8 posts tagged "Google Glass"
Let’s take a step back from discussing Google Glass for a moment and point our lens toward drone cameras. Yes, drone cameras. According to the New York Times, having a mini, camera-equipped aircraft is the hot new trend in wedding photography. Apparently, one was used to record the vows at Sean Patrick Maloney (a New York Democratic representative) and Randy Florke’s nuptials in June. Hillary Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin was in attendance and was overheard saying, “That thing is going to kill somebody.”
But drones aren’t just being used at weddings. Last year, Amazon.com announced that it was aiming to implement “delivery drones” by 2017. Fendi, meanwhile, live-streamed its Fall ’14 show via emblemized video drones (below). During Pitti Uomo, I personally encountered a drone that was snapping Ermanno Scervino’s party at Florence’s Forte Belvedere. It scared the bejesus out of me. But it took some pretty impressive aerial shots (above). And what’s the point of having your party at a medieval castle with views of Il Duomo if you don’t have some stellar aerial shots?
It seems only a matter of time before we see drones at fashion week. Are they more intrusive than bloggers and traditional paps? A little. But
get ready, street-style stars, because they’re going to take some killer photos.
Wearables are no longer a hypothetical. They’re here. They’re happening. And now, they’re available at Net-a-Porter. This week, the luxury e-tailer officially began selling DVF Made for Glass, a collection of men’s and women’s smart specs and shades that Diane von Furstenberg (who sent Google Glass down her Spring ’13 runway) has created in collaboration with Google. “Our eyes were on a few different products,” said Net-a-Porter president Alison Loehnis. “But when Diane partnered with Google Glass two years ago, it was amazing. It was the perfect balance of fashion and technology.” Net-a-Porter is the first independent online retailer to sell Glass, and according to Loehnis, this particular project has been in the works for about a year.
Net-a-Porter’s shoppers are discerning, and considering the website’s selection of high-fashion wares, they have pretty great taste. But will the woman who’s filling her shopping bag with Alexander McQueen dresses, Nicholas Kirkwood shoes, and Givenchy handbags buy Google Glass, a product that most would argue has yet to reach its aesthetic peak? “We really think [Google Glass] complements what we already have on the site. Our customers want things first. They embrace newness across all categories,” Loehnis said. As for the specs’ appearance (how does one make camera-embellished frames elegant?), Loehnis thinks Glass is getting there. “They’ve evolved so much from the original product,” she said of DVF Made for Glass, which comes in a range of colors and slim styles. “It’s a hybrid—we look at it as an accessory that’s also a technology piece.” She does, however, admit that Google’s smart shades serve a very different purpose than fashion frames. They’re not a replacement, but a supplement, so don’t fret—Net-a-Porter will still stock your favorite Prada and Chloé sunnies.
I’ve been pretty hard on wearable tech. And I’m still not sold on the idea of being connected to everyone and everything all day via a face computer. But the fact of the matter is, the wearables market is expanding (Apple announced its forthcoming smart watch last week, and yesterday, Google discussed its own line of watches, dubbed Android Wear), and Net-a-Porter’s embrace of Glass lends it a certain fashion cachet. Brands often see NAP as the holy grail of retailers, not only because of its outreach but because of its ability to make products instantly covetable. It’s still early days, but NAP is confident the glasses will sell—and sell well. Though it’s worth noting that for Glass’ $1,800 price tag you could buy a Miu Miu tote, a Rick Owens dress, or two pairs of Nicholas Kirkwood pumps instead.
During our conversation at Net-a-Porter’s New York headquarters, Loehnis made a smart comparison, likening the wearables of now to the tech cases of yore. “If you look back at the accessories market, years ago no one was making tech cases. It was like, you’ve got this new device, but where can you put it? It became quite a big deal when the industry created a whole category around this,” she said. “Technology is part of our world. It’s integrated seamlessly into our lives, so I would imagine that most people—not everyone—but most people are considering [wearable tech]. In meeting rooms around the world, I suspect these conversations are happening.”
And she’s probably (OK, certainly) right. But I had to ask Loehnis how she’ll go about converting Net-a-Porter addicts who are otherwise tech-phobic, like myself, to click buy. “To be honest, our customers tend to be ahead of the pack. I don’t think it will take a huge amount of convincing. And you don’t need to think about Google Glass as a continuous news feed. It can be used in a very targeted way,” she explained when I expressed my concern about being unable to escape the Internet. “For instance, earlier, we were talking about cooking. I think it’s the cutest idea that you could be sitting there making brownies with your children, and you might say, ‘Oh, how do I do this?’ and you can just look it up. So if you’re saying you would find it daunting, I’d say that you’re in control of how you’re using them.” I suppose in this particular baking scenario, Google Glass would help avoid a touchscreen or keyboard or—gasp! —cookbook marred by flour.
Soon enough, you might be able to get more than DVF’s Glass styles at the online shopping destination. Said Loehnis: “I think the [Google Glass] take-up will be very strong, and [wearables] are something we’re looking to develop. So watch this space!” We will—maybe even through Google Glass.
It’s happening. Fashion is fully embracing wearable tech. Today, Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter announced that, come June 23, they will be selling a range of DVF-designed Google Glasses on their websites for $1,700 a pop. If you’ll remember, von Furstenberg sent a gaggle of Google Glasses down her Spring ’13 runway, and at her Resort presentation today, she was sporting the latest style. (She’s pictured here with Style.com’s Nicole Phelps.)
Net-a-Porter’s luxury his-and-hers shopping platforms are the first third-party retailers to sell the high-fashion face computers. “We are thrilled to offer Glass to our tech-savvy customers who are true leaders and innovators in style and lifestyle,” said Net-a-Porter founder Natalie Massenet. Will loyal customers actually add Google’s smart frames to their shopping carts along with their Kenzo frocks and Kirkwood heels? Only time will tell.
News broke yesterday morning that Google has enlisted Luxottica—the company that crafts eyewear for such brands as Prada, Ray-Ban, Chanel, Versace, and beyond—to make Google Glass less hideous. That’s all good and fine—at least the Internet giant is placing an appropriate amount of importance on aesthetics. But I have to be honest: I am deeply tired of hearing about, writing about, and thinking about wearable tech. I have no desire to be hooked up to a device all day. The nonstop e-mail-induced vibrating of my iPhone already gives me heart palpitations, and I don’t need my rings, bracelets, and specs incessantly nagging me, too.
Considering Apple’s recent hires—Saint Laurent’s former CEO of special projects Paul Deneve and Burberry’s former CEO Angela Ahrendts—and Humberto Leon and Carol Lim’s partnership with Intel, wearable tech is no doubt about to explode. And it has the potential to generate big business among Millennials who are lost without their tablets, smartphones, and various other gadgets. I’m just not interested in participating in this particular big bang.
That’s not to say that wearable tech isn’t impressive from, well, you know, a tech standpoint. I find it mind-boggling that a Nike Fuel Band has the capacity to track your steps and calories burned, and then spit that information out into the World Wide Web. However, I’m unsure why the world (or the NSA, for that matter) needs to know your, or my, workout routine. Nor do I enjoy being bombarded on Facebook by everyone’s “humble brags” about how many miles they ran today. I’ve unfriended people for less. But I digress.
As someone who has dedicated my life to fashion, I refuse to compromise on the appearance of a garment or accessory. I’d much prefer to spend my wages on a decadent pair of low-tech vintage sunnies than on a mediocre style with Wi-Fi.
Furthermore, when is enough tech enough? Despite the fact that it doubles as my career, fashion is my escape—and I think a lot of people feel that way. When I slip on a new dress or place my favorite hat upon my head, I get butterflies in my stomach. All my troubles dissolve (if only for an instant), and it’s as though I’ve been transported to my own personal sartorial oasis. Why on earth would I trade in those moments of bliss for a flashing frock with 4G capabilities?
And what’s so great about being connected all the time, anyway? Forever burned in my mind is an election party I attended in 2012. The invitees were educated, opinionated, entertaining, and dynamic, but for a good portion of the evening, I had to check their Twitter feeds in order to get their thoughts on the polls. What could have been a riveting few hours of discussion was diminished to a silent, nonstop tweet-fest. While I sat there with my iPhone tucked in my handbag (my mother always told me that it was rude to stare at one’s phone in social situations because it makes your company feel as though they’re not important), mumbling to myself, all I could think was, What a waste. Can you imagine how much worse this will become if we’re not required to take the extra step of reaching into our pockets to tweet, Instagram, e-mail, Facebook, etc.? If the Internet is latched onto our wrists or eyes, will we even speak to each other anymore?
Perhaps I’m a Luddite. And you know what? I’m OK with that. I’d prefer to be stuck in the last century than to look and live like some kind of Star Trekkian android.
Even so, I wish nothing but the best of luck to Google and Luxottica in making high-fashion face computers.
If Chanel’s Couture trainers taught us anything, it’s that you don’t have to sacrifice style for practicality. Unfortunately, this marriage of fashion and function has been difficult to digest when it comes to wearable tech. For its latest upgrade, Google’s Internet-enabled Glass eyewear will roll out prescription lenses, available in four frame styles (Bold, Curve, Thin, and Split) with the option of two tints (Classic and Edge). Add that to Glass’ original designs, and wearers will have forty combinations of colors, frames, and shades to choose from, CNET reports.
While those in the market for Google Glass will now be spoilt for choice (as evidenced by the above short showcasing the new frames), the glasses still fail to strike that balance between style and functionality. The Internet goliath probably isn’t terribly concerned about that just yet, since Glass is available only to those in its Explorer program (with an entry fee of $1,500). But with the company’s plans to take Glass to the public market come late 2014, we suggest that Google makes those Warby Parker collaboration rumors a reality.