Thursday, July 30, 2009

The not-so-glamorous life...

So even though I completely railed on the Gucci F/W collection (and I stand by that review) I admit that I was looking forward to seeing the ad campaign for it, which mainly had to do with the casting. The female models include Raquel Zimmermann, Anja Rubik, Abbey Lee, perennial Gucci droid Natasha Poly, Myf Shepherd (couldn't pick her out of a lineup if my life depended on it), Ernest Hemingway great-granddaughter Dree Hemingway, Freja Beha, vintage Gucci Girl Jacquetta Wheeler, and unexpected curve-ball Jamie Bochert. Now, in my opinion Frida Giannini's taste in models skews pretty bland for the most part, not to mention almost exclusively white (no change there, unfortunately), so I was thrilled to hear that this collection would break the cookie cutter Gucci mold of late with seasoned Gucci veteran Jacquetta and quirky underground fave Jamie. And I'll admit that even though the clothes shown on the runway were beyond tacky, they at least make for lots of visual interest, as well as having a built-in nightclubby vibe to them. So needless to say I was expecting something really fun, really glam, and maybe even a little sexy or edgy...not unlike the F/W 06 campaign shot by Craig McDean. My expectations were high, higher than they've ever been for something that Giannini's had a hand in doing, and I was eagerly awaiting the finished result. The result, however, was so anticlimactic that I now find myself wondering why I was ever interested in seeing this campaign to begin with. Like I said in my post about the Givenchy campaign, I'm not an Inez & Vinoodh fan. Their appeal usually eludes me. I don't really get a distinct point of view from them, and more often than not I find the results of their work completely unimpressive. In fact the only times I can think of where I've liked their work was their Balenciaga campaigns from the early 00s, and the one Gucci campaign they did with Tom Ford back in 2001. Other than that, nothing, and this campaign has done nothing to change that. What all of the glitter, glitz, camp and trashiness of the runway amounted to was a white backdrop with black platforms and an overcrowded group of models striking random "unposed" poses while never interacting with each other. That's one thing I can't stand, intentionally random stuff that looks like it was meticulously planned. I'm fine with meticulously planned perfection, and I'm fine with meticulously planned randomness that looks effortless, but I HATE meticulously planned randomness that looks rehearsed, and this does. Plus, could the concept be more boring? If you're going to latch on to a cliche, and at this point that's exactly what the whole 80s nightclub thing is, then ride it 'til the very end. In all honesty, with less models this would make a decent enough editorial concentrating on graphic clothes or something like that, but as an ad campaign? How does this really differ from the mind-numbingly boring studio shoots that Anna Wintour is repeatedly lambasted for doing at Vogue? This is just as boring as far as I'm concerned.

After seeing three of the final shots already, I have a pretty good feeling that this won't get much better than it is now, though I'd be thrilled if I turn out to be wrong about that. Oh I'm sure that there will be at least one good shot among the lot of them, but I doubt if it'll be anything worth remembering. In a strange way I can't even fully blame Frida for this campaign. Yes, she had final say in everything, but that F/W 06 McDean campaign was worlds better than this, and I believe she had final say in that as well. I don't even think I'd care as much if it wasn't for the fact that Frida, I&V and both of their creative teams responsible for creating this campaign from start to finish had all of the right ingredients at their disposal; a decent mix of models, visually impactful clothes and accessories, and a fun theme to work with as well. What made them decide to go for the most basic possible result will probably remain a mystery, and one that I'm not even all that interested in figuring out. Consider the lesson learned; never, EVER get your hopes up where Gucci is involved. It's pointless.

images from and NothernStar @ tFS

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