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Kristen McMenamy Not Smizing in Second Balenciaga Fall 2013 Ad Image

KRISTEN MCMENAMY BY STEVEN KLEIN FOR BALENCIAGA

KRISTEN MCMENAMY BY STEVEN KLEIN FOR BALENCIAGA / via Balenciaga FB

Here's the second image from Alexander Wang's polarizing Balenciaga debut campaign, photographed by Steven Klein and featuring a faceless Kristen McMenamy. The initial ad showed the model dressed in mono-black, peering through a crack in a doorway as chiaroscuro shadow playing on her tightly clenched white fist. Although the concept seemed like it could have been a gimmick, the photo was arresting and interesting.

The second ad presents a continuation of the story. Set against the same detailed black wall we saw a month ago, the model sits on a chair, a severe leather satchel propped on her knees, her hands behind her back. Is she tied up or offering herself?

The campaign's first image showed McMenamy's body trembling; her intention was legible and compelling, achieving that result without relying on a model's primary tool — her face. The second ad continues the concept, but the result is not as effective because the model appears as a straight mannequin. Anything the photograph expresses relies entirely on the set-up in the first image and the skewed symmetry of the composition — the uneven placement of the text, the decentered focal figure may not be noticeable at first, but those choices are crucial for the photo's eerie, unnerving mood. Not McMenamy's fault: you can tell she's working her knee ligaments. 

Previously: Kristen McMenamy Makes World’s Most Expressive Fist for Alexander Wang’s Debut Balenciaga Campaign

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