PARIS — Faithful to its positioning at the crossroads between fashion and technology, French fashion brand Coperni is launching its first official campaign with a video shot exclusively in extended reality.
While the technology is revolutionizing filmmaking, helping create movies such as “The Mandalorian,” its use in fashion is still relatively new, according to creative directors Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant.
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“I think we’re the first fashion brand in France to use extended reality for a project of this kind,” Vaillant said of the video, which will be unveiled on Instagram on Monday.
A blanket term that encompasses all virtual and real environments generated by computer technology, extended reality includes components such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality to create immersive environments.
The market for extended reality is expected to register a compound annual growth rate of more than 62 percent between 2021 and 2026 to reach $463.7 billion, according to market research firm Mordor Intelligence. Its applications span from video games to health care, engineering, real estate and more.
For their spring campaign, inspired by their fashion show in September on top of the Tour Montparnasse skyscraper in Paris, Meyer and Vaillant created a vertigo-inducing film that shows models apparently lounging, walking and sometimes dangling from steel beams hundreds of feet above ground, as the sky turns from day to night.
At the end, the illusion is revealed as model Malika Louback walks off the special effects set.
Meyer said the footage was shot against screens that broadcast the images and adjust them in real time, thanks to sensors linked to cameras. Unlike green screens, the LED screens project light from the scene directly onto the models, eliminating the need for postproduction.
“With this technology, you can film it and broadcast it straight away,” he said. “It opens up a huge field of possibilities, especially for live broadcasts.”
The film was directed by We Are From L.A., who have made music videos for the likes of Pharrell Williams, Cassius and Dua Lipa, and was shot at Pure View XR studio near Paris. In the process, Meyer and Vaillant became familiar with technologies like a gaming software called Unreal Engine, and a programming tool called TouchDesigner.
“I’m a bit of a geek, to be honest. I follow more gaming and tech accounts on Instagram than I do luxury brands,” said Meyer. “We’re curious and we love this stuff, so we just dive right in and we’re like kids with cutting-edge toys.”
While the duo like to inject technology into their designs — think fabrics with anti-UV, moisturizing properties and an antibacterial primer — they have so far resisted doing digital fashion shows. For Paris Fashion Week in March, they made headlines with their drive-in show at a Paris arena.
“Honestly, if it hadn’t been for COVID-19, I don’t think we would have done it. It ended up being my favorite show ever, and the feedback was unbelievable,” said Vaillant.
Now they’re thinking about how to incorporate digital technology further into their work. “You can make it a business,” noted Vaillant, pointing to the example of the digital sneakers launched by Gucci. Meyer is more wary of the commercial possibilities, but he does see potential for artistic projects.
“I love the idea of making virtual clothes, but for me, it’s something closer to art,” he said. “I can see couture going very digital, because in couture, you want to make exceptional things.”