Alexander McQueen streamed his spring show live for the first time last night, using Nick Knight’s Showstudio.com site as the platform for the video feed. Yet, while his wide-ranging interview, posted prior to the show — touching on topics from plastic surgery to McQueen’s Wikipedia search of the collection’s inspiration, Atlantis and Plato — generally went off without a hitch, the designer’s Twitter prediction shortly after the show started proved accurate: “Due to massive demand, you may not be able to catch the stream.”
Indeed, only a few minutes into the production, models appeared stuck in mid-strut and the tell-tale “buffering” sign began popping up before — at least on two reporters’ computers — freezing entirely for several minutes. And while the clothes were more easily scrutinized as the stream slowed down, it was difficult to discern fabrics and patterns via the camera’s fleeting focus. “Seriously it would have been nice if the bloody link worked!” noted a commenter on Thefashionisto.com.
Nevertheless, industry observers applauded McQueen’s attempts to offer fans an unfiltered experience — even though several pointed out it wasn’t exactly revolutionary. “It’s taking something that already exists and democratizes it,” said Andrew Essex, chief executive officer of the advertising agency Droga5. “It gives real fans access to the show who can’t go to the show.”
Trey Laird of Laird + Partners, however, had a word of caution. “Maybe for those cult followers, it’s nice to see something first, but I think this misses the point in terms of clients,” said Laird. “It seems like the industry is going more in the direction of marketing things and there’s a disconnect with what’s selling now.”
Yet creating desire for the clothes was enough of a marketing victory for McQueen for some. “You draw people to the [company] Web site and create a connection to the brand,” explained James Gardner, ceo of interactive agency Createthe Group. Added Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, a co-founder of the luxury sample-sale site Gilt Groupe: “I think live video streams could be an interesting trunk show opportunity for top shoppers loyal to specific brands.”
And even though Marc Gobé, president of Emotional Branding LLC, wasn’t able to avoid the technical difficulties the live video presented, “You didn’t have to see the whole thing to understand it,” he said. “The interview [McQueen did] was key. It was a powerful breaking-down of walls.”
The video is available here: http://alexandermcqueenlive.showstudio.com/