New York Fashion Week runway show featuring 7ft tall holographic models

New York Fashion Week runway show featuring 7ft tall holographic models

Written by Jacqui Palumbo, CNN

Designer Maisie Schloss’ psychedelic prints and cyber-chic party wear feel right at home in a fashion industry that looks to the possibilities of a virtual future. During New York Fashion Week, she leaned into this digital fantasy by presenting her latest collection for her label Maisie Wilen on 2-meter-tall holographic mannequins.

Over the weekend, attendees of the fall 2022 show entered a gallery to find the virtual models lined up, performing a series of repetitive motions, like GIFs. Inspired by dolls from Mattel’s “Monster High” franchise of the 2010s, some wore green and blue body paint, creature ears and fins as they spun in space, swayed their hips, pointed their guests and sometimes emitted animated blue flashes or bubbles.

The retrofuturistic collection has plenty of nods to virtual worlds – some models wore VR goggles – with retro 2000s silhouettes, like sparkly party tops, body-hugging styles, vinyl trench coats and open-back halter dresses. bare back. A collaboration with Yahoo, Schloss said they “really want to push the whole fantasy of what we can create.”

“I really wanted it to serve as a study in the often blurred line between reality and fantasy – what makes something real seem unreal?” she explained in a video call.

The Los Angeles-based designer, whose brand bears her mother’s maiden name, got her start under the wing of Kanye West, starting as an assistant at Yeezy and working her way up to become a clothing designer for women. Three years ago, West awarded her the first scholarship from his incubator program and she founded her own label.

Since then, her clothes have been worn by Kim Kardashian, Bella Hadid and Kylie Jenner and featured on the HBO show “Euphoria,” where e-girl aesthetics and fantastical makeup reign in high school hallways.

“Surreal but realistic”

Schloss has experimented with digital presentations before, but here she took a hybrid approach, considering home viewers as well as in-person attendees. The entire collection is also available via a commercial websitemade by Yahoo, which offers augmented reality (AR) versions of the models that can be placed in its personal space.

Nigel Tierney, who runs Yahoo’s Content Innovation, said the show is a far cry from the “traditional passive viewing experience” of a fashion show.

“They can play with the strengths of their environment,” he said. The “Monster High”-inspired cast, such as Frankenstein’s monster cool girl Frankie Stein, can appear in AR wherever the user is, wearing Maisie Wilen’s clothes and moving through space – in space. animation of Frankie, for example, she gets electrocuted. “We envision entering these worlds as the metaverse and what that means for individual brands,” he added.

As physical shows with large audiences have been difficult to produce during the pandemic, creators have embraced digital presentations and rethinking the boundaries of what a fashion show can be. But even with the return of in-person shows, the virtual influence has remained, and Schloss fully embraces the change.

“We are no longer attached to things that we can show off at a traditional fashion show,” she said.

And while it can be tricky to do materials justice in the digital realm, Schloss’ collection is made for that, leaning into what’s surreal, “or even disorienting,” she said.

“I used optical illusion prints (and) unique textiles that could trick the eye,” she explained. “I have holographic vinyl and matte glitter which gives an unusual visual effect.”

To create larger-than-life holograms and AR images for the show, the Yahoo team set up 106 cameras around the models in a studio space, capturing 360-degree footage in super-sharp 6K resolution to show every clothing detail. Maisie says the experience is “almost like living inside a GIF lookbook.” The imagery “brings so much dimension to the clothes…you can see them moving in this very surreal but realistic way,” she said.

And while some brands have started entering the metaverse by releasing their collection as digital NFT apparel alongside their physical apparel, Schloss says there are no plans to do so this season. For now, bringing Frankie Stein home to wear the clothes for you should suffice.

Visit the Maisie Wilen holographic experience to see the full collection.