The most remarkable part of this environment can’t be shown by a still image. As you approach the back shelves, discreet cameras track your eyes’ movements. When you look at a shelf, sophisticated software detects the object of your gaze and a spotlight illuminates that shelf. When your eyes drift left, the computer tracking your pupils dims the light on the last object of your attention and illuminates the next. The computer reacts so quickly to your moving pupils that light seems to follow your eyes in real time.
This system can track the eyes of only two people at a time, and the viewer has to be within a certain range for the system to work.
It’s either that or a luxury store interior.
I took a risk. Next to futuristic curves and lights fit for Tron, I set the sort of cobblestone you’d see along the slim alleys of a Spanish Mission. Look at all the mix and match you get away with when you keep the palette monochromatic. Baby blue!
Today, I’m picking on a talented German artist who works in 3DS Max.
His rendering’s crisp CG details draw me in, but then send my eyes to flit back and forth across the image in want of a strong focal point to stick to. Poor tonal organization=no focal point=weak visual punch. I respect the self restraint the artist displays with a limited palette, but he needs to organize, unify, and simplify these tonal shapes.
In a highly-complex image such as this, only focal points should have such severe light/dark contrast.
Violating this rule yields a too-busy image. That in mind, I spent 15 minutes retouching the image in Photoshop. (I’ll confess it’s rude of me to do this to a stranger’s work, but wait until you see the difference.) Notice how now the tones look correctly and coherently grouped, thereby uncluttering the image.
Images of coastal Maine and Minnesota’s boundary waters wilderness inspired this one. It’s too bad Thomas Hart Benton spent so little time painting water. He would have had as much fun with these ripples as I did.
You’re not a billionaire designer, so what cautionary lessons are you going to take from DG’s tax scandal? Leave that story for the shock-starved tabloid hounds. DG’s brand positioning is so much more instructive and compelling.
Dolce & Gabbana sold us a modern Mediterranean aesthetic that’s more ornate, colorful, and sexually charged than Armani’s. I can absolutely appreciate the talent driving the DG brand. My American perspective differs from the Italian one because I believe “Mediterranean” is not the reason for DG’s appeal. This side of the Atlantic, I think consumers buy DG to go after an aesthetic I’d call Urban-Exotic, and Mediterranean imagery is a lukewarm expression of this quality. DG could broadcast its urban-exoticism with more impact.
Urban-Exotic means sensuous, foreign (including but not limited to Mediterranean), modern, exclusive, finely tailored and a bit dangerous. It means skinny flowers and glossy white marble like you’d see at Abu Dhabi’s White Mosque, the sexiest mosque in the world. And Urban-Exotic casts competitors as generic by comparison, since Hugo Boss and Band of Outsiders won’t go to the ends of the earth to bring home uncommon designs to New York clientele.
That’s the vine Nasturtium at the foot of the mannequin. While this scene triggers an audience’s emotional reactions to the exotic East, it holds onto the Mediterranean’s bold, clean lines and flooding light.
Here’s a second concept, less modern than the first:
On a side note, DG’s decision to print retro-Americana shirts with Tyson, Coca-Cola, and Robots was bizarre, and WAY off-brand. Viewing this from outside the company, I can’t figure how these shirts are sexy, creative, or exclusive. They aren’t all bad-looking, but they dilute and decay DG’s brand. I suspect that there’s an on-brand way to drive the same short-term revenues.
The chrome lanterns are at once beautiful and industrial because they look like links of a chain.
The concept hasn’t been done before, and it’s perfect for a watch boutique with light foot traffic. The design diverges from the sort of Peter Marino glitz that usually characterizes luxury watch stores. Buoys, feather reed grass, and chrome give the space a “luxury missile silo” feel.
A wise move might be to simulate the water with resin on plexi. Real water would be expensive and would cause frequent maintenance challenges.