I thought I was kind of done with this topic. After all, there was a rush of plus size models, multi-body size ad campaigns, etc. I didn’t think the stick aliens were gone exactly, but it did seem like there’s been a general turning away in the past few months from making women look inhuman in an attempt to sell clothes. But this just shows I don’t understand fashion. Proenza Schouler, which is apparently a fashion company, had an ad image for their new catalog campaign which has been photoshopped to present a model who has had all the flesh removed from around her spine.
The first ad I mused about was with actress Audrey Tautou in a Channel ad, whose perfectly normal if skinny waist had been shrunk and elongated into non-human proportions that made her look like an alien imitating a human in a long black dress. My question was, how does this sell a romantic, elegant image if the first response of most people is to go, “Eww, what did they do to her waist? That looks gross!” But that little airbrush trick was utterly nothing to the alien proportions Proenza Schouler decided to go with. These people are trying to sell clothes and having this picture will certainly make people look at it for shock value. But they aren’t going to be looking at the clothes or remembering the name of the company. They are looking at a woman who looks inhuman and going, “Eww, gross!” Is “eww, gross” really the image you want associated with your clothes? Maybe it is in the realm of haute couture, I don’t know. What, seriously, goes through the minds of the people in this company who put together, photoshopped and prepared this photo for the campaign? Is it just a desire to be edgy? Aren’t there other ways to be edgy that don’t involve revulsion? Are marketing consultants really claiming that revulsion is an excellent way to develop your brand? Or are they just hoping the Lady GaGa young folk will laugh and say, “They’re so weird and cool, I’ll buy their clothes”? Was it just a way of getting media attention, and if so, what’s the strategy? One day I certainly hope to sit down with a fashion marketing person and find out. Because truly, what’s your first reaction to this:
Mine was to try not to vomit.