Hong Kong's first 3D mirror for shoppers: designed so women can find a better bra to fit
Hong Kong lingerie store's scanner takes 140 measurements as you do a 360-degree turn, supplementing tape measurements stylist takes, then scans you wearing selected bras to show which fits best
High-end lingerie brand Rigby & Peller prides itself on the personalised services provided by its boutiques' "lingerie stylists". The 76-year-old company has recently incorporated a hi-tech element in its made-to-measure service. It now uses a 3D mirror that helps take accurate measurements of a client's bust.
The British brand, which has been Queen Elizabeth's official corsetiere since 1960 and counts celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow and Lady Gaga among its customers, has installed the technology in its flagship Hong Kong store on Hysan Avenue in Causeway Bay. It is the first of its stores in Asia to have this mirror. The six others in use are in Rigby & Peller shops in Europe.
The aim is to combine the technology with the lingerie stylists' knowledge to enhance the customer experience, and reduce the time it takes for accurate measuring, and I had a chance to try it for a fitting.
The mirror is inside a changing room; all you see of the scanner is a large screen that looks like a one-way mirror. Look more closely, though, and you can see some kind of camera inside.
First, the lingerie stylist wraps a tape round my torso just below my bust and notes down my strap measurement. Then, after I shed my clothes, the stylist standing outside the changing room asks me to stand with my arms slightly away from my body. When the mirror glows light blue, the scan has begun. It's a signal for me to turn slowly in a clockwise circle so that the camera can record 140 different points on my body. There are a few technical issues, but on the fourth attempt it records all my measurements in less than a minute. They are sent to the stylist's iPad, and an algorithm translates these numbers into my bra size.
The stylist comes back with several bras for me to try. She helps me put them on in the changing room and even gives a few tips on how they should be worn properly, how the back strap should not ride up, and the straps should not dig into the shoulders - one should be able to comfortably slip a finger in between the strap and the shoulder.
The combination of the 3D mirror and the stylist's experience was impressive, because practically every bra I tried on fitted well.
Then we used the mirror again to take pictures of me in several different bras to narrow down the selection to those most suitable for my body and my own preferences.
Once the session is over, all the digital images taken of me are deleted from the iPad in my presence, while my measurements are kept in the company's database for future purchases, and potentially to help the company develop products tailored for Asian body types.
After trying the 3D scanner, customers are under no obligation to buy, although we are told 90 per cent of them do.