Wearable technology is about to get its luxe test.
This story first appeared in the June 3, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Tech giant Google has teamed once again with Diane von Furstenberg and, for the first time, Net-a-porter to put its Glass wearable technology in front of the online luxury consumer.
Diane von Furstenberg, which helped launch Glass in 2012, created a series of frames to accommodate the technology with its eyewear licensee Marchon. DVF Made for Glass — which contains an optical frame available in five colors, as well as two sunglass silhouettes that each come in four colorways — will go on sale at google.com/glass and net-a-porter.com on June 23.
The offering will be shown today for the first time with the brand’s resort collection.
So far, wearable technology — from smart watches and Google Glass to light-up shirts and health monitors — has generated more buzz than sales. But many believe that some combination of style and the digital functionality will eventually find a broader market.
“It brings multitasking to another level because it actually does not block your sight at all,” Diane von Furstenberg told WWD.
That might not necessarily be a good thing.
“You can be driving and watching a movie,” the designer said. “[I know] I probably shouldn’t say that. The point is that you can be filming things while you’re doing them.”
Natalie Massenet, founder and executive chairman of the Net-a-porter Group, also sees broader potential for wearables.
“When Google Glass walked the runway, I texted the number-two person at Google and said, ‘What’s happening?’” Massenet said. “I think it’s fair to say that we were calling their head of marketing consistently to see what can be done.”
Net-a-porter will be the first outside Web site to stock Glass and carry a $1,700 prepackaged bundle that includes Glass, a DVF optical frame, a sunglass style, a mono earbud and a case. The arrangement is an extension of the Google Glass Explorer program, which has been introducing the technology to the broader public.
Massenet, who has been a part of Google’s Explorer program since last year, believes Glass will “absolutely” become a mainstream product.
“The fact that it’s glasswear and technology is something that we see as eminently commercial,” Massenet said, adding that the company plans to delve further into wearable technology.
Google, which released its first optical frames for Glass in January, is expanding upon its initial designs to appeal to two distinct audiences: women and the fashion set.
“For a long time, we’ve been saying that it’s really important that people can express their own style while wearing Glass,” said Isabelle Olsson, Google’s lead designer for Glass. “The titanium [look of the first Glass models] was designed to be unisex, so the cool thing about the DVF [offering] is that it’s catering to women.”
Olsson described the prescription style as an oval, subtle cat-eye shape that comes in colors like a translucent light pink, glossy black, matte brown, matte frosted white and teal. As for sunglasses, there is an aviator and a bigger, bolder style that each come with subtle gradient or flashier mirrored lenses.
Mr Porter, Net-a-porter’s men’s wear portal, will carry Glass, too. Similar to its women’s selection, the site will sell a prepackaged offering containing Glass, a pair of titanium optical frames and a pair of sunglasses for $1,650.
For those who already own Glass, the DVF shades are available at google.com/glass as an accessory addition, with optical frames retailing for $225 and sunglasses for $120.