Yesterday, Microsoft held a private event at Space LES in New York City’s trendy Lower East Side neighborhood to showcase the Surface Pro 4’s new signature cover, Alcantara. This was not a tech event. This was a fashion tech event. In a space usually used for art gallery showings, Microsoft had a few Surface Pro 4’s with the Alcantara cover perched up like works of art. But, that was the prevailing sentiment of the night that the Alcantara cover — with its smooth yet tactile grayish surface used in luxury cars such as Maseratti’s — represented.
The modestly sized art gallery was separated by a huge, white wall Microsoft used to showcase all the artwork created across the world as part of that campaign. Placed under the words “Microsoft Presents The Artists’ Process” were buildings plastered with abstract artworks.
The walls of Space LES were lined with surrealistic portraits placed on pieces of exposed brick that gave the impression they were ripped from the buildings they were painted on. Dave “Persue” Ross, a 30 year graffiti artist, sketched his painting using Photoshop on a Microsoft Surface Pro, plugged in a projector and painted his two story portrait of dragons and bunnies floating in space on the wall itself. “[The Surface Pro] probably cut off maybe five hours, or six hours of the time,” required to perform his work, Ross said while speaking with Digital Trends. He says he’s added the Surface Pro to his “larger scale arsenal” and will use it at the Pow Wow mural festival this May in Washington, DC.
Moderated by Liz Gray – president of trend forecasting company Trendera — the night was highlighted by a panel discussion with Rachel Bell, Amanda Curtis, Hailey Profita, and Renn Scott, innovators in the new field of smart fashion. Bell, Microsoft’s Color & Material designer, was the brains behind the new Alcantara cover and gave a bit of insight into the philosophy behind Microsoft’s recent attention to fashion. “That’s why fabrics even in our devices right now play such a big part,” Bell stated “That human and familiar aspect that makes people want to pick it up and touch it.”
While a crossover between a keyboard and fashion may seem odd, such pairing are quite common. HP’s new Spectre was introduced alongside two custom one-offs from popular fashion designers, and Dell’s gold XPS 13 was introduced at New York’s Fashion Week.