Video may have killed the radio star, but fashion is breathing new life into the art of the music video. As traditional fashion shows have grown increasingly passé, designers are looking to the medium as an off-runway stunt to attract consumer attention.
Designers and musicians are increasingly joining forces to sell music and luxury fashion at the same time. In advance of his fall 2016 line, for example, John Varvatos teamed up with Grammy nominated artist Hozier on an original music video highlighting select styles from the upcoming collection. The effort comes on the heels of a collaboration between Kanye West and Balmain last week for the rapper’s “Wolves” music video, a track from “The Life of Pablo.” West wasn’t shy to tout the video as a marketing stunt, tweeting that it was “the first music video that is also an ad campaign.”
Varvatos has long adopted a rock star aesthetic in its ad campaigns, formerly shooting black and white advertisements with musicians like Ringo Starr, Iggy Pop and Ryan Adams in the designer threads. Video has also been central to the brand’s success; it launched “shoppable video” in February, integrating a touchable video player that viewers can use to shop for items shown in the film.
“It’s not enough to have a flat lookbook — we have channels to fill and we need to produce great content,” Nate Poeschl, director of digital marketing at John Varvatos, told Digiday. “As a fashion brand, we’re always hunting creation.”
The concept for the Hozier campaign was developed by creative agency Yard and directed and shot by Danny Cinch. In the video, Hozier gives an intimate acoustic performance of the song “To Be Alone,” with a mix of wide and close-up shots highlighting the details of the John Varvatos garments. John Varvatos will also be traveling with Hozier to the artist’s native Ireland for the “JV on Tour Series” this October, which will also include promotional video content, Luxury Daily reported.
“I’ve been a big fan of [Hozier’s] since he came on the scene,” Varvatos told Billboard. “There is so much to love about him, starting with the music and the songwriting and how special it is and how it captures your imagination and heart.”
West’s collaboration with Balmain for “Wolves,” shot in black and white, features apparel from the fall 2016 line worn by guest stars such as Sia, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and Alessandra Ambrosio.
The campaign was promoted by Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, in a series of Instagram posts sharing segments and stills from the video. Rousteing, who also teamed up with Kanye West on his Yeezy season three show at Madison Square Garden earlier this year, said in an interview with Vogue that he had long wanted to collaborate on a music video.
A photo posted by OLIVIER R. (@olivier_rousteing) on
“I called Kanye and I said, ‘I would love to create a campaign around your music, your lyrics, and your aesthetic,'” Rousteing told Vogue.
The video very much operates as a dual music video and advertisement, with “Balmain Paris” branding featured prominently at the beginning and end.