The renowned fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld raised eyebrows during Paris Fashion Week when he turned the catwalk into a data center to showcase the latest offering from the House of Chanel. While Fortune reported that the Paris-based fashionista was making “fun of how much technology was a part of people’s lives,” I’d say it’s an astute piece of social commentary observing IT as the backdrop to modern life – Life is On, as we say at Schneider Electric.
Judging from some headlines, the elaborate set constructed in the Grand Palais intrigued attending journalists. It also made for some stunning images like this fashion Instagram by @evachen212. Asked if he thought technology was intrusive, Lagerfeld told Reuters TV “try imaging your life without your mobile phone.” The 83-year old is apparently as committed to tech as he is to high fashion, reportedly owning four iPhones and about 30 iPads, including one for his cat, Choupette. He also has track record for courting controversy with his runway concepts.
Originated in 1909, Chanel is one of the most famous names in haute couture, a term protected by law and which entails the creation of exclusive and custom fitted clothing. The term carries with it the idea of high-end and high quality, attention to detail and rarity. It epitomizes expense and exclusivity. But in spite of its tailor-made outward appearance, underneath the fashion market is increasingly deploying high tech to solve the challenges of building strong, global brands and sales.
Published earlier in June, an article in Business of Fashion entitled Software Is Reshaping Fashion’s Back End, talks about how technology is now starting to permeate the unglamorous back-end systems of the fashion industry. Systems which have remained untouched whilst digital was revolutionizing the “sexy” and glossy consumer-facing side through everything from e-commerce to social media, are now being transformed under the disruptive influence of millennials joining the business from other sectors.
Apps on iPads are replacing pens, paper and clipboards in ordering and inventory processes; data and analytics are coming into play to help retailers plan stock and brands to understand the post-sale lifecycle of items. Even GPS is being utilized as the industry looks for a better and more analytical understanding of their key influencers, so that they can work with them. The start-up businesses feeding this growing appetite for technology are also raising a lot of money, showing just how seriously investors view the opportunity.
Chanel’s “Data Center” set at Paris Fashion Week is a tacit acknowledgement that even an industry as traditional as high fashion needs technology to drive evolution and adaptation. In our industry, there was a time not so very long ago when the designer data center ruled. Today customers seek more timely and readily available prefabricated modular solutions. This prêt-à-porter approach helps ensure Life is On with data center infrastructure primed and available to deliver the services which underpin leisure time and the business day. In that sense, the data center is becoming every bit as iconic as Chanel’s little black dress.
If you’re curious to learn how prefabricated modular data center solutions are transforming other sectors, check out this video of another great icon, the Sagrada Familia. At Barcelona’s most popular destination, traditional crafts including ceramics, stained glass and stonemasonry rest side by side with 3D printing and augmented reality to bring Gaudi’s revolutionary design to life. Or for more information, download Schneider Electric’s free white paper – “Types of Prefabricated Modular Data Centers.”