MPC Creative and Sunshine collaborate to create unique Balmain VR experience
Immersion into Olivier Rousteing’s fantastical creative process
MPC Creative, the content production studio at MPC, and Sunshine have collaborated to create a first-of-its-kind VR experience for luxury Parisian fashion house, Balmain. The five-minute experience sees the viewer immersed into the fantastical mind of the brand’s creative director, Olivier Rousteing, one of fashion’s leading talents.
‘My City of Lights’ launched this week to help introduce the new Balmain Milan store concept and marks the first launch from Balmain Wonderlabs, the brand’s entertainment and innovation division, marking the beginning of a clear shift in the house’s marketing strategy. The experience provides an immersion that ascends through a series of beautifully crafted spaces, each representing a different stage of Olivier Rousteing’s unique creative process.
Viewers are guided by Rousteing as the narrator as they enter Parisian scenes, such as an impossibly cavernous baroque hall, a room ablaze with fire and an abstract landscape with growing staircases, metaphorically representing the creative milestones behind each Balmain collection.
The experience was created to feel at once familiar but also equally surreal and provides an exciting new direction for Balmain and an opportunity to develop even further the creative process, which combines a collective knowledge of architecture, atmospheric lighting visual effects and sound design into one single and fluidly coherent piece.
The experience also exposes users to the fear, inspiration and emotion that Olivier encounters when creating a new runway offering. And while it provides entertaining escapism, it also is created to demonstrate Balmain’s commitment to inclusivity.
In addition to the virtual experience, Rousteing worked with Oculus to design a bespoke Balmain VR headset, which provides viewers with a luxury window into his impossible world.
“My City of Lights” is currently premiereing inside the new Balmain Milan flagship store as part of Milano Moda Design. It also features a bespoke in-store installation designed to blur the boundaries between the luxury and virtual worlds.
Pete Conolly, Creative Director at MPC Creative, says: “This has been an incredible campaign for us, working with the brilliant mind of Olivier Rousteing alongside the teams at Balmain and Sunshine, creating an installation that not only offers a uniquely memorable and beautiful experience but also a new form of communication between the brand and customers.
“This unique project has allowed MPC to push our real-time offer in an exciting new direction, allowing us to focus in detail on some of the more artful sides of the creative process that we love, and combining our collective knowledge of architecture, atmospheric lighting visual effects and sound design into a single, fluidly coherent piece.
“From a technical perspective, the project has pushed us to overcome a unique set of challenges, with many of the post-production effects that we take for granted needing to be optimised specifically for VR. Turning it around in just five weeks, we created the CG piece directly in Unreal Engine and designed an immersive 360 soundscape bespoke from Res.Lab which is a key element of this immersive piece as the sound works as a key partner to the stunning visuals, elevating the experience significantly.
“We’ve had to create everything from our own animation systems to particle shaders and glass shattering simulations to create this VR experience we’re thrilled with the result.”
Simon Bird, Creative Director at Sunshine, says:
“Olivier is really excited by new technology. We wanted to use VR to connect with his fans, a bit like he does with Instagram. But at the same time, we wanted to push the technology and do something that was only really possible in virtual reality
“One of my favourite things about the project is that on one hand we've created these impossibly huge and spectacular worlds but at the same time the experience feels very personal and intimate
"This was a really inspiring project to work on. There were so many incredibly talented people who came together to make it possible. I think there are certain universal truths to the creative process – whether you come from the world of fashion, technology or storytelling – and we were all able to come together to express them in our own way. The result is something that feels very unique and authentic."
Olivier Rousteing, Creative Director at Balmain, says: “This new VR concept truly represents the DNA of today’s Balmain. We are in a period of rapid change, and as the fashion industry evolves, Balmain remains dedicated to leading the way we can connect with our followers and customers. We want everyone to be involved in our Balmain universe, and this VR is an important factor that helps us achieve this.”
“My City of Lights” runs until April 29 inside the new Milan Balmain flagship, after which the installation will begin a tour around the world.