Barneys Launches In-Store VR Dance Experience

The Samsung Gear VR experience can viewed in Barneys New York stores.

Luxury retailer Barneys is known for its high end on trend fashion collections from the season’s hottest designers. But with the announcement of Barneys spring campaign, Mantle, the luxury retailer is branching out to explore how fashion, contemporary dance, and immersive technology can come together to create an unforgettable experience for viewers.

Launched in Barneys stores on March 6th, Mantle is an 11-minute VR short film that brings the fashion of four modern designers to life through modern dance. Fashion from Prabal Gurung, The Row, Rick Owens, Loewe, and Craig Green are featured in the short directed and choreographed by husband and wife duo Theo and Cynthia Stanley. The VR film is being shown of Samsung Gear VR headsets.

Each collection was chosen specifically to reflect a critical element of the human psyche: Power, Ethereal, Possessed, and the Cleaner. The dancers’ wardrobes will be displayed in the windows at Barneys New York’s Madison Avenue flagship.

The experience stars a diverse cast of dancers from the world renowned Martha Graham Dance Company—some of whom had the chance to dance under the guidance of Graham herself. Dancers well into their seventies performed in the experience—a feat Barney’s Creative Director Matthew Mazzucca says would be much more difficult in a more traditional performance medium. “Video allows us to focus on diversity in age, experience, athleticism, and skill set—in most dance, there are limitations due to the demands of repeated performance,” said Mazzucca.

Although the experience features visually stunning fashion and dance from today’s top designers and dancers, Mantle is really about the viewer. Filmed in 360-degrees, the film places you at the center of the action—with the dancers all looking inward.

Every aspect of the experience was designed with the idea of an intimate interaction between the dancers and the user— “an audience of one.” Because of its immersive nature, viewers can choose when and where to look throughout the VR experience. “No two viewers will have the same experience of the dance,” said Mazzucca. “And that’s exciting.”

Fashion retailers continue to take an interest in enhancing in-store shopping experiences with VR & AR. We’ve seen retailers like TopShop let shoppers slide down virtual slides, Givenchy tease us with concept VR glasses, and HoloLens headsets being used to give fitting rooms an AR upgrade.

The Barney’s Mantle experience can be viewed through Samsung Gear VR in select Barneys locations or on Barneys’ website in 360° video.

About the Scout

Presley West

Emory University student, VRScout Writer, Storyteller, and Amateur Dog Walker.

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