“I have always loved video games. To me, they are an inspiration on the same level as movies, cartoons, or manga.” This is how Julien Fournié considers these new means of entertainment: not just as a game, but as an art form. “Of course, I also remember playing in my teen age years with the very first screen games like Space Invaders,” he adds. Since then, video games have evolved both technically and creatively. “After Haute Couture shifted to digital in July 2020, we met Hylink France, a digital marketing agency, most famous in Asia. They confirmed with our team that video games have been growing on social platforms.”
As videogames can be seductive for luxury brands aiming to reach a new generation, Fournié figured he would try to integrate his Haute Couture aesthetics. “The first online meeting with the PUBG MOBILE creative team proved extremely fruitful and completely respectful of my inspirations and input.”
Fournié’s fascination for video game avatars and superheroes comes across strong in his Haute Couture video for Fall-Winter 2021, entitled “First Squad.” Upon seeing a sneak preview, PUBG MOBILE decided to make Fournié a jury member for their international contest of looks for avatars made by the gamers themselves.
Together, Fournié and the talented team communicated through fashion illustrations imagined by the designer for the PUBG MOBILE avatars. “There were stimulating problems to solve aesthetically from my point of view,” he explains. “For reasons of gameplay, all the avatars must be the same size and have the same body proportions, so I had to adapt my designs so that they could be worn without creating handicaps for the players. It is actually the same as when you adapt a garment you have designed on a model for a customer who does not have the same measurements, who has a specific situation in mind, and different expectations about the way she looks.”
To celebrate this past Christmas, PUBG MOBILE launched two full Julien Fournié outfits, complete with accessories (for both a male and female avatar) inspired by elements from the Nutcracker tale. “This was an interesting first step, where we could learn how to work together on virtual clothing which could respect real garment architecture. The materials and embellishments could remain in a fantastic virtual world and did not need to become wearable in the real world.”
This, however, was not enough for Fournié. As he was thinking about his next Haute Couture collection, entitled “First Love,” he suggested to the team that two of his silhouettes in the collection could be entirely realised both for his show and also for the PUBG MOBILE avatars.
In this process, both the Julien Fournié Haute Couture atelier and the PUBG MOBILE 3D developers have worked together on materials, as they were being made by Fournié’s fabric suppliers and those assembled in his own atelier. “This is paramount for me: the virtual world is heading towards more realism and the wearability of the garments are part of it. We have to create more bridges to link the real world to the virtual like a back-and-forth.”
As for the highlight of working – and playing – with PUBG MOBILE, Fournié says: “Of course, the exploration and thrill of these amazing worlds. But most of all, I like forming a team with players connected from different countries worldwide and becoming friends with them.”
And in turn, players can now enjoy and rediscover Haute Couture and its tradition of elegance and creativity in an entirely new dimension.