Elle Uses Virtual Reality to Share Fashion Up Close

VR 'brings the consumer into that world'

There are few front row seats during fashion shows, but Elle—with the aid of virtual reality—wants to extend the opportunity to see the shows up close.

The Hearst magazine is partnering with 7 For All Mankind to shoot a closer, 360 degree look at its spring collection. The footage was shot on Feb. 18 in Paris, and the company aims to release the content for VR headsets within the month.

"We see enormous interest in the fashion landscape," Elle publisher Kevin O'Malley said. "It is such an immersive and highly visceral experience for the user, and we're interested in sharing more with them. (VR) brings the consumer into that world."

Brands have been eagerly exploring the VR space, with many seeing it as the next big entertainment medium. Mountain Dew has put resources into developing action sports content, while Destination B.C. (British Columbia's tourism bureau) has tapped the technology to woo travelers. Elle also employed VR in a December digital photo spread of pop singer Jacquie Lee. The 7 For All Mankind content will live on Elle's digital properties and be featured on the label's sites and social media accounts.

Elle also is seeking ways to refresh its print product. The upcoming March issue will have an eight-page butterfly gatefold showcasing the Giambattista Valli capsule collection with 7 For All Mankind and a cover featuring Katy Perry will peel off to reveal a second cover of the singer (pictured at right). The wrap execution is sponsored by Tiffany & Co, whose ads will appear on the inside peel.

"There's a lot of innovation still occurring in print," O'Malley said. "The cover peel is one of those items, the sort of impact units you can create for advertisers."