Through a partnership with British Vogue, Snap has created a series of Lenses with some of the biggest names in fashion including Balenciaga, Dior, Versace, and Gucci. Some experiences using the world-facing camera are location-based abroad, but there are also Lenses available for anyone anywhere.
The collection is an amazing series of experiences in itself. It also shows us how the camera company intended on using some of the features rolled out in recent months.
Redefining the Body
In some ways, these experiences are built around The Centre d’art La Malmaison, a contemporary art gallery in Cannes. The gallery housed the mixed reality exhibit last week, so the location-based experiences are no longer available, but the Lenses are still available through the Snap codes for each experience.
Each of the seven brands involved in the experience had their own rooms in the gallery where their Lenses could really shine. Using Snap’s Landmarker technology, the entire building was also a target for AR experiences.
First, we’ll take a quick look at the experiences centered around the gallery rooms. Then, we’ll talk about the universal activations and how they fit into Snap’s bigger picture.
The Dior AR activation was in a courtyard outside of the gallery. As the introduction to the rest of the experience, this was perhaps the most stylistically and technically stunning of the on-site activations.
The activation centered around a physical nine-foot statue wearing Dior fashions. Through the Snap Lens, the statue’s clothing was augmented with the intricate detailing signature of Dior designs. The statue then stepped off of her pedestal as if to welcome guests to the exhibit.
Balenciaga had two rooms in the exhibit, the exhibition room of the building itself, and its own brand room. The exhibition room and its AR experience both drew on the history of the building by pairing important dates in its history with milestones in Balenciaga’s own storied fashion line. Their own room was home to their virtual try-on experiences.
Gucci’s room in the gallery was decorated with funhouse mirrors, as well as a set of mannequins decked out in Gucci suits. The on-site activation played with the colors and dimensions of the space.
The room of designer Kenneth Ize, who often works with Nigerian-sourced materials and designs, came to life through AR effect and audio augmentation. That’s true of both the decorations in the room and the mannequins all wearing one-of-a-kind outfits.
Richard Quinn’s room was designed in floral prints, with flowers that come to life through the Snap camera.
Stella McCartney and her room in the exhibit were all about mushrooms. Mushrooms in the room as well as mannequins dressed in her summer line (also largely mushroom themed) grew and played host to AR bees that pollinated the room. Some fashions even appeared to grow out of the mushroom decor.
Versace chose to dedicate their room to their legendary autumn/winter 1992 collection. The strap-and-buckle heavy designs made quite a stir at the time but seem a lot tamer 30 years out – and they make for an interesting AR try-on that one can only imagine is easier to take on and off than the real thing. Versace also had a Lens for its giant in-person Medusa logo.
Now Try it for Yourself
Now for the stuff that you can do from home! Cannes is a long way from most of our readers but Snap brings a lot of this magic to you wherever you are. Just find the Vogue x Snapchat icon in the carousel off of Snapchat’s main camera screen or scan the Snap codes to follow along.
The Balenciaga Lens allows users to try on a pair of Balenciaga earrings. From a fashion perspective, it’s not too daring. From a technical perspective, the occlusion and physics are pretty great for a Snap experience.
Dior’s Lens doesn’t have any fun try-ons for the at-home user. You do get to see yourself in front of a glowing, glittery Dior star, though.
The Gucci Lens puts you in a fun hat and aviator sunglasses – or you can tap the screen to try on a different set of glasses, sans hat. Hold the screen long enough, and your image is replicated in a number of different frames for a fun photo opp.
Kenneth Ize’s Lens lets users virtually try on a number of hats that appear on the head with a sparkling flourish. Unfortunately, Snap still has some trouble telling where the head stops and the hair starts, so this activation is a little less believable than others. Much the same can be said of the Richard Quinn Lens.
Stella McCartney’s Lens isn’t a virtual try-on exactly, but it’s rather more fun. Little red bugs fly around the user’s head, which begins to sprout colorful mushrooms.
Rather than a virtual clothing try-on, Versace’s Lens transforms the user’s face into a golden gorgon head complete with writhing snakes. Even more fun, the Lens reacts to your facial movements. Spend a few minutes making faces into the Lens – you won’t be disappointed.
Snap’s Big Ideas
This would have been a cool set of activations at any time. But, they’re made particularly interesting because it’s the first major release from Snap since the company’s Partner Summit in April.
In addition to being heavy on AR-enabled e-commerce, that event announced ray tracing and more advanced machine learning coming to Lens Studio. These technologies played a role in those beautiful, believable Balenciaga earrings.
The Partner Summit also announced Lens cloud, which allows the management of several Lenses through a single point of entry. That’s how (while all of the Lenses can be accessed individually through Snap codes) all of these experiences can be found through the one Vogue x Snapchat button.
Further, at the bottom of all of the Lenses, there is a “more” button that you can select to go to articles by Vogue – without leaving Snapchat. This is another feature announced at the Partner Summit. However, you still can’t buy the fashions directly through the Lenses. We’re still waiting on that one.
Meanwhile, the activations at the physical exhibition space were made possible by the Custom Landmarkers tool. This tool grew out of the Landmarkers program that rolled out over two years ago but was just released to the public in March.
A Boon for Buyers
You might not be able to be at a museum in Cannes right now. And, you might not be able to afford dangly diamonds from Balenciaga. But everyone should be excited by this activation. At least, everyone who has ever engaged with a brand on their mobile phone. This is more than a branded activation, it’s proof of principle for advanced Snap functions of the near future.