Buying clothes online should be an inspiring, and ultimately, modern experience. Maison Margiela's new virtual flagship, conceived by artistic director John Galliano with creative consultation by Nick Knight, invites the people who actually buy these clothes into the fantasy of fashion. An immersive environment is filled with models who come alive in film vignettes and stills taken by Britt Lloyd, as part of the radical interactive website made in collaboration with International Magic design studio with sound design and production by the legendary Jeremy Healy. MaisonMargiela.com promises to revolutionise how the modern consumer engages with fashion online, as a place to understand a designer's dreams.
The fashion industry is notoriously resistant to change, despite being predicated on the concept of newness. Luxury brands have been slow to adapt to selling online despite consumer demand. In 2020 online sales were worth $58 billion, and the global COVID-19 pandemic provided a tipping point as physical stores shut down and brands were forced to embrace new ways of engaging with their customer to drive growth. Galliano, however, has never been afraid of change. Having collaborated with Knight on the Maison Margiela fashion films S.W.A.L.K and S.W.A.L.K. II as a way to realise the narrative behind his collections for the audience, Galliano asked Knight to creative consult on Maisonmargiela.com.
'It’s not new to show the clothes in movement. What is new is the idea that you put all your creative energy into creating amazing images both film and stills that have the same artistic force as any really great editorial or fashion advertising campaign. You need to create desire for the clothes and make them inspiring and as fantastic as possible. That’s why great fashion image-makers are so successful and so important to a fashion brand', explains Knight. 'What is new is putting that artistic talent in charge of the image so the models look aspirational and cool. The viewer has to want to look like them and want to be in their world. E-commerce is usually just a model boringly standing still like a mannequin, dull, lifeless and dead. Who will fall in love with that? Britt Lloyd was asked to do this because she is possibly one of the most exciting image-makers, as well having a truly elegant and modern vision. She loves the brand and puts energy and life into the models.'
This latest film, featuring the Avant-Première Spring-Summer 2023 collection, captures the concept of the virtual Maison Margiela store; an interactive shoppable landscape for the user to explore. 'The power of great fashion imagery is to show a fantasy, to make you dream, to make you fall in love', says Knight. More than ever, e-commerce is the place where designers and brands come into contact with the people who wear their clothes, so why not invite them to become fully immersed in that space, which Knight goes so far as to term 'e-art'. An antidote to the sterile nature of fashion and online shopping, Maisonmargiela.com is a groundbreaking proposition.