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New York designer Minkoff mixes in-person show with 'extended reality'


Feb 18, 2021

New York - Rebecca Minkoff is one of few designers to present her collection at New York’s Fashion Week in person — but she’s also betting on the power of streaming, using innovative technology to immerse online viewers in her work.

Just like at last fall’s edition of Fashion Week, this spring’s collections will be presented almost exclusively online due to the Covid-19 pandemic — and many of the major designers have opted out altogether.

The exceptions include Jason Wu, who held a show for 25 people on Sunday, and Minkoff, who invited 100 people to a studio in Soho to view her latest collection on Tuesday with mask-wearing and social distancing required. Thousands more watched on Instagram and Tik Tok, and on Thursday her show will be available on Fashion Week’s official website.

The New York designer will also present the collection on Yahoo on Wednesday, using extended reality technology to offer a 360-degree show in collaboration with Yahoo Ryot Lab and Verizon Media’s 5G content studio.

Using a cell phone, viewers will be able to focus in on pieces from all angles to get a sense of the details — an option rarely available even from a show’s coveted front-row seats.

“Immersive content really helps to contextualize a collection and allows the consumer to get up close with the designer and the garments without stepping into a store,” Minkoff told the trade outlet Women’s Wear Daily.

But many people hold that nothing can replace seeing a collection in person. “It’s a lot more exciting in person — you can feel the atmosphere and you can see the fabrics better, there’s music. At home, in YouTube, it doesn’t have the same vibe,” Russian model and blogger Karina Bik told AFP after the show, which featured leather shorts and summery maxi dresses in animal prints, and of course matching masks.

Esther Santer, a 30-year-old fashion blogger, told AFP the experience is “100 percent different” online: “You lose the energy, the magic of it all and the social experience.”

“At the end of the day there’s nothing like seeing how a garment moves, how it’s styled, how it looks like in person,” Santer said, praising Minkoff for putting on a live show.

“It was great to get out and take a taste of Fashion Week because I know we all miss it.” (AFP)