Last Friday, I was invited to a special preview of a new site by Thierry Mugler that was launched yesterday, on the occasion of International Women’s Day. It’s called Womanity and it aims to be a canvas of women’s thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Thierry Mugler isn’t new to experimenting with digital media: a couple of years ago, he was the creative force behind his Blog Galaxy. Since then, his mainstream design work has taken a backseat to the more creative design he’s been doing with people like Beyoncé for her current tour, and George Michael’s 2Funky video. But he’s maintained throughout that he’s wanted to do something avant-garde on the web, and Womanity seems to be that.
In its first avatar, Womanity is a platform for participation by women. It doesn’t presume that it will be the next social network: Mugler seems to be clear that places like Facebook and Twitter are where people are, and there’s no point trying to get them to come elsewhere (smart). So it merely gives women the tools to air their feelings about womanhood: ladies can upload videos, photos and text which they can then share with their wider networks on the web.
I was most intrigued by the amount of control they seem to have ceded to their users. They have a partnership with MSN who will help moderate the content uploaded, but otherwise, people don’t even need to be registered to upload content, for example. I don’t think any luxury brand in the past has demonstrated that level of openness, and I think that by doing this Thierry Mugler is paving the way for an alternative way of operating, for luxury brands.
I also like the mood board. It reminds me of Etsy’s Shop by Colour mood board, but here of course the context is very different. We were told that on a never-ending canvas like Womanity, it may be difficult for people to focus and search for things, so they decided that by colour-coding what people feel when they’re active on the site, it will help the the discovery of content in a much more female-tuned way. I often search for stuff by colour, and it’s a nice piece of insight into how women think.
They aim to have a range of content curators going forward – apart from MSN, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is among their initial partner relationships, which is nice for the film-buffs! It also shows that they’ve planned for the future to some extent. This is merely the beginning though – women are going to mould what happens with the site, and products they help design could be an outcome…no one knows at this stage. As I said, the site is really going to cede control to women, which could have exciting results.
Thierry Mugler has for a long time now had a very alternative way of building their community : they have about 1 million women who are part of their ‘inner circle’, so to speak, who receive news about product launches in advance, and samples as well. With Womanity, the brand hopes to expand this to women across the world – and web – to celebrate the spirit of womanhood.
Women of the world, go take a look.