Featuring a troika of nearly indistinguishable models, all three ghostly pale and white-haired, posing in jewel-toned lamé against a solid black background, Lanvin's Spring 2014 campaign is a witty reversal on the French fashion label's Fall 2013 ads, which starred bright-eyed Brit Edie Campbell playing six different characters to great effect. Last season's ads were packed with personality; this season's are (almost) devoid of it.
The print campaign comes to life in the video component (below); the clip captures the models slipping into their poses, while a hushed, mysterious conversation plays in voiceover. Sample dialogue: "It is a glossy texture, rich and smoooooth. I think it is one of the most exceptional things I've ever tried."
Here is how the brand described the concept in an email we received this morning: "A discussion in a room that lacks time, place, context and meaning. Very black and white but in total colour. What are they talking about?" This is meant to be a baffling question, but I'm pretty sure I've figured it out: They are talking about chocolate truffles.
But who are they? That question turns out to be the more puzzling one, because details of casting were wholly left out of Lanvin's promotional materials (full creative credits, however, were listed). According to the forums, the womenswear models are Irene Hiemstra, Julia Nobis and Sasha Luss; the male models have not yet been identified.
The campaign was photographed by Steven Meisel, with creative direction by Ronnie Newhouse and Stephen Wolstenholme of House and Holme. The trio has been working with Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz since the beginning of time, and were behind the label's many advertising successes, including the Fall 2011 retro dancing video (which went viral) and the Fall 2012 campaign, which replaced fashion models with so-called real people.
[UPDATE: It has come to my attention that this video functions as a trigger for people with ASMR, a condition characterized by a tingling in the scalp and spine in response to specific, whispery sounds — like the voiceover in the Lanvin video.
ASMR (and the YouTube subculture surrounding it) saw a spike in media attention last year. Listen to a few seconds of this popular ASMR vlogger, and see if you don't notice an uncanny similarity to Lanvin's latest ad.]
All images courtesy Lanvin