DIGITAL RUN: As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, fashion brands are forced to adapt to a life with less physical events — and to increasingly leverage digital solutions.

To wit: Luxury fashion house Valentino is bringing the two formats closer with a new project that is part of its omnichannel strategy and aimed at moving into the virtual space an exclusive in-store event.

On June 4, Valentino’s flagship on Milan’s luxury shopping thoroughfare Via Montenapoleone will host the “Valentino Garavani Backnet” event, dedicated to the namesake hit sneakers, with no physical interaction required for guests.

The virtual gathering will be live-streamed on a dedicated online platform, with invited guests receiving a link to join remotely.

Hosted by Alessio Ascari, the young publisher and creative director of cutting-edge magazine Kaleidoscope dedicated to the visual arts, the event’s digital quotient will be further highlighted by a performance conceived by Berlin-based creative collective Sucuk & Bratwurst, run by Alessandro Belliero, David Gönner, Denis Olgac and Lukas Olgac. The creative group realized a range of 3-D animations highlighting the sneakers’ details by immersing them into unexpected digital environments. The collective has previously worked with fashion brands including Dior, Alexander Wang, Rimowa, Nike and Adidas, among others.

The customers invited to join the gathering will be allowed to customize their own pair of Backnet shoes by adding a leather tag at the back with their initials engraved. Dedicated sales assistant will guide clients through the purchasing process and will offer the chance to pick up the sneakers in-store or delivered at home.

The project marks a step toward the digitization of fashion events at a time when social distancing is still encouraged to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

As reported, both Italy’s Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and France’s Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode said men’s fashion weeks, traditionally held in June, and couture week scheduled for July would turn into online showcases, forgoing the physical component. Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli is understood to be working on a special project for couture, though it is unclear whether it will be unveiled on the Paris calendar.

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