I'd like to comment on a couple of ads I saw in another LJ fashion community.
A fashion ad has many jobs. It has to reflect the feel/themes of the collection it advertises, it has to make you curious about what the designer has NEW to offer so you visit their store, it has to appeal to the artistic market of the fashion industry, and it has to appeal to the consumerist-luxury market as well.
This is an ad for Diane Von Furstenberg's Spring/Summer collection for this year. The second is great- it reminds me of a Dali painting, somehow.
While everyone agrees that no one does color like Diane Von Furstenberg, you must admit, there's a lot going on here! You can hardly see the clothes.
I direct your attention to the lovely young lady in the background...Natalia Vodianova.
Not many models could have crawled their way out from under this busy arrangement and still managed to mesmerize you and sell you things at the same time.
This is an example of a high-fashion model doing her job very well. She is very aware of her body and how the angles of the human face work with the aesthetics of black and white photography. She is not hiding behind hair products or makeup. In fact, she does most of her work without makeup on.
No more are the days of Christy Turlinton, who was famously quoted saying "I won't get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day". The fashion industry has purged itself of most of these women, with a few lingering veterans such as Tyra Banks and Janice Dickenson.
Natalia represents the new super model: you don't know her name. You don't know how much she makes. You won't see her endorsing face wash or mascara on TV. She defines class, not party-girl behavior. You won't see her in Maxim or in swimsuit calendars; she seems to redefine "sexy". The new supermodel is "poetry in pictures". She is not beautiful by societies standards, but by her own. She is a muse, not the punch-line of a joke. She gives her money back to her native community, but she doesn't promote herself on talk-shows. She has children but no eating disorders. She's a role model for our daughters, not something we try and hide from them on the top shelf until they are old enough to handle it.
Here she is in Versace fall 2008 ads, with Isabeli Fontana (Natalia is on the Right). I don't necessarily have anything against Isabeli, but I definitely think she's pales in comparison to Natalia. They are also different kinds of models and I'd like to illustrate their differences in this ad.
In most of the other ads in this set, Isabeli is naked. Not in an artistic way, but in a "look-at-me-i'm-naked"
way. When Natalia is nude, it causes you to focus on the product. Isabeli usually stands behind Natalia and is not making eye contact with the camera. She seems to be there to attract the attention of a man walking by a billboard, who might then go buy what Natalia is wearing for his girlfriend. Isabeli is a man's woman and Natalia is a woman's woman, that's why they are in the ad together.
Isabeli represents the old and Natalia the new. I think these Versace ads are very symbolic of this phasing. Soon the women in ads will no longer be saying "men find me superior than you, buy what i wear to make yourself better". they will say "i am beautiful because i am female, so are you. wear what i wear because you love yourself". Notice that Isabeli and Natalia are wearing the same shoes, but when you Isabeli you think "stripper shoes" and when you see Natalia you think "innovation".
I'm writing about this because I'm tired of my dad rolling his eyes when I read Vogue, because all he knows of the world of women's clothing is COSMO, Target, and those skinny actresses on TV who wear too much makeup and inspire young girls to vomit their dinner into toilets across the globe. There is SO MUCH MORE to fashion! High fashion is a new artistic outlet that began at the turn of the century with designers like Paul Poiret
and photographers like Pierre-Louise Pierson
, and is still developing today. There might have been a bad time in the 80's and 90's, but fashion is recovering beautifully.
I wish people would be more open-minded and see the beauty they are missing. I'm not really talking about ad's of course, I'm talking about the work of Paolo Roversi, Steven Meisel, Mario Testino, Ellen Von Unwerth, and countless other modern photographers and the models, makeup artists, and stylists who collaborate and are making great contributions to the ever-shrinking-bank of artistic aura on the planet.