Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Valentino Woman

Who is the new Valentino woman? Take a look at the new ads and see if you can answer that question. I'm not sure that I can....yet.

Valentino F/W 10.11 Ad Campaign
Ph: David Sims
Other models (not pictured): Monika Jagaciak, Tati Cotliar

I know that Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have taken the house in a decidedly more modern direction, but do these ads reflect that? They do when it comes to model choice, because never, ever would Freja have been a Valentino woman if Mr. Valentino was still in charge. But the choice of using black and white photography to convey this new modernity is a bit too antagonistic and old fashioned to me. Although, now that I think about it, perhaps this is the perfect way to express the conflict and uncertainty bound to rear up whenever a new generation takes over an established entity.

You'll always have those longing for the past, happy to live in their idealization of the glory days. Then you'll have those happy in the onslaught of technology and progress, thrilled to see the inevitable ebb and flow of change that the passage of time brings. The more I look at this campaign, the more I can see both sides of that coin there-within. A certain deference and allusion to the past with the photography and even the setting (gilded mirrors and crystal chandeliers of the actual historic Parisian headquarters of Valentino); yet at the same time, a nod to the present and the future with unconventional model choices who have their bodies on display in such a way only permissible by today's much more relaxed standards of propriety.

Do I like this? I'm not sure yet. Ask me again at the end of the season. Do I think this is interesting? Most definitely. Am I over analyzing as usual? Probably. But it's what I do best. I still don't know who the new Valentino woman is. I can't figure out who Maria and Pier are trying to target with these ads and who they're trying to get to buy their clothing. So instead I'll just sit back and enjoy the fact that Freja is a Valentino woman, tattoos and all.

Ten years ago it was so rare to see visible tattoos on the runway. Now Freja's are being displayed in nationwide ad campaigns. Amazing indeed, and yet another signifier for the changing times and generations. Her tattoos are now inseparable from her image as a model, as well as being inseparable from the surface of her skin. Kind of like her trademark, and in that respect I feel she's a larger model personality than most people give her credit for.

They say the era of the supermodel is over. But they say nothing about the era of the cult personality model. So we'll see who people will remember in 20 years time when they look back on this decade.

Image Credits: valentino.com via tFS member Carla-A


amy said...

i think the pictures are really beautiful both objectively and subjectively speaking.Freja really seems to bring out the spirit of the 60's in these pictures.i know that the house is trying to move to a more unknown route but i feel that the picture especially of freja in the white outfit is more a nod to the Valentino archives of that age.and when talking about the consumers...well that depends on loyalty and a matter of taste on the part of the customer.

Nerviosa intranquilidad said...

I love Freja!
nice blog!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely adore your blog and the way you analyse Freja and her work. This is no exception, you always have such a lovely way of writing your ideas and perceptions.

I particularly like this - "They say the era of the supermodel is over. But they say nothing about the era of the cult personality model. So we'll see who people will remember in 20 years time when they look back on this decade."

I have never thought about it like this before but the idea of an era of the cult model seems to be very possible, especially in this day and age with the prominence of blogs/forums that provide spaces for people to follow and obsess over models. And it is undeniable that Freja has gotten herself quite a large following despite the fact that she seems so unmainstream and unconventional in alot of model terms. I love that despite all that, she is so embraced by the industry and it is in her uniqueness that she will remain memorable for along time to come :)

Anonymous said...

Also, I forgot to add, I know its not a popular opinion but I actually love the Valentino ads. I think they're so soft, delicate and beautiful, which is perhaps what they're trying to convey through their new collections, although failing at times.

Rrose Sélavy said...

^Thanks for the lovely comment and for reading. I know I tend to be too wordy and analytical, but I'm glad you appreciate it. :) And you definitely have a point, the status of a cult model depends largely on the internet to generate and perpetuate the interest. But it has to be coupled with the embrace of the industry as well. I've seen lots of models praised by fans online, only to disappear because they never got much work. :(

Anonymous said...

Behind the scene clip of the campaign: