In a recent previous post we looked at the Super Mario inspired garments and accessories from Moschino's S/S 16 collection. That's actually not the only collection linked with video gaming mania.
In the last few years anime and manga were among the inspirations for fashion collections (some may remember Prada's costumes for Shinji Aramaki's mecha anime Appleseed: Ex Machina (2008) and pyschological drama Evangelion being behind the collection developed by Akiyoshi Mishima's label Fugahum for online retailer Radio Eva), but at the moment the world of fashion is having a love affair with videogames.
The latest gaming and fashion link is provided by the Louis Vuitton S/S 2016 advertising campaign featuring Lightning, the heroine of role-playing and storytelling game "Final Fantasy" (she first appeared as a playable character in "Final Fantasy XIII"), in an image credited to her designer, famed gaming artist Tetsuya Nomura, and to Visual Works of (Japan-based game developer and publisher) Square Enix.
Actually she is not the only "supermodel" featured in the "Series 4" campaign that will be appearing in the February issues of fashion magazines worldwide. The ads include indeed Korean actress Doona Bae (images by Juergen Teller), and 17-year-old rapper and actor Jaden Smith (in a pleated skirt) with models Sarah Brannon, Rianne Van Rompaey and Jean Campbell (photographs by Bruce Weber).
Louis Vuitton's S/S 16 collection by Nicolas Ghesquière was actually heavily influenced by Wong Kar Wai's film 2046 and by Evangelion. The actual show last October started with an introduction to the video game "Minecraft" and a sound clip from Tron: Legacy. The S/S 16 collection features pieces you could easily spot in the wardrobe of a cyberpunk character, such as laser-cut leather tunics in metallic shades, colourful motorcycle jackets and metal-embroidered kilts accessorised with leather gloves and gauntlets, mini locket bags and thick soled creeper sandals.
"Final Fantasy" is a terrific choice for fashion models for its highly-detailed characters (Aki Ross and Gray Edwards from "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" appeared a while back as models in Maxim magazine) and Lightning is a young and dynamic heroine with strong combat skills and a cool personality that very aptly fits to our world in which social networks and instant communications reign supreme.
The campaign - tickling all the boxes to make it extremely trendy and instantly Instagrammable (genderless models, digital images and visually alluring characters...) - includes a couple of mini films for Instagram and Vuitton's website. Lightning appears in one video showcasing some of Louis Vuitton's handbags and clothing from the S/S 16 collection and starts with her wearing the same pink jacket and shorts that opened Vuitton's show in October (while in the stills she seems to be focusing more on the handbags from the collection). This video was produced from Square Enix's Visual Works CG division under the direction of Tetsuya Nomura.
It's hard to resist Lightning with her perfect skin, crystal clear blue eyes and synthetic rose pink hair. In an Instagram post this week, Ghesquière called Lightning a "genuine heroine", adding that the ad for the Louis Vuitton Series 4 campaign is where "reality and fantasy become one".
Believe it or not, the game's creators also put together a quote directly from Lightning about this campaign: "My clothes were nothing more than armor to stay alive; 'dressing up' was a concept I've never had. Perhaps that makes me an unseemly choice as ambassador (…) But this experience has opened my eyes. Fashion isn't something you're taught or given; it comes from your own taste and your own choices. It displays the essence of who you are to those around you. It makes me feel excited, a feeling similar to when I venture to unknown lands."
You could argue that this is a new frontier in the marriage between tech and fashion – a mainly visual frontier that the fashion industry seems to love because it doesn't come with the risks that other technological innovations may bring with them.
Though there have been great steps when it comes to 3D printing and wearable tech, some of these technologies still have to be developed and refined, not to mention the fact that they are still too expensive to be really introduced into everybody's wardrobe. Video-games are instead already among us, they perfectly work and sell a lot, definitely more than luxury handbags.
Yet there is something that deeply worries you about seeing a digitally rendered woman in the advert of a luxury house. While the ad proves that even huge powerful fashion houses are pretty desperate to attract new and young consumers (well, gamers have generally found appealing the campaign, but will they be switching their interest from investing into games to investing into handbags?), it also reconfirms the fact that there is not much space for ordinarily exceptional real grown up women in adverts.
As most of us exist in real life, do not have the suave porcelain skin of a digital heroine but possess real curves, and we also talk too much for the tastes of too many men, we're utterly useless when it comes to selling extremely expensive bags. Maybe most of us will have to go underground like the Morlocks (not a bad choice if you think the Eloi were just a bunch of scared and weak banal idiots...) to exist in future. Time will tell, but you seriously wonder if the next collaboration will consist in a Bayonetta inspired eyewear line.
PS A final note for all video game programmers and producers: fight back and steal from fashion. You need a horrid boss? Check out the looks on Thom Browne's A/W 2012-13 runway, there were quite a few grotesque monsters on it (with clothes devoid of any cyber-edged functionality, but looking quite upsetting in a deconstructed Frankenstein monster kind of way...), just add some deadly powers and your stylishly freakish game is ready!
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