LONDON, United Kingdom — Within the ever-growing world of social media, Clubhouse is making a name for itself as a prominent invite-only platform. Unlike Instagram and Twitter, this audio-only app cannot be accessed by the public at large. No stranger to influencer marketing, Valentino, the globally renowned Italian fashion house, has recently announced that they have joined Clubhouse. It is worth considering this decision in a little more detail. Besides, this new app possesses the exclusivity that luxury fashion aficionados strive for. If you don’t have an invite, you’re not getting in.
The fashion house announced the news through their official website, describing how they have “long been committed to freedom of expression and an open-minded exchange of ideas”. According to the brand, followers who have been invited to the platform can converse with Valentino, “spanning the worlds of fashion, art, music, writing, and much more”.
For years, we’ve been used to seeing the latest Valentino products on 24S, Net-A-Porter or our Instagram feed. As an audio-only app, Clubhouse is a sharp break away from the photo and video-sharing capabilities of mainstream social media. Fashion is all about visuals, so how does audio play into this world? How can Valentino cultivate its image through an audio-only app?
The Challenges and Potential of Clubhouse
One of the main challenges presented by this novel social media platform is its audio-only design. Luxury brands, like Valentino, must thus find a way to translate their brand image and collections without using visual media. This is a sharp break away from the dominance of photo and video in typical fashion advertisements, where audio functions merely as a backing track. We’re no stranger to seeing Valentino and its ambassadors on our social media feed, telling the story of the brand’s latest collections through visuals.
Clubhouse provides luxury brands with a new medium for customer interaction. How will brands swap visuals for audio? Valentino isn’t the first to join the platform, but it is one of the first luxury fashion houses to sign up.
The Growing Presence of the Fashion Industry on Clubhouse
Louis Vuitton and Off-White’s Virgil Abloh joined the app soon after its inception in 2020, along with Giuseppe Zanotti. Designers joined independently under their own names when brands were not officially allowed onto the platform. The British brand Ted Baker was the first to find a loophole, creating their ‘Club’ of profiles to facilitate their conversation events on British fashion and culture. In an unusual move for the app, Ted Baker releases their weekly conversations onto Spotify podcasts.
While the intimate nature of the app is attracting consumers, questions remain as to how it will grow in an age of visual media? Can it be pivoted for in-app advertising like Instagram and TikTok?
Before Valentino joined the app, Versace incorporated it into its major ‘Medusa Power Talks’ campaign. This campaign focuses on pre-recorded conservations between Donatella Versace and guests discussing “power” and what it means to them. These recordings were hosted on other open-access platforms before moving to Clubhouse.
Valentino’s First Clubhouse Event
The first event hosted by Valentino on Clubhouse was a conversation between Betony Vernon and Diane Pernet, marking the launch of the Rockstud Alcove Valentino Garavani collaboration. This women’s collection pays homage to creative femininity, with the Clubhouse conversation focusing on sensuality and provocation.
For the intimate conversation, the pair were joined by special guests Burlesque-star Dita Von Teese and musician Chrystabell. Although Clubhouse is an audio-only platform, Valentino celebrated their Clubhouse launch through a ‘special, seductive performance’ that was shared on their Instagram feed.
The Rockstud Alcove collection takes Valentino’s house code and gives it a new look, reimagining the minimalist silhouette with a contemporary gold rock stud edge. Valentino describes the collaboration as “a celebration of the provocative…the divine power of love”. This sultry collection takes its inspiration from the jewellery-designer turned erotic author.
If you’re lucky enough to get an invite to Clubhouse, you will receive a unique insight into this audio-only app and maybe even find out how luxury fashion brands are adapting their marketing to suit it. It’s too early to tell whether Clubhouse’s appeal will continue as it loses its exclusivity, but one thing is certain. Brands like Valentino appeal to luxury fashion enthusiasts who are intrigued by the invite-only platform.