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Marks & Spencer’s Leading Ladies Campaign by Annie Leibovitz: a lack of narrative?

Mark & Spencer decided to launch a very sharp campaign as the iconic British brand is facing immense challenges these days. Called Meet Leading Ladies, and shot by Annie Leibovitz, the campaign tries to explore what is Great Britain inheritance…

“We wanted to mark this moment with a confident statement about UK style. The British have a history of being creative and pioneering and these women represent just that.”

Steve Sharp, creative director at M&S

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It’s an impressive crew which has been selected: Ellie Goulding, the rising pop icon, recently featured in the last InStyle (and declaring that she loves her ASOS bomber jacket, sic…), mixing simplicity and talent. The amazing Monica Ali, whose novel “Brick Lane” is a masterpiece of the daily life of my neighborhood.
The thing is that the aim of this new positioning is pretty blurry for me. Is the brand trying to tell us that they are definitely this British evanescence? We already sort of knew that, and it’s not because you display amazing women that you earn what they represent.
And Annie Leibovitz…as VQ says, it reminds us Vanity Fair, America. Group portraits dillude the featured personas…strange.
There’s a lack of narrative at this point. Why revealing so many characters in one single press release? Except if it’s explicitly done to generate some coverages in the September issues of Vogue and co, I think that at this point the brand is missing another meeting with us, customers. There’s no coherence in the other social channels. On Instagram, kittens and wines are the most evocative contents…no link with the new campaign! We don’t know what the new collection is about…and seriously, even if we recognize Leibovitz signature, would you buy these very granny-like clothes?
I am a bit disappointed at this stage but let’s keep posted. M&S has all the beautiful stories inside to rejuvenate and make us dream…a bit.
The full list of ambassadors:
  • Helen Mirren The multi-award winning actress is known for her groundbreaking film, television and theatre performances, her candid opinions and her innate, confident style.
  • Katie Piper Having rebuilt her life following an acid attack in 2008, model and now successful TV presenter, has also set up a foundation to support people with burns and other disfigurements.
  • Ellie Goulding The singer-songwriter and skilled instrumentalist has already, during her short career, released two albums, won a BRIT award and performed at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
  • Helen Allen A staff nurse and mother of two, Allen is the founder of the charity PEPAIDS (Peer Education Programme Against AIDS) and was named Nurse of the Year in 2011.
  • Nicola Adams Becoming the first female boxer to win an Olympic gold medal at last year’s London games, Adams has battled injury with steely determination to get where she is.
  • Monica Ali The Bangladeshi-born, British-raised writer’s debut novel, Brick Lane was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and adapted into a film. She has since published two further novels.
  • Darcey Bussell A celebrated former Royal Ballet principal ballerina, Bussell CBE, retired in 2007 to an eight-minute standing ovation. She writes childrens books and is a popular television personality.
  • Laura Mvula The Brit Award nominated singer-songwriter, also a director of the Lichfield Community Gospel Choir, was, just over a year ago working as a receptionist when she landed her first record deal.
  • Karen Elson A model, musician and mother of two, Karen Elson has been in the public eye since she was discovered aged 15 and has worked with the world’s greatest photographers.
  • Jasmine Whitbread As the CEO of Save the Children and former International Director at Oxfam, the mother of two is known for her leadership skills, working with teams in 120 countries.
  • Grace Coddington The former British model and long-time creative director for US Vogue remains a hugely influential and outspoken force in fashion. Her memoir, Grace, was published late last year.
  • Tracey Emin The award-winning artist, CBE and Professor of Drawing at the Royal Acadmeny of Art, is best known for as a leading figure in the Young British Artists YBA) movement, her emotionally revealing work and her forthright views.
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em Michelle Phan: stories and emotions from Social Media to beauty palettes

It’s a real machine launched by YouTube beauty queen Michelle Phan with L’Oreal: called em Michelle Phan, the brand aims to create a community of beauty junkies for a totally new way of shopping for makeup. As explained on the dedicated website, “See what people like you are buying, check out the latest beauty trends and get advice straight from michelle. ready to get started? customize your profile now“.

The line features over 250+ products related to special life moments: “Love Life,” “Day Life,” “Party Life” and “Night Life” are part of a “Life Palette“.

A name based on selfie phenomenon: me in the eyes of others

After 2 years of development, Michelle Phan (and L’Oreal) expect to benefit from her strong fan base to spread the word about her new brand

Beauty lovers are increasingly consuming and sharing information digitally,  through online communities. We saw the power of these communities and wanted to meet them where they live – online. Michelle Phan’s expertise in makeup, plus her passion for teaching and empowering women has made her a digital phenomenon. She represents exactly what this line is all about – community, empowerment, artistry” Carol Hamilton, president of L’Oréal Luxe in a press release.

“em” is the reflection of the word “me”. A way to celebrate the growing social media community of consumers. And “em” also means “you” in Vietnames

em will have it’s own store in October, first in NYC and then worldwide.

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Novikov soul

There are Russian girls with Saudi wannabe in Mayfair

The bins are filled of Evening Standard around Green Park station

Young Erasmus students are already dancing at Mahiki

Boats with straws of rum and strawberry float over the miniskirts

It’s the end of summer and a sweet rain brings London back to business

It’s old and young, and intense and decadence

There are bankers with black cards and golden heart

Strippers hook some love in the blurry corners

Espresso Martini on the rocks of our middle age crisis

It’s the world thrown away like a note in a coke-addict wallie

Logos and branded dreams face sometimes the emptiness

In the soft cotton of the beats banging the minds of fellows fighting the night

It’s not about getting drunk but growing punk

A planet of possibility where bouncers and bartenders could soon become

The next game-changers or innovators

Dresses from Mulberry are worn with style and pounds

But less natural than a print ad with Delevingne

We chase the stars like we chase the tables

It’s an indoor grease we need to escape

Outdoor a black man asks us if we want sophisticated girls

We told him most of our clients pay us and not the other way round

It’s London baby when wise husbands park their bikes close to the end of time

To go back home, still in love and certainly more fulfilled

 

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How Reebok hijacked Nike with Purple Unicorn Planet

Remember our post on our French blog about the Purple Unicorn Planet (PUP)? Well, it seems like Reebok heard the team better than Nike! A fantastic news for consumers who finally have a new opportunity to improve the sneakers market. And to a certain extent improves the balance between men and women

Emily Hodgson and Emilie Riis, the duo currently lobbying Nike to make its coolest men’s trainers available in women’s sizes, have been invited by Reebok to collaborate on its women’s trainers.

Hodgson and Riis launched a campaign last month to shake up the predominantly pink and girly women’s trainers market under the name Purple Unicorn Planet (PUP), with a website disguised as a fantasy trainer shop at www.purpleunicornplanet.com

The pair, who work together at ad agency 18 Feet & Rising, sent a letter to Nike with their requests. Purple Unicorn Planet has its own hashtag #pleasejustdoit and Twitter feed @PunicornP

Following the vast amount of press coverage and support PUP received since launch, sportswear giant Reebok got in touch to ask the two Emilies to collaborate with its team.

Meanwhile, Nike’s response to the campaign has been met with frustration and disappointment at PUP HQ. Nike sent a representative to meet with the pair to discuss PUP and subsequently issued the following statement:

“We have been in touch with Emily and Emilie and we find their campaign very interesting. We have always been and will continue to be supportive of feedback from our consumers. NIKE is committed to our sneaker community and will continue to work on offering new and exciting products.”

Despite Nike’s stated commitment to the sneaker community, the brand has given no explanation to Purple Unicorn Planet and its supporters on why the women’s range is so limited, and there is no response to PUP’s goal.
Emily Hodgson said:

“It’s great to see someone step up. We’ve been delighted and amazed by the response we have received since we launched PUP. The fact that the people at Nike haven’t yet given us the answers we’re looking for is a disappointment.”

Emilie Riis said:

“This is a big opportunity and failing to see it means you will be missing out. We want to collaborate with a brand that is taking the shortage in the category seriously. It’s great to see that we’ve struck a chord with so many women round the world who feel the same way we do, and we are driven by giving them a better trainer selection in smaller sizes.

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Rihanna for River Island: streetstyle that does not totally look streetstyle

How to make streetstyle-like collections without being too “streetstyle”? That’s the performance of the new River Island collection for Autumn Winter. And we’re pretty sure it’s going to be a hit among teenagers and street culture fans.

The Campaign, shot by Lachlan Bailey, styled by Mel Ottenberg, and directed by Rihanna, highlights the rising supermodels: Ji Hye Park, Nayasha Kusakina, Milou Van Grossen and Tati Cotliar.

The new collection will be available on September 12. Yummie.

 

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AllSaints Sun City: when the London brand says “go to hell” to fashion advertising

We love AllSaints. Not only because Lilzeon lives in front of their flagship store, but also because there’s a sweet incandescence in each of their clothes and leather jackets. This time, they’ve released a very provocative film for their swimwear collection. Enjoy it.

AllSaints Film’s latest release is a seductive and subversive short film which confronts the clichés and conventions of swimwear advertising. A provocative tale of displacement and individuality, Sun City was entirely devised, shot and edited in just two long hot days in London this summer, demonstrating AllSaints’ continued spirit for creative disruption.

You can shop the Ember bikini right here.

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CHANEL, women only: the sweet anxiousness of a world without men but dominated by one man

It’s very rare when I’m stuck more than 10 minutes in front of a branded film. And I was even more skeptical when I realized that it was Karl Lagerfeld himself who directed the last piece of art of CHANEL, “Women Only”, as the backdrop to the 2013/14 Fall-Winter pre-collection

This is a magisterial and controversial work.

In the obscurity of a Parisian cinema, young women run to attend the premiere of the last film by Karl Lagerfeld, Once Upon a Time. A sort of story within the story: real models become a fiction of spectators watching Keira Knightley as Coco Channel.

The 2 parts of this masterpiece are full of interesting signs and echoes.

First, the fear of a world without men.

In Women Only, Karl Lagerfeld describe probably one of the most antique male fantasy: being trapped outside of a place full of goddesses. There’s a sensual tension when the gates close. An ambiguity led by Karl Lagerfeld, who’s not only a victim in this narrative but also the jailer of Cara Delevingne, Julia Nobis, or  Ming Xi. The girls are surprisingly enough pretty superficial and idle in Women Only: they apparently take the lead but they play the girly girl role. Cara plays with her bracelets. Others give hugs. And soon we realize that they’re all here to watch the last super production of a man: Karl Lagerfeld.

The female power versus the girls.

In the film that the models are going to watch, the big star is not one of them but the sublime Keira Knightley. An actress with a word, with a soul, with an interpretation. Whereas the models remain quiet and are just the domineered consumers of the brand inheritance. It’s something that can be easily forgotten when you watch it on YouTube but the symbol is strong. And a bit harsh against the models who are then the digital surfaces to explore the Chanel products on the dedicated website.

I don’t know what to think of this film at the end: it opens more questions than a traditional advertising.

I guess it’s the role of CHANEL to open our gates to such territories. And I’m surprised that not so many people started to debate about it.

 

 

 

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Issa Tchieu: “fashion has ruled our minds since the day we became vain”.

We’ve recently discovered Issa Tchieu blog and work. The Singapore based talent has an inspiring writing style and a look very avant gardiste. A bit like if Rolling Stones had met Asian pervasive creativity. We wanted to get her views on fashion. And she rocks.
When did you start blogging and why?
I started blogging in Sept 2011 and reason was I needed a media platform that I could share more photos in my camera with a story to tell. And only blog space can allow that kind of expression.
How would you define the fashion scene in Singapore?
Singapore is becoming a fashion hub and have gained massive influence from both local and international fashion designers and retailers. It is known to be a multi-cultural city and its only natural to see diversity in the mix of cultures and styles in the scene.
Issa Tchieu
“Fashion can change the world”: what do you think about that?
Fashion is an emotion and sometimes an obsession. It has ruled our minds since the day we became vain.
What are the local blogs we should discover?
For local blogs, I will recommend ladyironchef.com; fashionide.com; wardrobetrendsfashion.com
Any favorite Singaporean designer?
A.W.O.L is my fav local designer.
What can we wish you?
Im creating my own line of clothing..so wish me good luck? :P
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Free New Slaves: Alexander Wang vs Jay Z videos

This week two videos of exceptional events in NYC hit the tubes with a curious common background. On one hand the hottest top designer Alexander Wang – fascinating fashionisti worldwide as well as God himself: Kanye West, on the other the biggest player in the rap game: Jay Z.

First pictures come from the now famous Undisclosed Event of Fall 2013 T by Alexander Wang, that saw a horde of fans gone wild in a warehouse free release of T products. We’ve been wondering if this was faked as a postmodern crowd performance serving the brand, but apparently the operation was staged to obtain this crazy frenzy naturally. Thus proving our friend Kanye right: NEW SLAVES.

The other video comes from a rare performance by Jay Z serving 6 hours of Picasso Baby in a contemporary art gallery, hosting a truckload of hip friends coming to share the light, among those the whole GIRLS cast including our darling Jemima Kirke else found would be underrated actor Alan Cumming, and other NYC most wanted underground socialites.

Actually we’re wondering which one of these two clips is the most intriguing. The one where the king of his own industry just makes sure to name drop his art into legimity, or the other connecting dots between social observation, art expression and deliberate marketed promotion at the same time… Frankly, NYC is too big a platform for other stages to compare for now. Wake up Europe!

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