Ian: Another fickle fashion phone


I’ve never met Charles Hunt, Sony Ericsson’s head designer of  the new SonyEricsson line-up of “Jalou style statement” phones linked to luxury fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana.

But judging by his comments he sounds like the long-lost twin brother of Sacha Baron-Cohen’s flamboyant Austrian fashionista Brüno.

Here’s Mr Hunt’s view on why Sony Ericsson’s average-specced Jalou is going to be a ‘runway’ success:

“Structured forms, intricate corners, hidden depths and jewel accents are set to be some of the hottest fashion trends in 2010. You can also expect to see deep and natural jewel colours on the runway next year. Jalou reflects these trends with its delicate facet-cut diamond shape design, clean and expressive lines and variety of different shine and matt finishes that give depth to the handset. The design team wanted the handset to reflect beauty found in nature. They looked at structure, strength and form in various crystalline jewels, which resulted in the unique shape.”

Not surprisingly, such unmitigated guff was greeted with short-shrift by the geek community. Forums such as Engadget have been filled with remarks describing the Jalou, such as “why is it that ‘fashion’ phones are always so damn ugly”, “Ghastly”, “I just threw up… in my mouth”, “Uhm… that’s just plain nasty”,  and “That special kind of different brought on by generational wealth, watching the parents host swinger cocaine parties and being surrounded by Yes friends who are too scared of losing their front seat status to tell the truth about the next style Fail”.

Over at review site Cnet, one punter masterfully mused: “I believe this might be the worst thing I’ve ever seen today. And this is coming from a man who this morning watched two turtles having sex.”

Ouch. How’s that for focus-group feedback? Why do phone manufacturers attempt to embrace the transient world of fashion as a sound basis for a universal marketing strategy?  I suspect these bizarre alliances with the fashion industry are nothing more than the vanity projects of feckless marketing and PR wonks who idolise Kate Moss and need to indulge their wannabe fantasies of being associated with a world of superficial glitz and glam.

Ironically, linking a mobile phone with a fashion house is so 2007. LG (Prada), Samsung (Armani) have been there and done it. And Motorola and Dolce & Gabbana have already given the world a hideous gold RAZR.

No doubt there is a niche for airheads who demand an attention-getting, limited-edition phone plastered with high-end fashion branding to affirm their existence. 

It just baffles me why the phone makers seem in thrall to the facile fashion scene, which, by its very nature, nurtures fads that are here today and gone tomorrow.

Brüno would be impressed.