To some, the outlandish tactics used to garner attention within the fashion industry may seem like ridiculous attempts to either shock or put out confusing jumbles and present them as art. And though that may be true to a certain extent, there is one area where designers, film makers, photographers, and artists all agree: that bigger and bolder is always better. Fashion ad campaigns are one of the most important things that brands put out throughout the year, second only to the products made by the brand itself. They showcase the created message that may not have reached its audience during the initial runway show. Here, the entire creative team can create a fantasy world based on the collection, fragrance, cosmetic, or accessory that the ad is based on, taking whatever unanswered questions the collection left behind and filling in the blank spots on the canvas.
Christian Dior Fall 2017-18
Although some may say that Maria Grazia Chiuri’s work at the iconic house of Dior is lacklustre, it’s undeniable that this ad campaign injects brute strength that may have been missing during the show. With Dior favourites like Ruth Bell and Fernanda Ly, the original idea of outfitting a strong and unapologetic woman in Dior is completely evident in this campaign. The pulsing, industrial music and stark black and white create an air of strength that follows each model as they twirl, stomp, and pose in their black leather berets.
Valentino Menswear Fall 2017-18
Menswear sometimes gets a bad rep of being the less inspired and completely out of touch brother to high fashion womenswear. However, many brands are starting to take notice on how important the men’s fashion has become. Valentino is definitely one of those brands. In recent years, Valentino has made amazing strides in taking their brand from luxury tailoring to here and now men’s fashion. Valentino is no longer your rich grandfather’s go-to suit, and their campaign for fall proves just that. Placing their models in a modernized version of punk London, the ad pushes the idea that Valentino is a brand that’s as fresh and as new as the millennials it wants to attract.
Gucci Fall 2017-18
Gucci‘s creative head, Alessandro Michelle, is no stranger to transforming a brand into a contemporary go-to. Not long after joining the brand, Michelle was able to turn the ever increasingly forgettable brand into the most talked about and coveted Italian name in the fashion industry today. For their Fall campaign, Gucci not only channelled the same cacophonic parade of colour and texture that’s brought it back to life, but also channelled something that’s become a staple in millennial style; nostalgia for times far before their childhood. The ad features the all too familiar setting of a psychedelic ’70s like space adventure that mirrors the bright rainbow of colour, texture, and inspiration that Gucci is all about.
Oscar De La Renta Fall 2018-17
Since taking the helm at Oscar De La Renta almost a year ago, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia have thrust the brand into an interesting place. Hovering delicately between modern edge and old world glamour, the brand that has dressed the likes of Laura Bush and Sarah Jessica Parker is eagerly awaiting to see whether the fashion world buys into its new image. One key element in helping its audience understand the new De La Renta image is fashion icon Mariacarla Boscono who was the face of Renta’s fall campaign. Her strikingly alien face and sharp gaze helped sew together the contemporary edge that Kim and Garcia wish to bring to the brand with the grace and glamour that Oscar established years ago.
Miu Miu Fall 2017-18
Miuccia Prada is a fashion genius. No one is able to reinvent two brands simultaneously every season and keep the look and the ideas of the brands fresh and exciting the way she does. So it comes as no surprise that her brilliant collection for Miu Miu now comes with a brilliant ad campaign. Borrowing heavily from the collections fuzzy bubblegum-60s mod fusion, the ad takes its viewer through a pastel coloured journey that takes place in an old movie theatre where models (including Kate Moss!) all sit and watch a grainy Lousiana Bayou short film featuring the models themselves. And if seeing Kate Moss decked out it groovy Miu Miu is not enough, then seeing Adwoah Aboah and other stunning models of colour dominate the ad should be more than enough incentive to fall in love with this light hearted ad!
Ad campaigns have long been a brand’s first line of offence when it comes to exposure. Unlike social media advertising and TV spots, print campaigns aim at catching the attention of specific groups of people, usually fashion lovers or potential clientele. This strategy is called the rifle strategy. Rather than using a shotgun strategy to shoot out your content for everyone to see, like social media media advertising does. Rifle strategies aim at eliminating wasted resources by targeting people who are more likely to buy what they see in the magazines they’ve bought or skimmed through.
But enough about the technical about the technical side fashion ads. Let’s get to the part we all love; the fashion! Now brands, their designers, and their holding companies don’t spend a ridiculous amount of money, time, and effort to just for fun. There’s an artistic vision behind every photo that’s taken. It isn’t just about slapping something pretty on a pretty model. It’s about telling a story, painting a complete picture of the collection that will make you want it so much, you’ll buy it! With that said, not all campaigns end up being works of advertising art. Sure they make get the job done, but in the end, they just end up being ads. However, there are some ads that do much more than just sell a brand’s product. They transcend traditional print ads and become works of art on their own. Here’s a list of some of 2016’s greatest print campaigns.
Missoni Fall/ Winter 2016
Have you ever wondered what a modern day water sprite would look like? Missoni must have wondered the same thing too. In their fall 2016 campaign, model Frederikke Sofie stars as a delicate, yet completely intimidating free spirit that seems to just rise out of the water like pure magic. Sofie’s curly hair blowing in the wind, mixed with the easiness of Missoni’s iconic knits, only helped add a sense of ethereal beauty to the campaign.
Salvatore Ferragamo Fall/ Winter 2016
Who knew a static portrait could be so alluring? Model Ming Xi is accompanied by Ine Neefs and Valery Kaufman in this photo by photographer Craig McDean. The photo depicts all three women posed towards the camera in a stately photograph. What’s special about the photo is it’s simplicity. It manages to ease the uptight-rich-European woman vibe that Ferragamo is known, with an airy lightness that creates a sense of timeless elegance. Like a dominant, yet caring matriarch watching over her high fashion family.
Louis Vuitton Les Parfums
Luxury leather goods giant Louis Vuitton is probably the most recognisable brand when one thinks of luxury travel wares. So it came as no surprise that Louis Vuitton wanted to showcase its perfume as being “beyond perfume.” The Vuitton team chose to create a personal paradise for its fans. The campaign, shot by photography legend Patrick Demarchalier and starring top actress Lea Seydoux, encompasses everything that Louis Vuitton is about. Travel, the destination, and the invocation of luxury that goes beyond what traditional fashion brands can do. The tropical setting, with its dark – cascading stone waterfalls set against Lea’s ethereal perfection, create a fairy tale of a princess set free in the untamed wild.
Jacquemus Fall/ Winter 2016
Simon Porte Jacquemus has been an innovator. Since it’s debut, Jacquemus has been able to push the boundaries of what’s expected in the fashion industry. His designs are exactly the type of high fashion avant garde clothing young women want and they’re also surprisingly affordable compared to his competitors designs. And it’s in this surprisingly fresh take on design where everything else falls into place perfectly. For its fall campaign. Jacquemus sought the help of artist Willi Dorner to create a quirky and striking ad campaign that completely encompasses what Jacquemus as a brand is. The setting is simple, a park bench located somewhere is Paris or a in a small French town maybe. The backdrop looks very pedestrian, until you see what’s on the bench. Just like Jacquemus itself, the seemingly normal is made abnormal. A jumble of models wearing Simon’s designs are seen huddled together to create a human ball. And that’s the fun of it. That’s what Jacquemus stands for. Understanding the love people have for things that are beautiful, yet slightly off.
Gucci (All of them)
It seems that Alessandro Michele’s influence at Gucci extends far beyond the clothing and accessories. This year, fashion lovers were treated to a surprise at Gucci. The iconic brand, once known for its mature and distinctly Italian flare, underwent a total overhaul. Designers were changed and brand images were reworked, resulting in a fresh and whimsical take on the brand that’s won over the hearts of young luxury enthusiasts around the world. But it didn’t stop there, if Gucci had to change order image, it had to change everything about its image. In turn, the fashion world was treated to a year long ad campaign that fused 70s style camera work with the sugary perfection of a Sofia Coppola movie. Models posed alongside slot machines and Japanese geishas with the words “relentless buzzing sound” and “whispers lost in wind” as subtitles, while other models danced among a sea of bubbles (“pop”) and a pair of Gucci pumps on a motorcycle (“sirens in distance”). Which created the perfect atmosphere for Alessandro Michele’s Gucci. Like a daydream that may have been reality. Gucci encompasses the dreams of the here and now.
Although not a print ad, there really wasn’t any other option than adding this gem of a campaign from H&M. What do a lot of people do during the holiday season? They travel of course. And H&M and director Wes Anderson want you know that they get that. They understand the dread of driving hours on end to see your parents or having to hop on a train to visit loved ones. So why not make the dreaded holiday commute a fashion wonderland. Like a quirky polar express, fans of the Swedish fashion giant are treated to candy coloured locomotive paradise. The walls look like candied chocolate; the outfits, like sparkly little cake toppers. The beauty of this campaign is it not only feed into shoppers need for holiday outfits, but it also subconsciously feeds into our need to want the cutest and sparkliest things we can buy for the holidays, and all for H&M’s famous affordable prices.
Prada Candy Kiss
Leave it to Prada to pick one of the most in demand models of the moment to be the face of one of their best selling fragrances. Lexi Boling stars in this year’s Prada Candy Kiss campaign, which started off as an adorable take on femininity in its first run of ad and quickly blossomed into and ad made perfectly for a modern vixen. She’s sweet, yet intimidating, alluring, yet distant. She’s the woman you want, but will never have. The campaign, which was shot by famed photographer Steven Meisel, conjures up a quote from one of the greatest female poets ever, Sylvia Plath. “If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression of something beautiful, but annihilating.” Which who the Prada Candy Kiss woman is, beautiful, but annihilating.
Louis Vuitton / Square Enix
Louis Vuitton appears a second time on the list with their Square Enix collaboration for Louis Vuitton’s SERIES of ads. Which aim at involving multiple artists to show their personal take on the brand in Louis Vuitton’s marketing strategy. For the Louis Vuitton SERIES 4 ad campaign. Tetsuya Nomura of Square Enix used Final Fantasy 13’s protagonist Lightning as his model. The ad campaign aimed at embracing the growing relationship between fashion and technology, while also helping further showcase the new face of Louis Vuitton. Rather using a traditional print ad, Nicolas Ghesquiere incorporates his love of technology into the global market by presenting his designs as digital renderings. Showing the global where luxury fashion may be heading.
Raf Simons Spring/ Summer 2016
Sometimes fashion isn’t always fun and games. Sometimes bright colours and energetic photoshoots can’t encompass the story that’s being told. That must have been what Willy Vandeperre and Raf Simons had in had in mind when creating the brands spring ad campaign. The overly bleak atmosphere of the ad felt melancholic. But as many artists know, some of the most beautiful moments in art aren’t happy ones. The ads, which feature an emotionless Luca Lemaire staring off into the distance, accompanied by three different dark and brooding backdrops that seem surreal, yet eerily present throughout the campaign. There’s also a sense of freedom (or escape) within the photos themselves. The barefoot model seems animalistic, like a man who’s run from everything that the world forced him to be, but he’s far from that now. He’s one with nature and no one can take him back now.