spring/Summer 2024. This time, it teamed up with Web3 design studio OnlyEver. The tie-up released its first crowd-sourced, Web3-enabled “Hoofster” shoe on the catwalk on Sunday.
“By embracing blockchain technology and involving our community in the design process, we are pushing boundaries and challenging traditional norms,” OnlyEver founder Rocco Bressanin says in a press release.
Avavav’s community was given the opportunity to vote on the shoe’s structure, color, materials, and name prior to its unveiling, ushering in a new blueprint for Web3-centric co-creation. Moreover, each pair of Hoofsters is linked to the blockchain via an NFT-linked NFC chip that is unique to each owner.