Maison Chi Chi by Lisa Von Tang.

Social distancing requirements killed Lisa Von Tang’s hopes for a traditional fashion show for her eponymous brand. So her team flirted with the idea of a digitally immersive show. But she was against it. “I am a lover of the stage, moments that are unrepeatable, and engulfing our audiences in total sound, performance and energy that I initially believed we couldn’t achieve through a screen,” Von Tang shares.

Then she watched a Basquiat exhibition in 3D using her phone. The show blew her away. It showed to her that engagement through the digital screen was possible. Von Tang reversed her position and gave it a shot.

Work on Maison Chi Chi, the name for her 3D immersive experience to showcase her latest collection, began in August. Two months later, the team began shooting.

“Post-production took us longer than expected, around one month, as there were so many layers such as sound mastering, video editing and tweaking the 3D walk-through experience to complete. We also had to re-do the entire 3D journey at one point because of technical issues. We persisted though, because we love the end product,” Von Tang shares.

(Related: Singapore’s fashion community gets creative in the face of the pandemic)

A still from Maison Chi Chi, Lisa Von Tang's 3D immersive experience.
A still from Maison Chi Chi, Lisa Von Tang’s 3D immersive experience.

Von Tang shared that she only spent $3,000 on the entire production, mainly on rental of specialised camera equipment, lighting and microphones.

This experience and the pandemic made Von Tang realise that the fashion industry had irrevocably changed. Even though she had to close her boutique at Marina Bay Sands after three years in June 2020, Von Tang is optimistic.

“Sales on our e-commerce store are up 300 per cent year on year and sales on Farfetch (an e-commerce platform) are taking off, even though we only started selling there in autumn this year. We are living in a world where fashion is increasingly being consumed without the product being touched,” says Von Tang.

Von Tang believes that the virtual sphere can convey the quality of a garment through detailed imagery. But it’s vital that the customer loves the product and the quality once it’s shipped to his or her doorstep. Only then will they become repeat customers.

(Related: Why Nejla Matam-Finn believes the pandemic will strengthen The Fifth Collection, a pre-loved luxury digital platform)

The Maison Chi Chi experience by Lisa Von Tang is best experienced with headphones.
The Maison Chi Chi experience by Lisa Von Tang is best experienced with headphones.

“The actual mission of a brand selling online now is to contextualise their pieces within a particular lifestyle,” Von Tang says. Now, she has no plans to revert to the old ways. Physical stores are out of the question, although she’ll consider short-term pop-ups. She’s going to use the capital to focus on international online expansion instead.

“At the start of 2020, we barely did sales online. Now, through our own direct e-commerce and Farfetch, we ship every day to the US, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, and even Latin America. It’s thrilling to be a small brand based in this little red dot and have this reach. Focus is everything.”