Image: Abercrombie & Fitch
Watching the decline of Abercrombie & Fitch is like watching the rich, popular kids in school slowly lose their clout. The retailer's been in a lot of trouble these days as the brand continues to flail. Abercrombie, once the preferred label of all the cool kids in high school, has fallen from glory. The retailer is scrambling now to reorganize and rebrand, so it might enjoy the prosperity it did back in the early aughts. Since 2010, it's shuttered about 220 stores in the U.S., with plans to close 60 to 70 more this year. While it seems to be doing just fine in Asia, the U.S. market is far too lucrative for the brand to let it go.
Abercrombie has already resolved to make clothes in larger sizes, is eliminating the low lighting and strong perfume spray in stores and is even planning to add black merchandise to its offerings. But perhaps the biggest change it's made is in the brand description, which has now been modified to seem a little less…snooty.
Before this latest update, Abercrombie's brand statement said the label was "rooted in East Coast traditions and Ivy League heritage," as the symbol of "privilege and casual luxury." Similar wording was used for abercrombie kids, which it is now calling a&f kids, describing the label as "the essence of privilege and prestigious East Coast prep schools." The verbiage has been modified to sound more inclusive, doing away almost completely with the elitist angle. Now, Abercrombie is "the essence of laidback sophistication with an element of simplicity," which "sets the standard for great taste." A&f kids is less about pedigree, now focused on "the essence of fun and friendship, a&f kids celebrates each moment by sharing its effortless great taste with the world." Hollister's wording remains mostly unchanged.
The Abercrombie company's long been due for a makeover, and now that the brand is trying to do away with the image that helped it gain popularity a decade ago, it looks like they're going to have to bring the very people they deemed rejects, in this case, plus-sizes and public school kids, into the fold.
Image: Nick Knight for Diesel
For Diesel's Pre-Fall 2014 campaign, designer Nicola Formichetti tapped his frequent collaborator, photographer Nick Knight, to create "a pop amalgam of the classical, the digital and the real." The duo pulled inspiration from the history of art — from painters like Titian and Tiepolo and photographers like Richard Avedon and Diane Arbus — to create the images below, which are suffused in ethereal light, like so many classical paintings. The digital influence is also evident in the splintered effects and the hyper-Photoshopped quality of the photos.
Image: Nick Knight for Diesel
Related: Nick Knight on Photoshopping in Magazines: ‘If You Want Reality, Look Out of the Window’
Two days ago, Australian model Robyn Lawley posted a fitspo selfie (above, right) to Instagram, showing her bare torso along with the caption: "The best kind of exercise? The one when you jump and dance around like there's no tomorrow to awesome music!!"
Lawley is one of today's top plus size models, with credits in Vogue Italia, Vogue Australia and a number of campaigns for brands like Ralph Lauren and H&M. The 24-year-old has also made headlines for her views on the thigh gap phenomenon ("dangerous") and the lack of body diversity in the fashion industry. Earlier this year, she gave an interview in which she expressed frustration with the "plus-size" size moniker: "People say, 'How is she a plus-size model?' and I'm like, 'Exactly, this is the point, how am I a plus-size model?'"
Lawley might be seething right now. On Instagram, commenters have lashed out at the model for posting the selfie above. A selection of the responses:
"Yeah, how are you plus size?? Uhhhh…..no!"
"Still don't get how they call this plus size?!"
"If this is called 'plus size' then i am gonna go jump off a building."
"This is NOT plus size!"
"Stop the world I want to get off if this is considered plus size."
"It's not that this is a plus size, but obviously she has lost weight since she first started modelling plus size swimwear. And you know what, that's up to her if she wants to become more trim and slim, good on her. But yes this is not plus size 'anymore', so she probably wont be modelling plus sizes anymore."
Although the shot does show a more conventionally-toned physique than what we typically see in Lawley's photos (the lingerie photo above was posted to her account in April), the difference might be a matter of angles and lighting. However, the fitspo-style caption does make it seem that Robyn was acknowledging and showing off the changes to her shape, which plenty of young women do every day, without facing the nearly same level of scrutiny. Lawley looks great, but the response she got from commenters illustrates her point about 'plus-size' being a pernicious term — it's just another way for people to police models whose bodies don't fit into the fashion mold.
Related: Who’s Really Driving the Thin Trend? Some Believe Consumers Want to See More Body Diversity
In a one-on-one interview with Diane Sawyer, Hillary Clinton joked that the media's fixation on her appearance almost led her to title her memoir, The Scrunchie Chronicles: 112 Countries and It's Still All about My Hair. [ELLE]
Image: Photo Pool/Anwar Hussein Collection/ WENN
In hair-related news: are you a redhead? Here are 10 things you know and the rest of us only dream of. [BellaSugar]
If you're going to Bonnaroo, here's a review of last season's best street style from the festival, to get your inspiration muscles flexing. [FabSugar]
Lululemon created a loungewear wedding tux for some guy. [Racked]
Algorthims now helping us find the perfect bra. [QZ]
The NYTimes says that this espresso + homemade almond-macadamia milk concoction coming out of L.A. is the best iced latte in America, and I have to say — it sounds pretty good. [NYTimes]
These drawings challenge diversity in the beauty industry. [BuzzFeed]
Sølve Sundsbø has replaced Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott, who photographed previous Giorgio Armani campaigns for several seasons, for the Italian fashion house's mainline advertisements. This time around, we see models Marikka Juhler and George Alsford fronting the Fall 2014 campaign. Photographed against a green backdrop with slicked back hair and effortless styling, Marikka is letting the clothes do the talking in the first image which surfaced earlier today, via WWD.
IMAGE CREDIT: WWD.COM VIA TFS FORUMS
The first image hopefully sets the mood of the entire campaign because our forum members cannot seem to get enough. "Stunning. Thank god Armani changed the photographer & can't wait to see more," enthused burbuja8910.
"Absolutely divine. It's the first time I find myself liking an Armani campaign. Can't wait to see the rest!" commented Thefrenchy.
HeatherAnne is also on board: "I can't even recollect any recent Armani campaigns, but this is indeed a striking and memorable portrait."
As is TREVOFASHIONISTO, who suggested Marikka's presence for Armani was a long time coming: "Marikka is a vision in print, definitely fits the Giorgio Armani aesthetic."
Await the full campaign and join the discussion within the thread here.
Burberry released its Fall 2014 campaign via Facebook earlier today. The British fashion house stuck with Mario Testino to photograph the campaign which includes Cara Delevingne, Suki Waterhouse, Malaika Firth, Callum Ball, Tarun Nijjer and Oli Green. The Brits are shot in a studio against a clean backdrop whilst moving and interacting towards Testino's lens for the final campaign images.
IMAGE CREDIT: FACEBOOK.COM/BURBERRY VIA TFS FORUMS
However, the campaign has fallen flat with our forums members. "I would be able to look through the usual abysmal lack of creativity if it was just Malaika and the guys, but of course they snuck those two annoying bobbleheads in. Burberry's campaigns are just the worst," commented Marc10.
"It should have just been Cara and Malaika. The others are just not working here. I'm so over their 'cool young things' approach. It's dry and extremely boring," shared GivenchyHomme.
HeatherAnne suggests Burberry campaigns are always the same and are in desperate need of a revamp: "Same ol' snoozefest."
Thefrenchy was in the same frame of mind and wrote, "Bloody boring! How ugly the clothes look too."
IMAGE CREDIT: FACEBOOK.COM/BURBERRY VIA TFS FORUMS
Check out the full campaign, watch a behind-the-scenes video and join the discussion here.