New York Fashion Week officially began on Feb. 11, and that means fashion lovers can expect six days of nonstop runway shows, presentations, celeb sightings and, of course, fabulous clothes. Every year, NYFW is larger than life, but for the Fall/Winter 2022 season, Maisie Wilen is taking that phrase literally.
In 2019, Maisie Schloss founded high fashion brand Maisie Wilen, which has since become a label to know — you may recognize the brand from its optical prints or even the new season of Euphoria. But this Fashion Week, all eyes will be on the young designer’s innovative collaboration with Yahoo.
Yahoo returns as the Official Innovation Partner for New York Fashion Week: The Shows this month after collaborating with Christian Cowan and Rebecca Minkoff last season. Yahoo and Maisie Wilen debut the special immersive experience tonight, Feb. 12, live in Manhattan; but those who can’t make the show can view the experience digitally here.
Together, the two powerhouses present Maisie Wilen’s FW22 collection via 7-foot-tall, moving holographic models wearing the new designs. Schloss describes the experience as “surreal, holographic and disorienting.”
As for what people are in for on Feb. 12, Schloss explains, “It’s the first-ever holographic fashion show. So visitors can expect to see larger-than-life holograms not only showing the collection but playing out really unique narratives and drawing the viewers in entirely. And then for those that can’t physically be there, they can access all of this online, as well as shop the styles instantly through the website Yahoo has built out.“
Nigel Tierney, head of content at Yahoo Ryot Lab, explains that “we’re deploying and taking learnings of what we did with Christian [Cowan]; however, we’re really upping the scale and upping the energy … You’re going to show up at a physical event, and it’s a purely digital show and purely digital presentation.”
And these gigantic holograms aren’t just your typical Amazonian models in pretty outfits. Each model’s makeup was inspired by Mattel’s vibrant Monster High characters, so you can expect gills, striking eyes, pink skin and so much more.
Of the completely original event, Tierney added that typically “you go to a fashion show, you’re sitting down, you’re passively viewing models pass by you, but in this case, you actually get to look up and engage with them. And there’s an immersive element to their performance as well — they’re giggling and whispering. It’s a lot of fun.”
While Monster High inspired the makeup looks, Schloss explained that for this new clothing collection, she “was really interested in playing with the line between reality and fantasy, so thinking about what makes something that is real feel unreal and vice versa.” To do so, Schloss utilized mattified sequins, optical prints and holographic vinyl. In terms of shoes, Keds was the exclusive footwear brand of the event.
Those who can’t attend the experience will have the opportunity to see Maisie Wilen’s designs wherever they are, thanks to incredible 3D assets that utilize WebAR. This augmented reality (AR) is completely shoppable and shareable through a new social commerce experience; viewers will also be able to access a GIF lookbook of the collection that Schloss calls “very exciting.”
“When we captured the holograms, we realized we had an opportunity to give each [model] an action. So some are more minimal, shifting their weight, and some are more dramatic. We have some pointing and laughing at the viewer; we have a girl that’s crying; we have a girl that’s falling. I love the opportunity to use narrative to further create the story and the fantasy behind the clothes, so being able to incorporate that into the lookbook is super important to me.” You can check out what it was like on set capturing these otherworldly images here.
This impressive collaboration couldn’t make more sense for the Maisie Wilen brand, seeing as Schloss’ entire creative process is digital.
“I sketch on Illustrator and Photoshop. I do all my own print design and that is completely digital. But on top of that, I’m always really thinking about how clothes will present digitally. I started learning about fashion online when I was in middle and high school, and I realized that’s how the majority of people will be able to see the clothing. So digital presentation is something I’m always considering for every single collection… I think that this [experience] fits with us so perfectly, and I love that we can offer this level of innovation for our presentation.”
While this presentation is powered by some truly incredible technology, Tierney insists that it’s never about “tech for tech’s sake, but how do we help tell [Maisie’s] story and the story of her brand and really get that story out to the largest audience possible.”
Schloss adds, “it’s such a unique opportunity to bring a fashion show to an unlimited community. Of course, with a real-life event, you can only logistically have so many people see it, but with this [format], people worldwide can see it. And considering the virus and that travel is really tough right now, it’s particularly important in this moment to give that availability to people worldwide.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
If you liked this story, check out Christian Cowan’s In The Know cover interview.
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