Thursday, July 1, 2010

Color me shocked...

If I said that I've hated the ad campaigns Mario Testino has shot for Versace since 2005 it wouldn't be entirely true. Hatred is a feeling, and unless you want to count apathy I haven't felt a thing about any of them. My first experiences with Testino's work were his Gucci campaigns, and whether or not you liked those they were neither bland or predictable. When he took over from Meisel as Donatella's lensman of choice, I suddenly realized that I probably liked Testino only when Tom Ford and Carine Roitfeld were calling the shots. His American Vogue covers and editorials, ranging from pretty but banal to just plain banal, did nothing to convince me that I was judging too harshly. Now I don't want to make it sound like I always loved Meisel's work for Versace, because that's not the case. But even at their least interesting I can't remember any of his campaigns being mind-numbingly bland. Hell, even if they were the fact that I don't remember them that way should mean something, right?

But for some reason Testino's campaigns have always had this aura of lifelessness about them, and while that would be undesirable for most labels, it's downright sacrilegious for a label like Versace. Suck all the fun, sexiness and glamour out of Versace and there really isn't much left, is there? Needless to say Versace isn't one of the campaigns I look forward to seeing anymore. But still, curiosity got the better of me and I took a look at the campaign on the Fashion Spot and my jaw promptly hit the keyboard. It looks absolutely nothing like the work Testino has done for the house in the past five years.

I may just love it, though it's still too soon to tell. By Testino standards this campaign is almost edgy, and edge is something that Versace has been struggling to regain lately. There's something slightly gritty about the photos that compliments the mens and womens collections perfectly, and even though I wouldn't normally consider Versace gritty, the photographs are doing a pretty good job of making me reconsider. Quite frankly I wouldn't have thought Testino would be the photographer to make me reconsider that. Even at his best his work isn't exactly known for it's grit. This not only feels fresh for Versace, but very much of the moment. Lord knows I've bitched and moaned more than once when a designer or photographer falls into predictability, so to say that I'm thrilled about Testino doing something completely out of the box is kind of an understatement. And Kudos to Donatella and her team for knowing when to shake things up. I'm not at all surprised by the mixed response the campaign is getting so far; people don't like change, and neither Kate Moss or Gisele are in this campaign. But in fashion change isn't just inevitable, it's essential. So if this is a hint of the direction Donatella is going with the brand, I say bring it on.

all images from via tarsha at theFashionSpot

1 comment:

LOla said...

I don't like the women collection but the men collection was good!
I think that the campaign it's quite good even if i found this a little bit Burberry-ish...
It's very different from Versace Standards and very attractive but i'm lost with Versace this days!

Testino was at his best from 1995 to, the TF days...(in ads)