Friday, December 18, 2009

Celebrities as models

The industry's obsession with celebrities continues to grow, with big name designers opting for stars to front their latest advertising campaigns rather than models. The actress-over-model preference isn't a new phenomenon; Anna Wintour was one of the first to harness the selling power of those dubbed 'celebrities,' by featuring actresses on the cover of Vogue after taking over the magazine in the mid-80s. The original idea behind this shift was to allow readers to identify with these faces in a way they couldn't do with mere models, something not unlike what is happening now in the new wave of editorials. Otherwise known as 'celebrity endorsements' a company will select a high-profile actor, singer or elite sportsperson to become the face of their brand, which works to generate publicity and in turn, sales. Unlike these endorsements, where the celebrity is acting as themselves and lending their names for publicity, these editorials feature celebrities AS models.

Last year Madonna featured in two campaigns for Louis Vuitton (hand-picked by designer and good friend Marc Jacobs), and this time she's back in front of the camera, but for Dolce & Gabbana.

Madonna for Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2009

Madonna for Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2009

She's back: Madonna eating spaghetti for the latest Dolce & Gabbana campaign

For the record, LV have chosen Dutch supermodel Lara Stone to replace Madge as the face of their Spring/Summer 2010 campaign. Good choice, I say.

Over at Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld's current muse, Lily Allen, features in the latest ad for the brand's newest line of handbags: the Chanel Coco Cocoon.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund

2009 winner of CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, Sophie Théallet, with Lanvin's Alber Elbaz

Anna Wintour and CFDA's Steven Kolb

Nicole Kidman in Lanvin with Alber Elbaz

Previous finalist Jason Wu, with Alexa Chung, wearing one of his designs

Supermodel Chanel Iman in Thakoon, with the designer, former finalist Thakoon Panichgul

Queen of Spades, I mean Vogue, Anna Wintour’s mentorship and assistance coupling with the Council of Fashion Designers of America, aptly named the CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund, held their annual Awards Dinner a few weeks ago, announcing this year’s winner. The aim of the fund, according to their website, is to “provide financial awards and business mentoring to emerging fashion designers.” It’s not the only fashion initiative supported by Wintour, who also hosted the inaugural Fashion’s Night Out in New York in September. This was the sixth time round for the Fund however, with Wintour acknowledging the importance of the City of New York to fashion: “New York is the place to come for young designers to show what they’re capable of.”

Our very own Nicole Kidman introduced the keynote speaker, “the visionary, incomparable Alber Elbaz” wearing Lanvin, of course. Up-and-coming French designer (who will be more up than coming after this nod) Sophie Théallet was this year’s winner, and was awarded US$200,000 to assist her in establishing her designs in New York. Théallet favours dresses; her aesthetic is simple, and with an amazing eye for detail, the French native designs clothes women want to wear (no wonder she is a Lanvin fan). “I try to make beautiful and functional clothes that a woman can work and travel in.” Previous winners of the fund have all gone on to become huge success stories: Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez with their label Proenza Schouler, Doo-Ri Chung and her doo.ri and my favourite, the (almost child) prodigy that is Alexander Wang.

Showing us why she is reigning monarch of fashion, Queen Anna proves why anything and anyone with her kiss of approval is going to make it, and make it big. In the aptly named documentary of the making of the September 2007 issue of Vogue (the biggest in the magazine’s history,) we saw a glimpse of designer Thakoon Panichgul, who was named a finalist in 2006. Thakoon’s status skyrocketed last year when Michelle Obama wore one of his trademark printed dresses as her husband accepted his presidential nomination. Fellow finalist, Jason Wu, is also a favourite (as is Théallet) of the First Lady- Wu was responsible for that white Inauguration gown. Other now well-known finalists include the Mulleavy sisters, responsible for the amazing Rodarte, Phillip Lim, red carpet favourites Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig (Marchesa), and David Neville and Marcus Wainwright with their label Rag & Bone. Watch this space for things to come from Théallet - if she’s anything like her predecessors, her name won’t be anonymous for much longer.

photos: & Vogue