Burberry launch first ever Twitter catwalk show

The digitally-pioneering fashion house adds another first to its repetoire - will others follow?

You’d think the creative director of fashion powerhouse Burberry would have better things to be doing on the morning of their catwalk show than think about Twitter. Rehearsing the show? Making last minute decisions about lighting? Making sure the right people are coming? Checking those precious goodie bags and ensuring luxurious loot?

But thinking about Twitter is exactly what Christopher Bailey was doing. Not only did the superstar designer take over the Burberry Twitter account on Friday but he has announced that the show will be preceded by Twitter coverage of spring/summer 2012 (SS12) - before it hits real catwalks.

The details are scarce following the announcement, but in a complete shake-up of modus operandi the front row will not be the first to glimpse next season’s collection.

@Burberry tweeted earlier today: “Excited to announce the first ever #Tweetwalk Show. SS12 looks will be on Twitter before the runway. Follow @Burberry today at 4pm #LFW – CB”.

Burberry announce the twitter preview

Burberry announce the twitter preview

Companies’ Twitter accounts (especially FTSE 100 company’s Twitter accounts) are almost always managed by a PR company or in-house social media guru. But Bailey’s seemingly genuine Twitter takeover will not come as too much a surprise for Burberry fans and followers. They have a social media presence to rival any tech start-up and as the creative commander-in-chief Bailey is a big part of that.

‘’We are thrilled to create the first ever ‘’Tweetwalk show’’ in partnership with Twitter,” said Bailey. “Twitter is instantaneous and I love the idea that streaming a show can be in many different forms. This collection is all about the most detailed hand crafted pieces and fabric innovation, creating a beautiful physical experience that is communicated digitally in dynamic and diverse ways and I love balancing those two worlds.’’

“Burberry was one of the first brands to truly understand Twitter’s ability to connect people all over the world with what’s most meaningful to them,” said Tony Wang, a spokesperson forTwitter. “Thanks to their creativity, fashion lovers everywhere will be able to see the new Burberry collection even before those in the front row.” 

Known as one of the most digitally advanced of the fashion houses, Burberry was the first label to stream its runway shows live and sell directly from the runway in-store via iPad. Its site is a beautifully dynamic collection of videos and images (currently with a countdown to the show).

At the runway show today guests will experience the brand’s new fragrance for women Burberry Body, entering the show space through an immersive, multi-faceted experience featuring a 4 Dimensional hologram of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, the face of Burberry Body - showcased in a scented room using virtual imagery pioneered by the brand in Beijing earlier this year.

Now the luxury fashion brand is interacting with their legions of devoted Burberry-ites with unprecedented intimacy. Over the past four days Bailey has asked the twitter-sphere for their feedback on the Burberry scent (handed out in their initial gift bag) and for suggestions for runway music.

“Listening to tracks for the show. Any suggestions? #Burberry #LFW - CB”

As we reported in our feature, Undressing the £21bn fashion industry Burberry is the FTSE 100’s most powerful tweeter and has more than 253,000 followers.

The Burberry front row is no longer the first to see the collection

The Burberry front row is no longer the first to see the collection

But Twitter isn’t the only social media outlet to be utilised by the heritage label. Today’s show will also be streamed on Facebook, U Tube, on Chinese social media Sina and Youku and you will be able to download tracks used in the show from iTunes.

The company is also the most popular FTSE 100 company on Facebook. This is due in part to the launch of its own social media site, Art of the Trench launched in 2009.

The photo sharing forum is a shrine to Burberry’s iconic belted jacket. To launch it, Burberry commissioned photographer Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist to take portraits of trench wearers all over the globe.

Visitors to the site are invited to share their pictures of themselves and their friends wearing the coats via Facebook. The Burberry team then chose their favourites and publish them to the site. Users are also invited to comment and vote for their favourite shots.

In an interview with The New York Times Bailey said: “Our objective is to make sure we’re talking the language that our generation uses today. It’s just another channel to talk to the Burberry community…technology is about speaking to the right people at the right time.”

Is this the end of the aloof fashion brand? No longer untouchable, we can see Bailey’s comments and updates live and have input into the runway show. Will other fashion houses will follow in Burberry’s online footprints and make social media as important a part of fashion week as runway shows?

Previously the reserve of fashion’s elitist crowd – the first glimpse is not in the grasp of the masses. At the Burberry show? No darling, @Burberry…

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