Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gucci FW0910

I feel like I can finally post about this now that more Gucci campaign images have been released. I wanted to reserve my judgment until I had a chance to see the images and truly absorb them. The opinion I now have about the campaign differs radically from my initial reaction, so there is truth to the old adage of "think before you speak."

The campaign was shot by Inez and Vinoodh and features a who's who of current "it" models and established veterans. The impression the campaign gives off is very much in line with the glam rock/club scene theme of the collection. This is something Inez and Vinoodh do very well. If you look at their past two Gucci campaigns, they've matched their aesthetics to the aesthetics of the clothes.

(For the FW0809 "babushka" collection, the outdoor field location conjured up images of frolicking Russian peasants.)

(The campaign for the SS09 collection of bright colors and tropical prints was set outdoors among a grove of palm trees and other exotic plant species.)

So the look of this season's campaign really came as no surprise. It's the same concept we've seen for the past two seasons. You have a plethora of models haphazardly placed around a set location that has some relevance to the overall theme of the runway collection. From behind the scenes videos, we know that the models are told to dance and move around as they are being photographed. And judging by the poses and body language in these images, the models did the same thing for this campaign. It's actually quite amazing how the same formula can have such drastically different results. But this is an artistic concept that must work well for Gucci. Otherwise you would think that they would have changed direction...especially in this economic climate.

(On a side note, I just have to wonder if I & V took a little bit of inspiration this time around from the Mellow Yellow Gap ad? Does anyone else think so? Maybe it's just the white background and multitude of models that triggers this association for me.)

Anyway, I don't hate this campaign nor do I think that the models look atrocious. If you go by the comments on tFS, this is the worst campaign of the season and completely ridiculous. People are criticizing everything about this, but after much thought I have to say this campaign is successful in what it purports to be. Artistically, I think it's a little lacking (but certainly not hideous). Commercially, I think it totally sells and that's what an ad campaign is supposed to do. We have editorials and magazine covers to satisfy our creative appetites.

The ads may not be visually beautiful or appealing at first glance, but they are very enthralling. There is so much intensity and palpable emotion running throughout the shots. The compositions are engaging, the models poses are unique, the facial expressions are certainly not empty, and your gaze is really drawn in because there is so much to look at. The use of cropping and perspective add visual interest as well. I think we forget that ads don't have to be omg stunning and gorgeous in order to be effective. You want the potential customer to pay more attention to your product. You do not want to give them an easily digestible image that is also easily forgotten in a matter of seconds.

This campaign works because it is selling a lifestyle concept. Just like past Gucci campaigns, this one portrays a complete fantasy life. You have a collection of clothes and beautiful models all interacting with each other and with you, the consumer. A just released study claims that celebrities used in ads aren't as effective as advertisers think they are. So perhaps it is smart of Gucci to rely on models to sell an attitude. It is, after all, what they know how to do and heaven forbid we hire people with the actual skill set to do a job. A lot of the complaints are about the models' poses and awkward expressions, but perhaps there is a method behind all this visual "madness."

Take this bit of anecdotal evidence: In the business of direct mail you send letters to people in order to solicit money. Studies have shown that letters with strategically placed typos have a higher return rate than letters that are grammatically perfect. No one knows why this is the case, but the main theory is that people catch the typos and read the letter more closely. As they read the letter to find other typos, they actually absorb the message of the letter and are more likely to respond and give you money.

In the same vein, Inez and Vinoodh's campaigns for Gucci have perhaps been visually off-putting to us since we all live and breathe fashion and want to see something beautiful all the time. But to the average consumer, I think the campaign draws you into looking, and as you look you find yourself admiring the products. And before you know it, you're purchasing the products and the ad has done it's job.

All of this being said, I think Freja is totally working it, as are the other models. I think she's expanding her modeling catalog because she's giving poses we've never seen from her before. It feels like she was able to let loose on the set and just go for it. I'm happy to see her and her tattoos prominently featured, and she is totally giving off a glam rock vibe. Jaime Bochart fits in surprisingly well and Anja is quickly winning me over once again. I'm also always happy to see Raquel and Abbey Lee. I can't wait for more images and the behind the scenes video! I'd also love to hear your thoughts on this. :)

Image Credits:,, scans by lizzylily and whatelseinga @ modelhommes, mrsjamesdean and vogue28 @ tFS, snap by helmut.newton @ tFS


SF said...

I don't hate or love this campaign. it did make me laugh on more than one would've been better to see a variety of clothes and less drifting-onto-the-set models.Freja and Anja were easily my favorites.

sidenote: i believe this was your largest post yet!

Anonymous said...

Great analysis (as always). I agree with you on some points mainly regarding how the campaign grow on you (or at least me!) over time. Initially, I was concerned about Freja getting side-lined but it seems she was much the center of attention as much as Anja. I think the people at tFs are overreacting. Its called a "bandwagon mentality" and they really need to quit it.

Rrose Sélavy said...

Thanks for the comments. I'm surprised anyone actually read it all. It was my largest post yet...don't know if that's a good or bad thing!