Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Doll parts...

Even though I didn't end up reviewing the S/S 2010 collection during the shows this fall, don't for one second think that I was just ignoring it. The truth is I really liked it. It wasn't a blockbuster up to par with the extremely high standards that Miuccia Prada has set for herself over the years, but there was something about it that appealed to me. Now the ads are popping up slowly and surely, and from the first shot that I saw it had my attention. A trend that seems to be permeating the new spring ad campaigns is that a lot of them are focusing mainly, or almost entirely, on the clothes and accessories. There aren't interesting stories, amazing locations and dizzying special effects on display, which forces the viewers (that would be us) to focus on the other things that make up a photograph. Those elements of a photograph that we can often take for granted or just not notice are coming through loud and clear now that some designers and photogs are stripping back to the bare essentials; model, clothes, hair, makeup and light.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with the new Prada campaign. In the model's articulated poses and blank expression throughout the shots that have surfaced so far, the fledgling model looks more like a mannequin than a human. Besides the creepy plastic quality the most striking thing in some of the shots is the way that the image is cropped. The top half of the girl's head is missing, only showing everything from the lips down, and her legs are cut off right at the hips. The only color in the shots is the model's glossy vermilion pout. Feminists would probably have a field day arguing the subliminal chauvinist messages that an image portraying a young girl with no face contains. Let's not even delve into the fact that the faceless girl on display is in pigtails. Lucky for us fashion isn't a staunchly feminist universe, because chauvinism aside the images are pretty damn gorgeous. The last shot, in the floral dress, isn't as exciting to me for the simple fact that you can see more of the model's features. So take that feminazis! Sometimes a full face just doesn't make for a standout photograph. But truth be told I also don't love the poses in those two shots either. Overall it just isn't as interesting an image.

I absolutely love how minimal this campaign is. As with minimalist clothing, a minimalist photograph isn't just something that's plain. Meisel proves that point exceptionally well with this campaign, managing to fill the space with enough detail to keep the eye interested. In fact, the photos are good enough that you can almost ignore the fact that they are simply and blatantly pushing the product, and nothing more. They're not saying anything about fashion, about femininity, about beauty, about life...they're just saying "buy me", and that kind of honesty is rare these days.

images from Northern Star and honeycombchild at The Fashion Spot, and Love Magazine Blog

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