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NEW FACE: After two campaigns featuring pop priestess Madonna, Louis Vuitton has gone all New Age in its spring-summer fashion advertising, complete with white doves, ferns and voluptuous model Lara Stone lounging seductively on the grass.
“After two seasons with such a huge star, [artistic director] Marc [Jacobs] decided to take a breather and work with a model — and not just any model. It’s the choice of a new supermodel,” said Antoine Arnault, Vuitton’s communication director, as he unveiled a campaign slated to break in February fashion titles. “She clearly has a Brigitte Bardot look.”
He described the six visuals as fresh, summery, whimsical, young and optimistic — and hopefully coinciding with brighter economic times.
Arnault declined to discuss budgets, but said Vuitton’s media spend would be flat against 2009, when the brand kept spending levels high and won more “share of voice.” New titles for 2010 include the French edition of Grazia. It’s the third Vuitton campaign lensed by Steven Meisel, who constructed an outdoorsy set in a New York studio, planting a series of Vuitton handbags in the moss next to Stone and the birds.
The first spots highlight the Artsy, an unstructured shoulder bag in Monogram canvas, followed by runway styles in sun-bleached denim, some dangling fox-fur charms. The fashion spots will run in tandem with Vuitton’s ongoing “core values” campaign highlighting its travel roots — and featuring the likes of Sean Connery and astronaut Buzz Aldrin — plus a new series trumpeting savoir-faire that quietly debuted this month in a range of magazines and newspapers.
Lensed by Dutch photographer Desiree Dolron and reminiscent of Johannes Vermeer’s enigmatic “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” the Vuitton spots depict workers making leather goods with wax, glue and thread. Next up, Arnault said, is “the young girl and the five folds,” demonstrating a technique used in all Vuitton wallets. — Miles Socha
A SHOT OF GUINNESS: For the ads that accompany the launch of Akris’ handbag collection featuring several styles made from exclusive horsehair, the St. Gallen, Switzerland-based luxury fashion house has zeroed in on a particularly fine breed. Daphne Guinness, the recurring designer muse perhaps best known for her eclectic, eccentric (although almost never minimalist) couture wardrobe, is appearing in Akris’ spring campaign. Steven Klein, who has collaborated with Akris designer Albert Kriemler on the brand’s campaigns for the past 15 years, photographed Guinness. The socialite, who recently launched a perfume collaboration with Comme des Garçons, is sporting looks from Akris’ spring ready-to-wear line in the photos, which also spotlight one of Akris’ trapezoid-shaped Ai handags and its Amata clutch. The campaign will break in February magazines. “Daphne is a beautiful and intriguing woman, a fashion icon in her own right,” Kriemler said. “I have seen her photographed by Steven before. She emanates a sense of mystery and aristocracy — there is more to the picture than meets the eye. I trusted Steven; this would be more than a campaign for us but rather an artistic collaboration.” — Marc Karimzadeh
STILL FREE: As a handful of leading magazine and newspaper publishers from Hearst to News Corp. are reportedly close to unveiling a digital newsstand venture for their content, one newspaper publisher is holding off, at least for now. The Washington Post has no plans to start charging readers for access to its Web site, said Donald Graham, chairman and chief executive officer, during a UBS investor presentation on Monday. Year-to-date as of the third quarter, the newspaper’s online revenue is down 12 percent to $68.1 million, while print ad revenue at the Post has declined 27 percent to $224.4 million. — Amy Wicks