NEW YORK — In the ready-to-wear world, one of the most important trends today has nothing to do with hemlines.
Rather, it’s the ability of an established brand to attract several different types of consumers without alienating its core following. At the retail level, that means a daughter, mother and grandmother can all go to a trunk show and walk out having placed an order.
Several steps need to be taken to attract this melange of women, not only in the design of the clothes, but in the image surrounding them, as well. At Carolina Herrera Ltd., there has been no shortage of editorial credits or celebrity endorsements for its sophisticated clothes — think Renée Zellweger and Salma Hayek at the Academy Awards — but the company hasn’t had much of a presence on the advertising front for its collection business, which is generally the strongest tool in shaping a brand’s identity.
Though Herrera resumed advertising the collection last year with a clean, simple portrait in one of the line’s top-selling coats, the image read “safe.” Not that the company’s ads needed to go so far as to get crafty with a clipper like Gucci, but there was room to expand upon Herrera’s sophisticated designs, especially with the moodiness of her fall collection.
Enter Patricia Lansing, Carolina Herrera’s youngest daughter, who joined the company in April. In her first major stamp on the company, Lansing instantly updated the house’s look by enlisting fashion photographer Terry Richardson — known for his sexed-up ads for Gucci and Sisley — to shoot the fall campaign. It’s slated to run from August until November in magazines such as Vogue, W, Town & Country and possibly In Style and Harper’s Bazaar.
Though the company declined to give details about the campaign’s budget, last year’s Bill Blass campaign shot by Steven Klein cost more than $1 million and ran in similar magazines.
“I loved [Richardson’s] work,” said Lansing, who noted she had never worked with the photographer during her time at Vanity Fair. “He has a unique way of shooting — it’s contradictory. It’s clean, but not clean, yet all very modern.”As for what and where to shoot, Lansing said she had a clear idea of what she wanted and that it was dictated by the feel of the last show. The dress in the campaign features a lace bodice with a plunging neckline that is one of the bestsellers.
For location, Lansing chose the living room of her mother’s Manhattan townhouse, since the red damask fabric that covers the walls evokes a feeling of seduction, beauty and richness, similar to the clothes, she said. As for talent, Lansing booked Next model Amanda Moore for her versatile look that is both hard and soft, feminine and sexy, Lansing added.
The campaign, which features art direction by Modco Creative, marks the first time the company has incorporated the collection, bridal, licensed eyewear and fur collections under one look. While some of Herrera’s fragrances have their own advertising campaigns, Lansing said she would like to pull the scents into the look going forward, though she said it’s difficult since the fragrance business is done out of house and tends to work on a different schedule than the collection.
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