Changing Faces of Advertising

Changing Faces of Advertising

The youthful Thompson clan, a languishing Lara, an emoting Natasha and a Madonna embracing her Italian roots

By Stephanie Rivers

Published: Fri 15 Jan 2010, 11:42 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:07 AM

One of the greatest things about the last few seasons of advertising is that age really doesn’t matter. Of course, that does not mean that we expect to see Iman, Christy or Nadia Aujerman strutting the runway again any time soon but it does reflect the current undercurrent in society.

Madonna, Emma, Lara, Natasha and Natalia are the current advertising darlings of the moment — even if it is not quite the supermodel power name call of the 1990s or the early 2000s. What is most interesting is that, of late, we are seeing more of the often-times controversial Ms Ciccone (that is Madonna to those not in the know) heading advertising campaigns than we did when she was in her 30s and 40s. She has done Versace, then it was the lollipop holding, feather dress and tasseled heel poses in rustic cafes and laissez faire bunny ear repose for Vuitton, and now she reigns supreme as a domesticated diva in the current Spring 2010 campaign for Dolce & Gabbana.

If anyone has followed Ms M’s career and read her many past interviews, one knows that she has always had a domestic/practical side. During her marriage to actor Sean Penn, she was often quoted as doing every-day menial tasks such as washing dishes, an apropos point exemplified in the new Dolce campaign. There are three black and white shots evoking a neo-classical Italian cinema feeling with clothing that embodies the Sicilian roots of the designers. The Steven Klein shot campaign features Madonna in a black lace dress with bell sleeves and plunging neckline looking over her right shoulder whilst washing dishes; another where she is sitting on a rustic wood table, legs crossed eating pasta with her hands; and, of course, a bee stung lip, Sophia Loren-worthy cleavage-baring seated Madonna peeling what appears to be a clementine.

Christopher Bailey of Burberry went with Emma Watson again this season adding her brother Alex Watson to the youthful imbued line-up, also accompanied by model/musician George Craig. The Mario Testino shot campaign is fresh, youthful, spirited. A message easily conveyed in both the star leading the campaign and the take on the clothing.

The new campaign, much like the previous season, appeals to a wider audience and a younger one. Ms Watson is able to convey a pubescent innocence as she looks out into the camera but also a hint of sexiness or perhaps confidence that belies her 19 years and coming into her own. The styling of the clothing, as well as the fresh designs make for a heady mixture of uber cool and chic. From the new classic check pattern flats; the windbreaker feel to the short, drawstring trench paired with jeans; to the ruched and zipper trench with classic finishes.

Gucci embodies sex appeal and the current Spring 2010 Cruise campaign follows the house’s history with the beautiful, angular Natasha Poly and two others, photographed in various pool settings a la Slim Aarons’ Babe Paley, CZ Guest era. The beauties languish about in various states of repose in blazers and handbags, heads arching back towards the sun with slick-back hair and the perfect pout; exiting the pool in spaghetti strap, deep V-neck floor length dress accompanied by the requisite socialite tan and oversized sunglasses, along with handsome muscular pool boys one might find in St Tropez or Capri.

Everyone’s current favourite, Lara Stone, replaces Ms Madonna for Louis Vuitton this season. Artfully posed in a hidden glen surrounded by doves and flora, with Bardot hair and a young Bardot suggestive stare that is at once sexy and defiant. The outdoor surroundings and feel: woods, glen, moss, flora and fauna, reminded me a tad of Burberry.

It is singular in its focus as are Marc Jacobs’ ad campaigns with one beauty and the products being the star. Lara lends a youthful, edgy beauty to the brand where Ms Madonna almost overshadowed it with her larger-than-life reputation and persona. Here, one sees the native-inflected boots, the handbag and the bustier and high-waisted skirt first and the model second. With the Madonna ads, you saw her, then you noticed the surroundings and the products. However, there is no denying the impact that having Ms M can bring.

Of course, there were many other advertising changes, which is the usual fare for the change of fashion seasons: Givenchy chose bankable model stars this season, a dark-haired Natalia Vodianova and MariaCarla Boscono; Versace went with on-the-meteoric-rise Georgia May Jagger, offspring of Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger; Lanvin spring/summer print campaign took a dynamic, albeit seemingly back breaking direction. with a dose of action. The new campaign features Jaime Bochert with Bochert contorting her body into all sorts of awkward positions. Alber Elbaz has been quoted in the news rounds as stating that Ms Bochert moved so fast, even the chandeliers moved.

All in all, the campaigns did what they are contrived to do: convey a luxury lifestyle that many aspire to, highlighting elements of that lifestyle — clothing, accessories and so on that one can buy into to be part of that visually compelling dream sequence.

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