World War I. A young man is reunited with his beloved horse. A beautifully dressed woman stares off into the distance. These two have little to do with each other in this flawed editorial that’s less of a movie tie-in (for the upcoming release of “War Horse”) and more of a thematic clutching at straws.
Visually, there’s a lot to love about the images – the sombre palette of grey/grey-blues, browns and greens evokes the melancholy mood of wartime, while the high-contrast lighting keeps the images crisp and dynamic. Grace Coddington’s choices of long skirts and sleeves (with little in the way of accessories) is consistent with the austere wartime theme, though the geometric patterned Balenciaga jumper appears glaringly out of place here – it worked better in “Midi Town”, Arizona’s Vogue UK August 2011 editorial.
However the biggest flaw of this editorial is with the direction of the two models. Granted, the film “War Horse” is centred around the story of a young man (played by Jeremy Irvine) and his horse, but Arizona is given too little to do here: is she supposed to play a woman who has lost a loved one in the war? The shot where she caresses the lapels of an army-green coat (by Dior) would have the viewer think so. The potential for this idea is never fully realised, and the lack of interaction between Arizona and Jeremy (save for one shot) leads me to conclude that we’re looking at two completely different editorials that happened to have been shot together.
Unfortunately the shortcomings of this editorial don’t stop there. The final shot of Arizona, dressed as a bride who knows her lover may never come home is rather stunning – until one realises that it looks almost the same as Sims’ own image for the current Alexander McQueen campaign.
Alexander McQueen F/W 2011-2012:
This was the final disappointment for me in an editorial that seemed to have run out of ideas. While pretty to look at, it’s a thumbs down from me.