Model Guinevere van Seenus stars in Todd Cole's fashion film "Aanteni" for Rodarte and Nowness.com.
The world of luxury brands has always had a hard time swallowing the lo-fi chic of video sharing sites such as YouTube. While digital campaigns became the norm for a broad spectrum of advertisers more than a few years ago, high-end fashion retailers remained largely in the rarified worlds of glossy magazines and runway presentations.
About two years ago, brands such as Yves-Saint Laurent, Prada and Louis Vuitton started creating fashion films and interactive microsites both in-house and through outside ad agencies.
In February, global luxury group Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) went a step further and launched Nowness.com, a web platform that gives luxury brands a place to showcase high-quality film content amidst the kind of sophisticated design aesthetic and insider editorial voice that consumers in that market have come to expect.
Created with digital commerce company Create The Group, Nowness replaces LVMH's eLuxury online shopping portal, which shuttered last year. The site is updated daily and will house exclusive slideshows, short films, videos, interviews and interactive projects about fashion, art, film, travel and wine. Recent stories include an interview with visual artist Jeff Koons, an article on Campari cocktails, a video tour of painter Lucian Freud's studio and a slideshow of work by experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger.
The site also uses software that accesses users interests, preferences and viewing history to tailor recommendations from the site's archives.
"We hope Nowness will inform and educate users," says Kamel Ouadi, global digital media director for Louis Vuitton, who created the venture. "Luxury is a culture, so you have to be in the know, to get backstage, behind the scenes. I think it will provide unexpected stories that are fresh, pure, emotional and beautiful."
Ouadi hopes that artists, filmmakers and designers from around the world will contribute to the site. Los Angeles-based commercial and music video company The Director's Bureau partnered with video artist Todd Cole to create an experimental sci-fi fashion film for American designers Rodarte's autumn/winter 2010 collection. Berlin-based animator/director David OReilly's 3D portraits of glam singer Lady GaGa were also recently featured.
Ouadi promises a wealth of innovative digital art and content in the coming months, funded through advertising but also backed directly by luxury brands, which can pay to feature their own content or commission original content for Nowness. He's most excited about interactive art projects, which will include an interactive map of Jeff Koons lovers around the world, for example.
"We're going to partner through content, because the business model of Nowness is based on custom publishing," he says. "It's the right space to connect with luxury, the best of the best of the industry. Brands do not have on their own site the space to promote their brands and tell stories."
(With files from Ed White)