While it may seem like a wardrobe malfunction, there was nothing accidental about the empty room that played host to Martine Jarlgaard’s 2016 London Fashion Week show.
With no runway and no models, guests were invited instead to wear Hololens, Microsoft’s mixed-reality headsets, to see her SS17 collection in the form of holograms before their eyes. Unlike with virtual reality – which transports you away from your current location – mixed reality instead superimposes the holographic images onto your real surroundings. This allows you to still see and feel the space and the people around you, while also being able to explore the virtual collection from all angles.
The collaboration between Jarlgaard, the Fashion Innovation Agency at the London College of Fashion, Hololens developers at Microsoft and 3D capturing company, DoubleMe, means that sustainability is key: without the need for using excess materials to make samples, wastage is minimised while creating an even more personal experience for guests, who can explore the collection on their own time.
On the topic of mixed reality, Jarlgaard said: ‘For me, it’s very important there’s a link to reality; that you don’t remove yourself completely. It’s quite a desirable thing – you still have your point of reference, but there’s another layer on top.’
It’s about moving fashion forward, she explains. ‘The way fashion shows are done, and parts of the whole fashion system, are so conservative and don’t really change; there’s a recipe to do everything. We wanted to provide something very different; to step away from the passive experience where you sit down and the collection is served on a plate. With this it’s more of an exploration. It’s encouraging curiosity, allowing the audience to get in closer to explore the shapes by walking around them. The way I’ve always seen fashion is that it’s a sculptural thing, and this brings the idea of that to life.’
Watch this space for the second edition.