Above is an ad for The Standard, a line of fashionable boutique hotels, which ran in the summer issue of Du Jour, a newish publication for the uber-wealthy. It has the unique distinction of being the single most disturbing and controversial image in an exceptionally disturbing and controversial ad campaign.
For the past year, The Standard has been pursuing “selective audiences" in publications such as Fantastic Man, Apartamento, Interview and CR Fashion Book with a campaign displaying photographs from Austrian artist Erwin Wurm's series, "One-Minute Sculptures" and "How to Be Politically Incorrect." Prior to the emergence of the photo above, the most notorious ad showed a woman urinating on the rug. Another showed a woman dining in a restaurant, a man's head buried down the front of her blouse.
Commenting on the campaign to The New York Times last September, Claire Darrow Mosier, creative director at André Balazs Properties (the luxury group also owns The Mercer and the Chateau Marmont) explained that the ads were meant to integrate seamlessly with the arty content they'd be running alongside: “We want to contribute to the magazines. We don’t just want to advertise.”
Although you can see how Wurm's work, which is concerned with the boundaries between public and private space, might be relevant to a high-end hotel brand, the images were not originally created as ads. And in fact, the photographs take on a new meaning when they become advertising. The picture above defamiliarizes a common everyday object, the suitcase, by placing it in a strange context (on top of a woman's body); the same thing happens to the original photograph, when it's displayed in a magazine with a logo at the bottom. As Julia Sonenshein put it in The Gloss, it becomes a question of intent: "When the image of domestic violence exists as an artistic work, it has merit, but when a huge company uses an image like this to sell its luxury product, it almost becomes an endorsement."
The ad was first spotted by the feminist blog Make Me a Sammich, which created a Change.org petition calling on The Standard and Du Jour Media to apologize. The Standard has since replied with a statement:
“The Standard advertisement utilized an image series created by the contemporary artist, Erwin Wurm. We apologize to anyone who views this image as insensitive or promoting violence. No offense or harm was intended. The Standard has discontinued usage of this image.”
Image Credit: nydailynews.com via the tfs forums
It’s no secret that tFSers can get a bit obsessive over their favorite models, and one of the most popular complaints stated by tFS forum members concerns the frustration over fashion magazine not using enough models for their covers. Needless to say, Interview Magazine’s September issue got us all very excited. Seven covers, more than 70 models featured inside – this issue is every tFS member’s dream. Photographers Mert & Marcus shot original supermodels Amber Valletta, Christy Turlington, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Stephanie Seymour and, somewhat surprisingly, Daria Werbowy for the seven individual covers; Mikael Jansson, Craig McDean, Fabien Baron, Patrick Demarchelier and Peter Lindbergh have editorials inside, according to tFSer kevinnn’s review of the complete issue.
“This is what I call FASHION ORGASM, omg,” rejoiced an enthusiastic LucaNatashaFan upon seeing the covers.
“Absolutely breathtaking… each and every one of them! Would love to have the same caliber of models dominating the industry now! I want to experience myself the Supermodel era!!!! I love the simplicity of the covers and my favorite would have to be either Daria's or Christy's!” gushed ToniOrtega.
And UpperEchelon agreed saying, “I think we can all agree that these are the best September covers we've seen this year and I just can't wait to have a M&M orgasmic overdose when I see the rest of the photos.”
“Awesome. Mert & Marcus really shine when they keep it simple and shoot the models straightup looking drop-dead-Fred gorgeous with no gimmicks. All the women look beyond beautiful. All of them. And leave it to Fabien [Baron] to actually put models on a September issue for a fashion magazine— imagine that… This visionary man brings out the best in everyone that works with him and leaves the rest of the magazines in the dust,” remarked Phuel.
Image Credit: nydailynews.com via the tfs forums
But not everyone was overwhelmed by the images themselves. A nostalgic tigerrouge mused, “I must be living in a different decade, because for me, so much of this current supermodel imagery really falls short of the standard of what came around when these girls were dominating the industry. It's not age, it's that somewhere along the way, the people who produce these images learned how to suck the life out of them through artless digital manipulation, and now we're left to rave over processed scraps of famous names, with their blank faces pieced together on a page by Photoshop.”
This is a fair point made by tigerrouge considering the heavy retouching on these images and the fact that someone unaware of the fact that the featured models once rose to superstardom because of their flawless skin and bodies and their otherworldly beauty before Photoshop took over would hardly believe the featured cover models were in a complete different league as the current crop of top models. Yet I do think it’s undeniable that the original supers still evoke some excitement in most of us just because we remember them for their remarkable work back in the day, regardless of how excessively Photoshopped they are in more recent images. And either way, this issue deserves some praise just for its concept and the fact that it provides us with some serious pre-Fashion Week model excitement!
Labor Day might not herald the end of summer Fridays and outdoor brunching in Australia, but you don’t have to be in mourning to appreciate this Stepford-glam shoot starring Australian model Nicole Trunfio.
Nicole seems to be one of those girls who becomes exponentially cooler as her runway career dies down. We’re more impressed with her afro-rocking ability than the fact she schmoozed with Karl Lagerfeld almost a decade ago, and for Beach magazine’s Labor Day issue, she gives us another justification for the Instagram lurking we’ve been doing as of late – the jewellery line she launched last year after three years of conception.
The Perth-born model studied jewellery design in school and is determined to be as fully involved in Trunfio Jewels design process as possible. She says, “It was very organic. I always had a passion for design. My first boyfriend bought me a sewing machine for my birthday, but when I was in the workshop at school I felt more at home.”
The pieces themselves fall into the investment character. They’re all crafted from gold, platinum and diamonds, and all focused around the simple structure of the pyramid. Her signature Universe bracelet is one that you can add to over time, a sort of “modern day charm bracelet” but with 11-carat pyramid diamonds instead of plastic-y butterflies.
In the shoot Nicole wears pieces from Bottega Veneta, Etro, Hermès and Wes Gorgon while talking about her first job (a $4 per week paper run) and offering some pretty sound advice to her American friends (“wear sunscreen”).
In real life she also fronts electro-rock band Henry Blak, just in case you needed more proof the housewifey makeover is just for show.
Lily McMenamy isn't conventionally beautiful and you couldn't even call her photogenic, but I'd want to hire her if I worked as a casting director or a photographer. From her weird performance for Marc Jacobs' Fall 2013 campaign to the Terry Richardson-lensed Purple Fashion cover above (for the publication's twentieth issue), her work is consistently striking, disturbing and a little inspiring.
Posing in a loose, broken arabesque, wearing Celine and super-red lipstick, McMenamy's jaw hangs open in an expression of naïveté, like she's a holy fool. There's nothing sexual or explicit about that photograph, despite the porny production values (Richardson and Purple Fashion editor-in-chief Olivier Zahm share a rec room sensibility) and the unfurled, acrobatic pose. I don't even like Terry Richardson (or his buddy Zahm), but I still love this cover.
Ah, right, the quote in the headline comes from tFS forum user Urban Stylin. In the forums, the image produced a number of diverse responses such as, "Good god…" (lelaid) or, "Lily proves that nepotism is still hard at work" (lunabella) and even, "gross" (LagerfeldBoy). What can I say? I'm a contrarian.
Last season, Oscar de la Renta hosted two fashion week shows at his West 42nd Street studio to accommodate over six hundred invited guests. This year, it's not happening. Suddenly all squirrelly about how his supersized runway schedule might inconvenience colleagues eager to book some of his models for their own shows (“I hate to inconvenience other people, as I hope other people wouldn’t want to inconvenience me."), the designer is changing course.
For the upcoming September 10th show, de la Renta's label will stage only one runway presentation and limit the guest list to just 350 invitees. Echoing a sentiment which has been gaining momentum ever since Suzy Menkes published her "Circus of Fashion" editorial earlier this year (criticizing street style culture at fashion week), de la Renta tells WWD he is hoping to exclude the “huge crowds of people with no direct connection to the clothes.”
"When you do megashows, it loses the reason of why we’re showing [...] It’s important for [certain industry professionals] to look at the clothes and see them. They shouldn’t have to go through 30,000 people, and 10,000 who are trying to take pictures of all of those people who are totally unrelated to the clothes. [...] Why have 20 million people with zero connection to the clothes?”
Today, runway shows are more about generating global publicity for a brand than showing clothes to buyers and editors (there's another, more recent Menkes editorial on that subject, too). That's why highly-produced, stadium style shows have become so ubiquitous. WWD writes that de la Renta will restrict his guest list only to those with a "legitimate professional purpose" — who would that even be? I'd guess that people will be paying very close attention to the designer's downsized runway show; maybe not to the clothes, but to who's who in the audience.
Oscar de la Renta Editing List of NYFW Invitees [WWD]
It's the first day of the US Open and based on these 2012 photos, Anna Wintour is probably pleased. [Fashionologie]
Here's a 16-item packing list for New York Fashion Week. Because it's almost upon us. [FabSugar]
Sometimes I like to rub my face with CC cream. [BellaSugar]
This Halloween, why not dress like Kim Kardashian? I mean, why, why, why? [SheFinds]
Or you can dress like Nancy Drew every day. [DetectiveWorkIsAlwaysInStyle via Buzzfeed]
Twelve burning questions about New York Fashion Week, including Citi Bike's status as an 'it' accessory. [Style.com]