Archive for October, 2011

Chanel S/S 2011 – “A Summer In The South”

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I suspect that any serious collector of advertising campaigns would have a headache of a time doing so – chasing magazines for different images, often seeing the same two or three images over the course of the campaign season, with many images never seeing the light of day…

If only more companies would follow Chanel and collect each season’s advertising images into an attractive hard-cover book –  even if it is only available to boutiques, or sent to lucky VIPs (of which I am NOT one – I got my copy from eBay just like any other fan).

What a difference seeing all of the images together makes! While the single images looked unremarkable in a magazine, when collected together they create a wonderful atmosphere.

It would be easy to mistake the forest/garden setting for an autumn/winter campaign – however to do so would be to misunderstand Karl’s intentions. In fact, this cool, verdant setting is ideal for spring and summer – in not-so olden times, when air-conditioning was not readily available, travelling to the mountains and the forest served as the perfect antidote to too much sun exposure.

Another thing that could also be easily overlooked is how intimate the campaign is. Here, Karl has cast his favourite models: Inès de la Fressange, Stella Tennant, Baptiste and Freja. Having worked with Karl in many other campaigns we can see both the models’ and Karl’s fondness for each other, as well as how relaxed each person is modelling Karl’s vision (as well as Karl’s cheeky sense of humour – Stella hosing down a butt-naked Freja standing in a tub? How very un-high fashion.)

Karl’s photography could be described as workman-like: competent, reliable and at ease with the tools (and people) at his disposal. For a brand as established as Chanel, competence and reliability is precisely what is called for. I’m not often a fan of his photography, but this time it works for me.

Overall, I found the cool forest setting inspired and was ultimately won over by Karl’s choice of models – seeing Stella back in a Chanel ad gives me hope that Freja will also stick around for a long time 🙂

Here’s a link to the catalogue in PDF format:


Valentino – “Valentina”

(ED: Now this is definitely a new writing challenge for me – trying to write about an advertisement as objectively as possible.)

Perfume is quite the sensuous pleasure. By tapping into the primal sense of smell, perfume powerfully evokes all manner of feelings. It can be worn as armour for protection, as a disguise for an element of mystery, or simply for comfort and pleasure. From the sickly sweet to the brutish (or should I say, Old Spice-ish?), there is no denying that once a perfume is worn, it imparts its personality to the wearer.

So what type of personality is Valentina trying to evoke? In the commercial (directed by Johan Renck) we see Freja as Valentina, escaping from an opulent party to enjoy the smaller pleasures of close friends and rooftop parties, watching the sun rise. She is desired; called for by paparazzi, searched for by cars and helicopters. She is free; leaping from the balcony and walking around the streets of Rome. Valentina/Freja’s beaming smile shows us that she is a carefree and confident woman.

There is little of the cool, stern Freja in this campaign – instead, she shines as the warm, carefree Valentina. Wonderful – I’m sold, and I haven’t even smelled the damn perfume yet!

Official website (with interactive games):

Spring/Summer 2012

Balenciaga, 29th of September, 2011
Balmain, 29th of September, 2011
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Lanvin, 30th of September, 2011
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Chanel, 4th of October, 2011*
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Valentino, 4th of October, 2011*
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*Of course, I must mention Freja’s efforts to support Doctors Without Borders – she donated her day’s wages on Oct 4th to them, and was snapped around Paris in a DWB t-shirt:

(from gobackstage.blogspot)

You can also sign the petition and support Doctors Without Borders here: