French luxury fashion label Dior has created its own custom branded virtual reality (VR) headset that grants wearers a peek into the hidden world of the backstage area of its runway shows. Fans who don the headset are transported behind the runway, where Dior insiders – including Belgian creative director Raf Simons – ready the garments and models for the show.
Dubbed Dior Eyes, the device gives the wearer the sensation of being physically present in the backstage area, with 360-degree recorded video and sound that orients the user's position in the room according to their line of sight. Customers eager to experience the hustle and bustle backstage will be able to use the device in-store in Dior boutiques – although the brand has not yet confirmed which ones will offer the service, or how exclusive it will be.
Unlike other recent brand forays into VR, such as 7 For All Mankind's VR campaign or Chevrolet's VR-enabled test drive, which both use the popular Oculus Rift headset (originally devised for use in the gaming industry), Dior has built its own, sleek-looking custom device to retain an extra aura of prestige. Dior Eyes was designed and constructed with the help of French technology firm DigitasLBi and features a chic black 3D-printed casing that reflects the stylistic direction of the brand.
Offering insider access, including peeks into the inner machinations of brand workings, is becoming an increasingly important way to cultivate fans now accustomed to extra access via social media. Parisian brand Louis Vuitton (owned by the same group as Dior, LVMH) opted for a travelling exhibition in February 2015 titled Series 2, which offered fans a vista into the creative preoccupations of French creative director, Nicolas Ghesquière. For more on the value of cultivating fandoms, see Rites, Rituals & Culture Clubs, part of our New-Era Luxury Macro Trend.
For more on how luxury brands are employing emerging tech to enhance the retail experience, see Virtual Added Value, also part of our New-Era Luxury Macro Trend; the V-Commerce section of Virtual Immersive Commerce (part of our Post-Digital Macro Trend; Future Innovations; and Retail in Virtual Gaming. For more on the strategic relevance of giving shoppers a glimpse behind the scenes, see Exploiting Insider Access.