Not every fashion campaign is worth talking about, but there is a handful you’ll want to watch.
As we’re keeping a careful eye on all things fashion in advance of next month’s fashion weeks, we’re into that time of year when a flurry of new campaigns are hitting and, as usual, the greater majority of them are boring and non-expressive. There is a handful, though, that are significant, sometimes as much for who as for what. Let’s run them down, shall we?
Anyone a fan of actor Jude Law? Meet his 15-year-old daughter Iris. Just a few days ago, she appeared in her first ad campaign for London-based Illustrated People‘s collaboration with stylist Violetta Thalia Kassapi, along with a couple of other new youngsters, Evangeline Ling and Charley Munro. The campaign is for a limited three-look pyjama line, one of which has already sold out according to Illustrated People’s website.
Why should we pay attention? Well, on one hand we can talk about the ethics of putting 15-year-old in adult sleepwear, or using children in adult campaigns at all. This one comes with its fair share of sexuality (though nowhere near as bad as some we’ve seen) and the poses of three young girls on a bed doesn’t look anything like an innocent sleepover.
Iris Law’s entrance into modeling may be the bigger story, though. Not only have her parents been dragging her to fashion shows for quite some time, back in 2012 there was a bit of a fuss over the dress she wore to Vivienne Westwood’s Red Label show. The mere fact that her mother took her to a Westwood show at that age says something about the fashion-conscious way she was raised, but the dress she wore was covered in candy hearts with less-than-friendly sayings, such as,”blow me,” “please drown,” and “I hate you.” Mom tried to blame Dad, but I’m willing to bet the child chose the dress with full knowledge of what she was doing.
Where’s this going? Iris is part of a new breed of model that comes equipped with plenty of knowledge about the industry and a hard-edged attitude that knows how to play it to their advantage. They’re in, they get what they want, and they’re out. Don’t be surprised when we see a lot more of Iris over the next year or so.
They’re naked. Nope, this is not the first time for any of those models, but it underscores a strong trend that we saw blossom in 2015 and may well grow even more into this new year. More and more, labels are willing to risk a bit of nudity to draw attention to their campaigns. In this case, Stuart Weitzman is using the technique to, hopefully, draw attention to a new sandal he calls, “Almost Nude.” The company says they were going for a “distinctively minimalist aesthetic.”
The company says they were going for a “distinctively minimalist aesthetic.” Nailed it. I suppose, strictly speaking, they could have gone even more minimalist with just a picture of the show, but then, would we even be talking about the campaign at all? Probably not.
Here’s why the campaign is important: Prudish attitudes that once dominated fashion advertising in the US and UK are gone, having been on their death bed for years and now completely buried. No one is going to lose any endorsements for being naked. In fact, if being nude creates a bit of a scandal, that might be an even better thing as it brings more eyeballs to a campaign. Now that Playboy is no longer an outlet for nudes, don’t be the least bit surprised when fashion not only picks up the slack but does a better job that Playboy has in the past 20 years.
Photographer/director Glen Luchford takes Peyton Knight & Polina Oganicheva into some dream where it’s the 1960s again and everyone’s apparently forgotten how to dance. The video is more interesting than the stills, though what one sees in magazines is not exactly boring. Luchford has done an excellent job of capturing that late 60s/early 70s sense of boredom and a time old people like me look back upon with some fondness.
Why this matters, though, is because it is the first campaign where we get to see Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele really starts to show the direction he plans on taking the fabled fashion house. The cruise collection is typically a strong indicator of what we’ll see on the runway in February and in stores in March (if not already). Michele is riding a trend we saw last September and may indicate that the designer is going to continue riffing off the house catalog for a moment. Is that a bad thing? Probably not, but it’s not quite as exciting as we’d hoped.
If you’re not on board the Blumarine train yet, now’s the time to grab a ticket. Anna Molinari has long been one of my favorite Italian designers and I especially loved this collection on the runway last September. What she’s done here is bring a young, up and coming German model, Lou Schoof, into the house and given her a quiet, understated sensuality with an elegant sense of desire.
This is important because it’s the strongest campaign we’ve seen Blumarine mount with a US focus. Shot in New York, there’s little mistaking the North American feel to the campaign with its warm tones and plenty of gently curved lines and a not-quite-level frame. The ten image set is all shot in the same corner of the apartment, moving a modern-designed sofa back and forth as needed, though I can’t imagine that made the downstairs neighbors all too happy. Schoof’s look is an every-day, obtainable elegance that plays well in social media; she’s not too anything, but enough that you’ll remember the look. This could be a breakout campaign for the label when it comes to grabbing a larger share of the US market.
When I first saw the images from this campaign I did a double take. The photos say Philipp Plein, but the look says Balmain. At least, that’s what I notice as a photographer. Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing has used this dark-toned blue-hued look in his campaigns since he became Balmain’s creative director in 2011. The high-process look has been more than a bit controversial and one that no other brand has tried for more than a season. Mario Sorrenti typically shoots the Balmain campaigns, and I’m more than a little surprised to see Steven Klein attempt to copy the look.
My primary question, for a campaign that honestly is more than a little creepy (check the video on their website), is this an attempt to steal a little of Balmain’s thunder? While the photographic looks are similar, the styles themselves are not. Plein, a former attorney, takes a much harder edge than does Rousteing. Rather than romantic, Plein’s campaign gives off a cold, fearful, metallic feel that ultimately attracts a much smaller audience. Plein has had difficulty breaking out of the Europen market and a bold step like this may get him a lot of attention. But will people actually like what they see?
I expect to see even more campaigns popping up next week. We’ll keep an eye out and let you know what’s worth our attention.