Though magazines launching e-commerce took center stage in 2011, certain high fashion and longstanding labels made their own savvy web debuts this year, too. And when they did, they went all in, from online museums to interactive mobile apps. Let’s take a look at some of the fashion industry’s highest-reaching online launches of 2011:
1. Valentino: The most celebrated online launch from a venerable fashion house was certainly the unveiling of Valentino Garavani’s online museum. The Valentino Virtual Fashion Museum is a free, downloadable application featuring a 3D showcase of the designer’s hits and highlights throughout his fifty-year career. Lending gravitas to the new tech platform, Valentino debuted it to a star-studded audience at the Museum of Modern Art.
Fila’s new microsite celebrated the brand’s 100th anniversary this year.
2. Fila: With less fanfare than Valentino’s museum, Fila celebrated its 100th anniversary this year by launching the Fila 100 microsite at the beginning of the summer. The site lets users explore the brand’s sportswear through the ages, vote on which looks from the past they’d be willing to don today, and click through a timeline to learn the complete history of the brand. And if you’re swinging through Italy anytime soon, be sure to visit Fila’s new museum in the province of Biella, the company’s birthplace.
3. Gucci: After re-doing their web site in 2010, Gucci launched the Gucci Style app for the iPad and iPhone this year. The program goes way beyond mere mobile commerce, offering Italian travel guides, tips on what to pack, interviews with the brand’s spokespeople, and does it all in eight languages.
4. Burberry: The 155-year-old fashion house already got points for its overall savvy social media strategy, but the label’s partnership with Twitter during this past Fashion Week outdid any previous online social initiative. The Burberry “Tweetwalk” showed backstage photos of every one of the show’s looks — before the models even walked down the runway. Burberry’s Twitter followers therefore got treated to the Spring 2012 collection even before the editors in the front row.
5. Karl Lagerfeld: It’s not just that collab-happy designer Karl Lagerfeld elected to launch his upcoming new line, Karl, exclusively on Net-a-Porter. No, he went above and beyond with the online venture, introducing a pre-launch teaser in the form of a complex mobile app (also named Karl). Part of the app is a game — users can speedily “hunt” for Karl to possibly win a $1000 shopping spree on Net-a-Porter. And of course, the program also lets users preview the actual Karl collection (which launches on January 25th). The best part, though, is the “Karlify” option, in which uploading a picture of one’s self leads users through the steps to turn into a Karl clone. Think dark glasses, long white hair, and a high collar. When the collection launches, Lagerfeld himself will be picking a few of his favorite lookalikes to receive a free Karl item.