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New Marc Jacobs Ad Campaign Celebrates the Strength of the LGBTQ Community in the Wake of the Orlando Shooting

Marc Jacobs is the king of the politically charged fashion statement. Over the past year, he’s come out in strident support of Planned Parenthood, dedicated his Spring ad campaign to the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage and featured plus-size rock star Beth Ditto on his Spring 2016 runway. The designer’s Spring 2016 promo was also the season’s most diverse. Jacobs accompanied the spread with eloquent anecdotes discussing exactly why he’d chosen each of his subjects, making their personalities come alive on the page.

Now, in the midst of Pride Month and the wake of the horrific Orlando shooting, Marc Jacobs has once again shone the spotlight on those who challenge the status quo, both in their actions and simply by existing. Part of the trauma of the shooting, aside from it being the most fatal in American history, was that it occurred in the age of social media. We have unprecedented insight into all 49 victims’ lives and even their last moments thanks to sources like Instagram and Snapchat. Regardless of our sexual identification, we can identify.

In his Fall 2016 campaign, Jacobs hammers home this notion of universal love and acceptance. Actress Sissy Spacek appears in one image and we, alongside Marc, are reminded of the ultimate, albeit fictional, symbol of the devastation caused by prejudice and isolation, Carrie White. Even more topical are the shots of Carlos Santolalla and John Tuite, the first gay couple to be recruited by a modeling agency, and that of pandrogynous artist Genesis P-Orridge. Carlos and John appear in pieces from Jacobs’ most recent women’s collection. The image was shot and styled with Lou Reed, Robert Mapplethorpe and French writer and activist Jean Genet’s Querelle de Brest in mind. The work of these late, great members of the LGBTQ community is characterized by the same strain of defiance as is present in the ads — and in the minds of Santolalla, Tuite and Jacobs.

The poignancy and power of the campaign, released a day after the massacre, is not in the least bit lost on Santolalla, who had this to say to Dazed Magazine:

“I am a queer latino man living in America named Carlos Santolalla. I’ve also been granted some great fortune that’s allowed me to live my life as an artist and model in NYC. Five years ago I met a man at a casting who I fell in love with, and just yesterday, our second campaign together for none other than Marc Jacobs was released. When we first started dating everything was fresh, new and exciting. We set hopes and goals for ourselves and our relationship. We fell deeply in love. We moved in together. We did everything as one. So naturally, in the world we live in, we started a singular Instagram page instead of getting our own separate ones. Every post on our page was an act of defiance – every kiss was a ‘Fuck You’ to homophobes. Every showcase of affection was meant to inspire younger versions of ourselves who never really had anyone to look up to. And it worked. Being in and around the fashion world, the Instagram quickly caught on and, just as swift, written about in many of our favourite magazines and forms of media. We were getting attention because of our genuine love for each other. And this is what I want to talk about: love.

…In lieu of the attack in Orlando, I want to dedicate the campaign to whoever is looking for love, one way or another, during such trying times. Love is love is love, and if we start to actually digest that, I believe that all the anxiety and fear we live in can eventually dissipate and help us create a more united and strong community than ever before. Don’t let fear of love isolate us, because that space is exactly where oppression lies. Kiss and hug. Keep dancing at your local gay bars; if love is present then fear can’t get to you. The more we practice it, I am sure the better we feel as a whole.”

 

In a continuing series of portraits for our Fall 2016 ad campaign, the individuals in these photographs represent a collective embodiment of love, honesty, integrity, courage, strength, curiosity and inspiration. Together, as one story, this collection is a reminder to question and challenge normal and to continue exploring and pushing boundaries. To quote Lana Wachowski, “I am suspicious of everything connected to that word [normal]. It is, to my thinking, a politically correct euphemism for obedience and conformity.” GENESIS P-ORRIDGE, Unconditional Love Through music, poetry and art, Genesis continues to explore, shape shift and define what it means to give love, be loved and live love. For me, Genesis is a sort of come-to-life definition of realness and authenticity and how being lost in an experience or new idea can result in growth and evolution. @pandrogyne Photographed by David Sims and styled by Katie Grand.

A photo posted by Marc Jacobs (@themarcjacobs) on

In addition to celebrating Santolalla and Tuite, who recently ended their relationship — don’t worry, they’re far more at peace with it than we are — the campaign also highlights the achievements of Genesis P-Orridge, who “through music, poetry and art…continues to explore, shape shift and define what it means to give love, be loved and live love,” Jacobs writes.

“The individuals in these photographs represent a collective embodiment of love, honesty, integrity, courage, strength, curiosity and inspiration,” he explains in the caption of Genesis’ photo. “Together, as one story, this collection is a reminder to question and challenge normal and to continue exploring and pushing boundaries.”

Jacobs not only uses fashion as a platform to spotlight diverse communities, but to highlight their internal complexities and, above all, their strength. We tip our hats as we anxiously wait to see what the designer has in store for his upcoming runway collection and hope no further tragedies add unforeseen layers to his meaning in the interim.

[ via Mic ]