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Netflix has emerged as one of the big winners of the coronavirus pandemic. Now fledgling French shoe brand Nodaleto is ready to launch its own version of the streaming service with a tongue-in-cheek web series inspired by the classic teen comedy “Mean Girls.”
Call it a sign of the times: the idea for the parody site, Nodflix, hatched before France and other European countries went into lockdown as COVID-19 swept the planet.
Nodaleto founder Julia Toledano and Olivier Leone, the creative director, tapped influencers Camille Charrière, Leaf Greener and Louise Follain to join its team of “Nodalegirls,” who are shown on a group phone call discussing what appears to be a steamy encounter — though the final shot reveals the object of their affection is not a man, but the brand’s Bulla Jones shoe.
“My inspiration has always been my entourage,” said Toledano, revealing that the short film was shot in her Paris apartment days before France went into lockdown on March 17. A fourth participant, Spanish influencer Gala González, dropped out at the last minute after being laid low with flu-like symptoms, although it turned out it wasn’t COVID-19.
Leone said the campaign was in tune with Nodaleto’s fashion-forward aesthetic steeped in pop culture. “No matter what your social background, everyone watches Netflix,” he said.
The storyline was a nod to the luxury world’s “love-hate relationship” with influencers, Leone added. “They are the new pop stars, in a sense, and we wanted it to be an ironic spin on the idea of The Plastics by referencing the cult movie ‘Mean Girls.’” The girls, he noted, are all friends of Toledano’s and were paid in shoes.
The film begins with a redesigned version of the Netflix logo, and its signature intro sound. Leone said he ran the idea by the streaming giant’s French marketing director, who gave it his unofficial blessing — while cautioning that he could not guarantee that U.S. headquarters would approve.
“The worst thing that can happen is that they ask us to remove it,” Leone reasoned. “We’re taking a bit of a gamble, but it’s not bad publicity — on the contrary,” Toledano added.
New episodes, featuring a different set of influencers, will appear on the Nodflix Instagram site each season — though the one-year-old brand plans to go seasonless as it adapts its strategy to the post-coronavirus landscape.
Nodaleto had delivered 98 percent of its orders before lockdown, but was hit hard by the Barneys New York bankruptcy and Neiman Marcus Group filing for Chapter 11.
“We think we will recover, but it’s been a blow nonetheless,” said Toledano, adding that the label’s e-commerce site helped it weather the lockdown. “April was one of our best months so far, so that was rather positive. Thankfully, this compensated a little for the loss of business elsewhere,” she said.
Leone was speaking from the South of France, where he was shooting the brand’s next campaign— while respecting social distancing guidelines. “Creativity under duress is even stronger,” he said, explaining that Nodaleto will double down on its approach of creating carryover styles in limited quantities. “We’re trying to make a product that’s timeless.”
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