Allison Lubin joined Vivienne Tam's eponymous design house just after HP had approached it about a partnership. The tech giant wanted Tam to create a laptop that resembled a clutch and weave it into her Spring 2009 Fashion Week show. Lubin, the company's only PR person to date, would work closely with the designer to help revive a 20-year-old fashion brand that, despite its status and expansion in Asia, needed a PR boost in the US amid an ailing magazine industry and the rise of new, young designers.
When Lubin left her previous PR post at Valentino during a restructuring, she shed dreams of becoming a designer in favor of continuing a path in fashion PR.
“I was excited to see the structure and basis of the company, and how much more we could grow with it,” she says. “[Tam's] press wasn't utilized in the past couple of years, and HP was a great outlet to do that.”
When the HP-Vivienne Tam notebook – the “Digital Clutch” – launched last September at the New York Fashion Week show, Lubin promoted the collaboration via an HP virtual catwalk. For the February Fashion Week show, she worked with Attention PR and HP to build on the fashion-meets-tech trend and create a more interactive experience to reach key fashion bloggers.
The team installed HP blogger stations, as well as touch-screen computers displaying a behind-the-scenes Fashion Week video, at this year's atypical February Fashion Week presentation. Many designers eschewed the traditional runway show and had stationed models displaying the collection and laptop.
“The [Digital Clutch] is a product relevant to today and [to] embracing technology,” Lubin says in clarifying the unusual show tactics.
To highlight the ongoing HP-Tam union, Lubin is working with Attention on the launch of Facebook and Twitter pages, which she'll maintain. She's also encouraging Tam to blog and post videos while she travels with the HP collection to Dubai, Paris, Japan, China, and India.
As with the collaboration, Lubin's goal for the brand is to revive Tam's relationships with US editors, as well as its celebrity following.
“We want [people Tam already has relationships with] to see her as relevant today,” Lubin explains. “There are so many shifts in magazines nowadays, so we want to bring [those relationships] in-house.”
Lubin tapped socialite-publicist and celebrity relations consultant Annelise Peterson, formerly her boss at Valentino, to handle celebrity outreach surrounding Fashion Week and other efforts. For the fall presentation, Peterson brought in actress Bebe Neuwirth and socialite Poppy Delevigne, among others.
“We always have a celebrity clientele,” says Alan Wang, marketing director at the company. “With the addition of [Peterson], it bolsters our strength in this area.” He adds that Lubin's work with Peterson – based in LA – also provides them with a West Coast representative.
Logistical tasks aside, Wang notes that one of Lubin's key PR roles is to personally and appropriately represent the brand. When a local regional program for NBC “did a story on the collaboration between Vivienne and HP, they interviewed Allison,” he adds. “She's an integral part of the company.”
Senior PR coordinator, head of PR, Vivienne Tam
August 2007-April 2008
PR coordinator, Valentino