Burberry, Sense to showcase imaginary cities at Burberry SoHo – WWD
For the first time that Burberry has invited another business partner to take over one of its spaces, the British brand has teamed up with Ssense to present “Imaginary Cities” at Burberry in SoHo.
Burberry and Ssense have teamed up to create a multidisciplinary offline and online consumer experience. Featured on burberry.ssense.com, the online experience is designed to reflect the physical immersive space of the store. It will be open from June 17 to 26.
Ssense, a global technology platform based in Montreal, offers a mix of established and emerging luxury brands of women’s, men’s, children’s and “Everything Else” clothing.
For the collaboration, the facade of Burberry SoHo at 131 Spring Street will be occupied by a series of graphic animations, introducing an entrance on the ground floor of the store, transformed thanks to a system of tunnel interventions, elevated lanes and dynamic lighting passing through traction elements in distress. awnings expressly removed from the store structure. The journey then winds through the store in a dedicated display case showcasing Burberry’s mythical alphabet, a new capsule collection (designed by Burberry) celebrating Burberry’s animal kingdom.
Designed in collaboration with British graphic designer Peter Saville and illustrator Jo Ratcliffe, the collection features half-human, half-beast figures enveloping the letters of the alphabet. The capsule takes shape in reimagined trench coats printed with graphic illustrations, alongside separate pieces including monochrome t-shirts, sleek silk shirts and shorts, while accessories are embellished with Mythical Alphabet prints and hardware. There are 50 styles in the capsule collection, priced from $ 170 to $ 3,750.
On the second level of the store, an immersive Burberry beige viewing room will screen the exclusive short film “AB-CITY”, a film specially commissioned by Burberry and Ssense exploring the theme of imaginary cities. The film lasts eight to nine minutes.
The film is directed by New York collective Torso Solutions and takes place in the noisy hum of New York. It focuses on the city itself as a key figure, through which three adjacent vignettes move entropically through time. Starring such figures as Alexis Chaparro, Lourdes Leon and Selyna Brillare, the film is an abstract meditation on dealing with extreme change, with vignettes written by Brontez Purnell, Juliana Huxtable and Natasha Stagg.
Through a current of consciousness and poetic inner thoughts, the film asks: “How should we deal with a present that has already caught up with the future?” He plans to do nothing, or to do too much, but right now in a city, walking through it with everyone.
Burberry’s Mythical Alphabet capsule collection will be available exclusively on Ssense, burberry.com and select Burberry stores in the United States
Gianluca Flore, President of the Americas and Global Retail Excellence at Burberry, said, “At Burberry, we are committed to innovating, pushing the boundaries of how our customers perceive our brand in the physical and digital. This collaboration marks the first time that we have invited a partner to design a truly immersive experience within Burberry SoHo. We look forward to revealing Imaginary Cities to audiences in New York and beyond, capturing the imagination with these new spaces and Burberry’s Mythical Alphabet capsule collection.
Flore explained the advantages of working with a company like Ssense. “We’re always on the lookout for new ways to inspire and excite our customers, every time they come across Burberry. Ssense shares this vision, and throughout our partnership we’ve discussed how we could collaborate to evolve the more traditional retail model and create truly immersive experiences.
“Bringing our ideas to life was a first for both brands. This is the first time at Burberry that we have invited a retail partner to take over one of our physical spaces and Ssense has never conceptualized a physical experience beyond its own retail spaces. We are really excited with the result. By combining our shared expertise in retail innovation, we have created a unique experience that will transport our customers through the physical and digital realms, ”said Flore.
Flore noted that Ssense and Burberry had already produced creative collaborations “but not on the same scale as the installation in the Burberry SoHo store”.
When asked if the concept would move to other cities, Flore said, “There are many aspects of the idea of imaginary cities that could be translated to other places in the future, but there is nothing I can confirm today about it. “
Discussing what he hopes Burberry customers will get from this collaboration, Flore said, “Exploration and discovery is in our brand’s DNA, and we want to continue to create new worlds that our customers will be able to discover in person and digitally invite our customers to interact. with the Imaginary Cities installation in our SoHo store and online is just one way we’re pushing the boundaries of what’s possible – by reimagining and redefining the retail experience with every opportunity.
Krishna Nikhil, Head of Merchandising and Marketing at Ssense, added: “Imaginary Cities grew out of our long-standing creative and business partnership with Burberry. Ssense has long explored the interplay and blurs the lines between digital and physical through our own properties, but this is the first time we’ve been invited into a partner’s space. We were delighted to be welcomed to Burberry SoHo and to combine our expertise to deepen the examination of what physical and digital experience means for creative collaboration and community in contemporary culture. Imaginary Cities was fully conceptualized remotely and under the most unpredictable circumstances, with teams spanning three countries. We can’t wait to see or share communities experiencing imaginary cities in physical and digital forms. “
Nikhil said that Ssense’s creative partnership with Burberry began in 2019, where Ssense created the editorial for Creative Director Riccardo Tisci’s inaugural collection for Burberry, and continued with a series of creative projects with the Mark. “This is the next step on this journey and certainly a bold step,” he said.
When asked what Ssense gets out of the partnership, Nikhil told WWD: “Having their input challenges our creative team, and we think the other way around. It’s also just another platform for our customers to experience something that Ssense can do, ”he said.
Explaining how the collaboration works, Nikhil said, “We really worked on every element of the digital and physical experience. There’s the site specific installation that opens on June 17th, we collaborated on the short… they created something of the moment. The film will premiere in the store that day and will premiere digitally the same day on a micro-site they jointly created. “We have worked very hard to transport this physical experience to a digital context as well,” he said.
“Digital is certainly our strong point. We have been experimenting for a very long time with how to bring the same energy from physical installations to digital. Since launching our space in Montreal in 2018, we’ve really experimented with physical facilities, ”said Nikhil. For example, Ssense recreated the Chicago home studio of Off-White founder and Louis Vuitton Men’s Artistic Director Virgil Abloh in their physical space in 2018. “We tried to blend physical and digital experiences on every level.” , did he declare. .
Ssense has had many different collaborations in their physical space. “But this one is very unique at Burberry and invites us into their physical space. It’s unprecedented for them,” he said.
All images from the project will show that it is a joint effort between Burberry and Ssense. There will be billboards in New York, wild displays, and the store front will have a digital takeover. “It will be a powerful statement for two brands coming together,” he said.
The United States is Sense’s largest market. About 80% of Ssense’s audience is between 18 and 40 years old. As reported, Ssense said last week that Sequoia Capital had taken a minority investment in the company. The investment, Ssense’s first outside money in its 18-year history, valued the company at over C $ 5 billion.
Nikhil predicts that the best seller will be the trench coat. “The layering of the mythical alphabet makes for a powerful and everlasting piece. The way it appears in the movie makes it even more coveted,” he said.
“For us, with creative partnerships like this, we just want customers to see and feel the creative result, whether they experience it physically or digitally. When you put your energy into the right creative output, business results come naturally, ”Nikhil said.
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