The digital sphere becomes a fun virtual space in which animation, illustration and photography bring the iconic Hermès tie to life
Luxury fashion brand Hermès is celebrating its latest neckwear collection, which features a series of ‘digital-age’ inspired patterns, with a touring electronic installation that has just landed in London’s Selfridges. This may come as a surprise to those who have stepped inside their original Parisian store at 24 Rue du Fabourg Saint-Honoré.
Created by French artist, Miguel Chevalier, “8 Ties” features hallucinating geometric patterns selected by the audience via a handy iPad, which are projected on giant screens.
The virtual-reality wall projection inspired by Chevalier’s "Binary Wave" artwork is around 3.5 metres tall and 8 metres long and reacts to the movements of shoppers who walk by, inviting the viewer to discover more about the iconic Hermès tie.
To accompany the visuals is continuous music composed by Jacopo Baboni Schilingi, inspired in part by sound effects from classic video games – again a stark contrast to the Hermès stores which are always silent.
This theme is also visible on the the ties, which feature digital-themed motifs, such as geometric elements from the USB symbol, the power switch symbol, computer keys, the cable jack and the 1 and 0 of binary programming.
A second, more intimate installation in Selfridges’ Wonder Room is offered in the form of an interactive virtual book adapted from his "Herbarius 2059.” In its pages, the visitor discovers the metaphorical texts written by philosopher Christine Buci-Glucksmann. They illustrate each of the modules as well as new and unexpected ways to knot a tie: the simple knot, the Windsor knot or the double simple knot and the multiple Windsor knot.
If you can’t make your way to Oxford Street for the interactive experience, users can also view the collection on the interactive video game style Hermès website.
The overall campaign is headed by Winkcreative, London. Etter Studio, Zurich, (via Unit9) was responsible for the interactive direction.
“Winkreative conceived a beautiful print catalog which went out at the same time as the interactive campaign went live,” says Unit9.
“We took parts of the catalogue for the interactive version and hand-crafted other parts by frame-by-frame computer animations. We used a rather outdated technology, Flash 8, to produce the campaign. This wasn’t a clever conscious decision to fit the theme of retro computing, we had no other choice since we needed to make it compatible with Hermès’ existing website.”
Video: Hermès "8 Ties Intro" by Winkcreative, London and Etter Studio, Zurich/Unit9.
Hermès "8 Ties" installation by Miguel Chevalier at the Palazzo Morando, Milan.