Snapchat has teamed up with British Vogue for an immersive augmented reality (AR) exhibition featuring exclusive concepts from Dior, Kenneth Ize, Richard Quinn, Stella McCartney, Versace and Thebe Magugu.
The ‘Vogue x Snapchat: Redefining the Body’ exhibition has been curated by Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful to illustrate how AR can advance the realms of physical fashion, while also amplifying and transforming clothes through innovative digital experiences and custom Snapchat Lenses.
Rajni Jacques, global head of fashion and beauty at Snap Inc., told FashionUnited at the exhibition press preview: “AR is changing the way we experience fashion, the way we experience how we shop, and changing the way how we view brands with the type of immersive experiences out there.
“For this exhibition, we are showing that AR allows you to have fun with fashion and builds upon something that can be right in front of you to create an experience. You can elaborate, embellish, and even scale fashion – AR democratises fashion.”
The free exhibition, located on Regent Street in the heart of London, runs until March 5, and first debuted in June 2022 at Centre d’art La Malmaison in Cannes. The London showcase is bigger and will include talks and masterclasses focused on fashion, beauty, tech, innovation and culture, including one on the ‘Joy of Fashion’ with Christopher Kane on February 28 and how AR can lead to a reduction in overconsumption on March 2.
Snapchat democratises fashion with AR exhibition featuring Dior and Versace
Each of the designers was chosen for their “subversive vision of fashion, to challenge stereotypes, norms and conventions related to age, body shape and gender,” explains Snapchat, and have all custom designed a room, showcasing archive, contemporary or exclusive fashion designs, alongside augmented reality and virtual try-on experiences.
The exhibition starts in the basement with Kenneth Ize, who has collaborated with Nigerian artist Jelili Atiku on the space, featuring visceral reproductions of his paintings and public performances that explore mythology, ritualism and symbolism. Ize has also created a series of gowns crafted using aso oke, a colourful handwoven Nigerian fabric.
Through Snapchat technology, visitors can experience Ize’s West African story, delve into the painting, as well as virtually try on his signature pieces.
Next is Stella McCartney, who has transformed her room into a grotto of giant mushrooms to highlight her commitment to commercialising vegan alternatives to animal-derived leather. The trippy, mirror-lined room also showcases McCartney’s spring/summer 2022 collection, and the AR digital mirror unveils a headdress garlanded with mushrooms alongside a gown from fungi.
For the Versace experience, the Italian fashion label has delved into its archives to highlight its autumn/winter 1992 collection with an opulent space filled with gilded tiles, Baroque columns and Versace’s iconic Medusa head, which when using Snapchat AR morphs into writing snakes. The room also allows guests to try on the fashion house’s bondage-inspired, buckled dresses.
Vogue x Snapchat: Redefining the Body runs until March 5
The exhibition then returns to the ground floor where Dior offers a slice of Paris imagined inside a reflective black box to highlight the intricate looks from Maria Grazia Chiuri’s women’s spring/summer 2023 ready-to-wear show. The looks on display are inspired by the wardrobe of Catherine de Medici, the Florentine noblewoman who became the Queen of France, and using AR visitors can reveal an ethereal illustration of the streets of Paris on the walls. You can also try on the line’s trench coat, shorts and long shirt against the backdrop of a Renaissance grotto.
Next is Richard Quinn’s magical geometric garden of florals and polka dots, where the custom Snapchat lenses will showcase blue flowers blooming and growing around the room. The digital try-on mirror also showcases the British designer’s opera coat and wide-brimmed balaclava.
The final room, which probably makes the most impact, is designed by South African designer Thebe Magugu, who has created an intimate, domestic space inspired by his childhood home in the diamond mining city of Kimberley. The walls are lined with 3D relics and prints from his childhood and past fashion collections, including vases, chandeliers, boots and bags. They sit alongside nine mannequins wearing bohemian dresses from Magugu’s Heritage Dress capsule collection, which you can try on using the digital mirror. The AR in this room is also fun, with the lenses revealing special memories from his childhood through portals, including his dog.
Enninful said in a statement: “It has always been important to me to make fashion accessible for all. Using augmented reality, ‘Vogue x Snapchat: Redefining the Body’ is an exhibition that invites everyone – regardless of race, gender, sexuality and size – to experience and enjoy fashion from some of the world’s very best designers and luxury brands. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Evan Spiegel, co-founder and chief executive of Snap Inc., added: "We are thrilled to partner with Vogue to empower hundreds of millions of Snapchatters around the world to virtually experience fashion from top designers and brands.
“Through this exhibition, and augmented reality more broadly, we hope to introduce new levels of accessibility, creativity, and expression to the fashion and design world."