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NOW, AT LAST: If anyone can publish online, why not a big luxury brand? On Thursday, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton will launch the full version of its long-promised arts and luxury media site, Nowness.com. The digital magazine has been in teaser mode since LVMH shut down its online store, eLuxury.com, and switched the site to the new name and concept.
Each day the site features one new story, which can take a variety of formats, including text, video, music or an interactive project. Since January, Nowness has shown details from the Chanel spring 2010 presentation, a song from Gil Scott-Heron’s most recent album and a short article about the late Susan Sontag on the occasion of her birthday, among other things.
So far, as on many luxury sites, the interactivity is not a free-for-all, but relatively controlled. Visitors can’t leave comments, but they can vote “like” or “don’t like” on each presentation, and the site will direct a visitor to similar or different content from the archive. A navigator called the “Explorer” groups random titles from the archive by color and size to graphically represent their popularity.
Earlier this week, the invitation-only preview of the full site featured a short film noir, “Mean to Me,” directed by artists David McDermott and Peter McGough and featuring model Agyness Deyn. The film made its debut earlier this month in New York and will be shown at film festivals and galleries.
“It is important to have a voice online to represent the values of luxury,” said digital executive vice president of Nowness Kamel Ouadi. “It is also an act of leadership and innovation because the site brings a new way to showcase and explore content.”
Visitors can share site content via e-mail and social sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Digg. An iPhone app is in the works.
The site has been getting about 10,000 visitors a month, although Ouadi said the company expects more after the full launch. The site has several thousand fans on Twitter and Facebook, and a database of 300,000 members who have registered on the site.
Eventually, Nowness will think about revenue and advertising, as well as content partnerships with brands, “as soon as traffic is high enough to be interesting to potential partners,” Ouadi said. The site wants to work with luxury brands outside the LVMH family, he said. — Cate T. Corcoran