Today, WWD came out with its annual list of the 100 best-known consumer brands, and Victoria's Secret tops the list, followed by Hanes, Old Navy, and Levi's.
It's actually remarkable that two undergarment brands made it to the top spots on the list, considering underwear's propensity to hide underneath other clothing. Clearly there are other factors at play — for example, every year Victoria's Secret selects some of the most beautiful women in the world, and has them walk the runway in elaborate and revealing costumes while America's most popular pop stars perform alongside. This is all televised nationally. That probably doesn't hurt their brand visibility, I would guess. (WWD notes that Victoria's Secret also donated many of its forklifts* and generators to the National Guard for Hurricane Sandy relief, lest you think they're all cleavage and Swarovski crystals.)
Hanes seems like a more modest brand, all cotton white briefs and undershirts, but the over 100-year-old brand has an annual ad budget of $50 million dollars and works with people like Michael Jordan, who is one of the few basketball players even fashion people know about.
It looks like Marc Jacobs still hasn't gotten over that time earlier this year when graffiti artist Kidultspray-painted "ART" in giant hot pink letters across the designer's Soho boutique. Always a master of turning lemons into overpriced novelty t-shirts, at the time Jacobs responded to the incident by releasing a limited-edition pink tee printed with a photo of the graffiti-d store. It sold for the happy price of $689.
If the designer's run-in with Kidult did serve as a source of inspiration for the Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring 2013 campaign (which popped up in the tFS Forums a few hours ago), I would like to take this opportunity to caution all graffiti artists against vandalizing Jacobs' boutiques in the future. You can't win. Unless you want to see your subversive action beaten down into a rich white man's (when people talk about "the man" I'm pretty sure they're talking about Marc Jacobs) fantasy of cool, your witty/challenging social statements would be more effective elsewhere.
Juergen Teller lensed the ads for Marc by Marc Jacobs, and even though they're visually interesting, and very Marc (colors and chaos and grit are the New York designer's bread and butter), they're practically a parody of themselves.
Questions: Who wears brand new white pumps to an abandoned lot, unless they want to customize them with a DIY cat pee print? I can actually understand why the model on the right is hanging between the two walls instead of sitting on that so-called toilet, but who chooses the most disgusting bathroom of all time for their book-reading? Contrary to what the photographs above suggest, I don't think it's actually true that young graffiti artists are lunatics.
I think this is an ad only for people that have so much money they need to go throw some in that toilet.
I would be very hard pressed to tell you what Kate Bosworth’s last viable acting project was (other than singing a holiday song for Topshop), but she’s still very much a fashion world darling, as exhibited by her appearance on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Australia’s January issue. As they often do, forum members had mixed reactions to the cover shot, but I also have to point out that this cover bears more than a passing resemblance to Jessica Chastain’s current Vogue Germany cover. Is this the suggested styling and pose for January 2013 in some sort of secret international magazine cover manual that we don’t know about? That weirdness aside, I’ll share some forum member thoughts and reactions.
Blueorchid wrote, “Pretty, but she's like the American version of Sienna Miller to me: a completely irrelevant actress with marginal talent who won't go away.”
“This is beauty now?” HeatherAnne asked. “Photoshopped noses and blown up lips? Not interested. She looks ridiculous.”
Others, like Maximilian S, were not as critical. “I love it, captivating cover, Kate looks stunning,” he wrote.
I think Kate looks fine, though the Photoshop and the plumped up lips are indeed a bit of a distraction. I just can’t get past the weirdness (I know, I tried) of how similar this cover is to Vogue Germany’s. Just look at them side by side (below) and I dare you to tell me I’m crazy.
Bruce Weber photographed actress and fashion darling Jessica Chastain swathed in red Gucci for the cover of Vogue Germany’s January 2013 issue. To ring in the New Year, the issue features things that (most) people are currently obsessed with – like their cover girl, Downton Abbey cast members, and Kate Upton. Picky Fashion Spot forum members don’t always speak for “most people” though.
Melancholybaby wrote, “The sleeve looks like she's wearing an ugly hat, and honestly that's what it took to ruin the cover for me. Nice to see Bruce Weber shooting an issue of Vogue Germany again though,” he added.
SugarMe fell somewhere in the middle, saying, “I've never been impressed with or convinced of Jessica Chastain's status as a fashion icon. It always feels so forced. However, this is a nice cover… I was kind of dreading seeing Gucci SS13 on covers, but I like the way it's being used here.”
“I think this cover of Jessica is really eye-catching,” YoninahAliza posted. “I like the all red color palette, it works here. And I love seeing two of my favorite girls, Michelle Dockery and Jessica Chastain, in any edition of Vogue. They are so fantastic.”
Is Kate Upton a bona fide fashion phenomenon yet? I think yes. I’m kind of hooked, and so apparently is Vogue Germany, but what about the rest of you? Jessica Chastain may be on the cover, but Kate’s stealing the thunder.
Everything Marc Jacobs does seems to be semi-controversial in the Fashion Spot forums, so it’s no surprise that the ad campaign for Louis Vuitton’s graphic checkered Spring 2013 collection received mixed reviews from forum members. It is worth noting, however, that the positive seemed to outweigh the negative, and (most) forum members were willing to give credit where it was due.
Featuring a whopping eight(!) models (Athena Wilson, Nastya Kusakina, Janice Alida, Magdalena Jaesk, Ruby Jean Wilson, Tian Yi, Ji Hye Park, and Bria Condon) the campaign, which was photographed by Steven Meisel, echoes the motif that permeated the collection and runway presentation. Jacobs chose the young models and specifically paired them with their “twins” to heighten “the message of repetition and the repetition of patterns.” Something not unfamiliar in the world of Louis Vuitton (Damier check anyone?).
“I hated the collection, but this campaign is the perfect way to advertise it,” Mockingbird conceded. “I'm in love!”
Fashionlover2001 wrote, “Love the campaign; it's well executed. The yellow and white checkerboard set draws you in.”
Style Savvy was among those who didn’t care for the campaign. “The collection is the ugliest I've seen in years so didn't expect much from the campaign. This gives me a headache,” he commented.
Jelavender was in the same boat. “I honestly dislike this collection as well as the styling too much to even appreciate this advertisement,” she remarked. “Good photography is not enough to salvage the hideous clothes.”
I understand the impulse to critique, but I kind of love this campaign. Whether or not I want to wear the clothes, I love the repetition, I love the models and their doubles (who coincidentally kind of make you do a double take to ensure they are not in fact the same person), and I love the mod Sixties styling. I also love that the tone of the colors is so bright and punchy. Whether you love or hate this, you kind of can’t avoid looking at it.
If this sounds like the stuff of your holiday commercial nightmares, it's not. You're welcome to try and hate-watch, but I'll take a picture of myself in one of VS's stupid minature Santa hats if you aren't smiling by the end.