This week Lady Gaga, final seen successful the sport of entrances at the Met Gala, will re-emerge in Las Vegas to proceed the sequence of “Enigma” reveals she started final December at the Park MGM. On its personal which may be thrilling information for anybody feeling “Shallow” nostalgia, however this time round she can be bringing a bit of one thing further to the strip: 1,600 sq. ft of disco-bedazzled trend and retail further, to be exact.
Not precisely merch, not a museum, the Haus of Gaga is one thing else. It is a form of theme park/journey down reminiscence lane full with about 50 gadgets — 20 head-to-toe seems, assorted hats and footwear — from her archives, all set in a futuristic house with darkish partitions lit by spots like floating planets.
The meat gown she wore to the MTV Video Awards in 2010 is there. (“We beef jerky’d it,” stated Nicola Formichetti, trend director of the Haus of Gaga, in case anybody was questioning the way it was nonetheless round.)
So is the Armani insect ensemble from the Born This Way Tour in 2012. So is the metallic Versace bodysuit she wore to fly into the Super Bowl in 2017, and the blood-spattered “Paparazzi” bodysuit and the many, many pairs of eye-popping hooflike platform footwear.
There are additionally specifically designed new gadgets on the market, in addition to private Gaga items that might be auctioned, with proceeds going to the Born This Way Foundation.
“It’s like being in a galaxy of Gaga!” stated Mr. Formichetti, who has been curating the contents of Haus of Gaga. “Everything inspired by her story and her work,” with takeaways each in reminiscence and materials.
And it’s simply the first instance of what could become the trend development of the yr.
Later this winter, Modelland, the 21,000-square-foot modeling amusement park in Santa Monica dreamed up by Tyra Banks, is scheduled to open, providing retail, mannequin role-play and different interactive trend options, the higher to permit paying guests to reside out their catwalk fantasies.
It might be “a new world of storytelling and adventure in a grand, fantastical, physical place where all expressions of beauty are celebrated,” in response to a information launch. “The multilevel ticketed experience invites all visitors to redefine what a model really is and for people to be the dream versions of themselves.”
And after that can come American Dream, three million sq. ft of immersive consumption (don’t name it a mall) from the Triple Five Group, presently underneath development in the Meadowlands space of New Jersey.
When completed, it would comprise an indoor ski hill with actual snow, a DreamWorks water park, a Nickelodeon Universe theme park, a Legoland Discovery Center, an ice-skating rink, a large Ferris wheel, an indoor backyard with bunnies and an aviary — and assorted shops together with Gucci, Saint Laurent and Tiffany & Co., together with the largest mall-based Zara retailer in the nation (amongst different issues).
Triple Five’s Wizard of Oz — sorry, chief artistic officer — is Ken Downing, who was the trend director of Neiman Marcus for 28 years, and who envisions a trend present on the ski slope, with fashions going up in the chairlifts and down on skis, the viewers arrayed in little gold ballroom chairs alongside.
“There is nothing that is too big or too crazy,” Mr. Downing stated.
Welcome to the Disneyfication of fashion: the convergence of leisure, consumption and expertise in a single, sensation-filled excessive/low extravaganza. Everyone has been on one thing of a curler coaster recently, in any case. This simply makes it official.
Maybe it’s the place we’ve been going all alongside; the final evolution of T-shirts with Hermès baggage, of the convergence between streetwear and luxurious, the transformation of reveals into Shows and Content, and the fixed harping on the want for “experiences,” and how they — be they journey or live shows — are vying with purses and cashmere sweaters for pocketbook share.
It’s most likely not a coincidence that Mr. Formichetti, who additionally has his personal model, Nicopanda, is the former creative director of Diesel and the present trend director of Uniqlo. He performs in all fashion sandboxes.
No one doubts that the previous approach of promoting issues — the 1980s mall, now an echoing wasteland; the department store, a dying breed; the flagship, a museum encased in amber — may be over. But are rides with a side of style, or fantasy with fanny packs, really the answer?
“There’s so much fear right now,” Mr. Downing said. “People are afraid to do something bold. But what retail lacks right now is creativity, theater and the ability to get people to come in just to see what’s going to happen.” It lacks “The Avengers”!
Mr. Formichetti agreed. “We talked about this from Day 1,” he said of Haus of Gaga. “Fashion is such a big part of performance, why shouldn’t performance be part of fashion? I love seeing fashion in a more entertainment way. That’s how the magic is made.”
But is it also how it is bought? Certainly it is not a surprise that in the search for the new and the different, Disney would prove an irresistible model, just as Apple once did. After all, Disney blockbusters got people back into movie theaters (another relic of the past, like stores, oft-declared “over”), and the company has become expert at taking one brand and disseminating it across multiple platforms: small screen, big screen, live action, cartoons, merchandise and, most of all, rides.
One school of thought says yes, that we invest in souvenirs to recall great experiences, and this is simply the wearable expression of that urge. Since none of these products are strictly necessary, they become symbols of a happy, exciting time.
According to Uma Karmarkar, a neuro-economist and professor at University of California San Diego, connecting fun (rides! theater!) to product attaches a brand memory to a positive experience, potentially giving us adrenaline-rush associations with a purchase.
But after the thrill of actual action — plunging down a flume, being flung around by bungees — can the thrill of a new leather jacket really compete? Do the urges to acquire sensation and stuff live in the same pleasure centers in the brain? (Rock climbers who live in their vans would suggest not.)
David Sulzer, a professor in the psychiatry department at Columbia University whose lab studies changes in the brain that occur during learning and addiction, said the fact that American Dream and Haus of Gaga are designed so that visitors have to pass through the retail section of the “experience” to get to the actual “experience” may work in their favor.
Dr. Sulzer pointed out that studies have shown that dopamine (a neurotransmitter linked to desire) is released when a pleasurable end is achieved, and that release can be “upstreamed” by cues related to the goal.
In other words, passing by Gucci to get the rush you achieve from pelting down a ski hill may transfer the sense of rush to Gucci, or passing by “Enigma” merch on the way to seeing your favorite Gaga outfit in the actual cloth may give you a feeling of satisfaction simply from seeing the shirts (or whatever exciting product is on offer).
More feeling, anyway, than you get from simply wandering around an empty store, or shopping by iPhone light in the middle of the night. “Though we don’t really know,” Dr. Sulzer said. It has been demonstrated in a lab environment with animal subjects, but not in a retail environment with people.
Still, Dr. Karmarkar added, there’s a certain precedent for all of this. “In some ways the Champs-Élysées is already the Disneyland of Paris,” she said.
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