PARIS – To help celebrate Pride Month, Givenchy Parfums is diving deeper into the metaverse, where it is holding the first immersive, ephemeral art exhibition hosted by a beauty brand, on the platform Spatial starting Thursday.
For the Givenchy Beauty Pride Gallery there, the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned brand has given carte blanche to three digital artists to honor the LGBTQIA+ community and promote an inclusive message.
“It’s in continuity to what we have already explored,” said Romain Spitzer, chief executive officer of Givenchy Parfums, referring to the brand’s pioneering digital projects in the recent past.
In 2020, it was the first luxury beauty label to plunge into Animal Crossing. A year later and again in 2022, it was the first one to create non-fungible tokens for Pride Month. Also last year, the brand entered Roblox, where it continues to operate.
“Being an early adopter of the metaverse allows us to engage with new, young audiences — notably by increasing our brand visibility and preference amongst Gen Z – and sets us apart from competition,” said Spitzer.
“It shows that we are a disruptive brand by nature, the true ‘house of audacity’” he continued. “Being a pioneer in the digital world and in the metaverse is a natural extension of our brand DNA, as we strive to be the ‘enfant terrible’ of the fashion beauty brands, relevant for the cool kids of today and tomorrow.”
Spitzer underlined these projects are not one-shots, but rather “really part of a long-term strategy for us to explore this incredibly rich universe, with a sense of authenticity and also relevance for the brand and for the times.”
Givenchy Parfums chose to exhibit on Spatial, billed to be the metaverse’s epicenter for cultural events. It hosts 700,000 visits monthly and counts more than 1 million users from around the globe.
Givenchy Parfums tapped three well-known digital artists involved with the LGBTQIA+ community for this project.
“All of them are trying to express with their art what they really believe — and what we share: freedom of expression, respect for diversity [and individuality],” said Spitzer. “This is who we are.”
The artists kept Pride Month in mind. They included Vanille Verloës, from France. Her professional start was as a fashion designer in 2015. Then she became a stylist for magazines. In 2020, Verloës turned to digital art, making upcycled T-shirts that she morphed into a collection of wearable NFTs. To her, tech speeds creativity and helps bolster more eco-friendly consumer habits.
Verloës’ artwork for Givenchy, titled “L’Arbre de Vie,” or “Tree of Life,” is a 3D tree composed of people’s silhouettes. “Every tree is unique; they all have different branches that grow in various directions,” she said in a statement.
SamJ, a nonbinary American artist, gleans inspiration from the notion of an anthropology of the self. Their work investigates how each person can create their own identity and relationship with gender.
In 2020, SamJ created and launched NFTs. Their art has been on show at the Museum of Crypto Art, and some pieces were actioned by Christie’s. They appear on NFTnow’s listing of the top 100 most influential Web3 people.
For Givenchy Parfums, SamJ’s “Engaged Dyamics” was made to reflect their experience of trans identity. It’s a 3D sculpture built around their body, meant to express euphoria.
“You can see all the tattoos that let me truly claim ownership over my own skin,” they said.
Edgar Fabian Frias, based in Los Angeles, is a nonbinary artist working in media and formats such as photography, videos, installations and performances. Subjects they tackle include societal historical heritage, spirituality and resilience. For the LGBTQIA+ community, the artist organizes festivals and focuses on speaking opportunities on the subject of inclusivity. Their militant GIFs have been viewed more than 300 million times on Giphy.
Fabian Frias’ work for Givenchy Parfums is called “Chroma Nexus” and is a half-minute GIF in which shapes in saturated colors spring to life.
Avatars in the Givenchy Beauty Pride Gallery can check out the artists’ works and world, while collecting hidden elements throughout the exhibition. Those who finish the quest are given a Givenchy beauty badge.
Givenchy Parfums’ exhibit space’s décor is inspired by the brand’s codes, including the purple and blue colors of its Prisme Libre powder. This universe has several floating islands on which each has an artwork. The islands are connected by black ramps for avatars to follow.
There are several places where they are able to sit down and take photos. Avatars can video and share what they are seeing, as well as invite friends to experience the gallery together.
At some point, colors fall from the sky, reminiscent of rainbows. And it all ends with a bang — literally and figuratively — with a virtual fireworks display.
The exhibit will be accessible to the public between Thursday and July 6. The three artworks are also to be displayed on Givenchy Beauty’s Instagram and TikTok platforms.
“Historically, the brand has been very close to the artistic world,” said Spitzer.
Hubert de Givenchy, its founder, collected art and counted many artists among his friends. So this experience in a way pays homage to him in a modern way.
“He was looking at his world with very contemporary eyes,” said Spitzer.
In other art-related tie-ins, over the past two years, Givenchy Parfums has supported young creative talents at Via Ferrata, a preparatory class that is part of the Paris School of Fine Arts.