SEVEN FOR ALL MANKIND’S CINEMATIC STYLE: Seven For All Mankind is dreaming up a new way to sell jeans.
To rev up momentum in the lagging denim market, the Los Angeles-based brand is picking up cues from the movies, along with a new cast of models and creative collaborators. Morgan Watkins, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art graduate who played the menacing bully in “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” is paired with model Lindsey Wixson as a denim-clad couple that is awkwardly getting to know each other. In the images photographed by Craig McDean under the art direction of KiDS Creative, Wixson and Watkins appear intense and brooding, often looking askance and eventually driving off alone.
“We owe more to the [denim] category to be more creative and more rich and beautiful than putting a topless woman in a pair of jeans,” said Andy Griffiths, vice president of marketing for the VF Corp.-owned unit. “[Nudity’s] almost like the denim default. It’s hard for the consumer to distinguish by brand. It’s been the way denim brands have done it. Not that there is anything wrong with it.”
Indeed, just a year ago, Seven unveiled sultry photos of Miranda Kerr frolicking topless in bed, often intertwined with model Jon Kortajarena, for the first of the two campaigns she fronted for the company. As with its other campaigns over the past four years, David Lipman was in charge of that creative direction.
This time, in an aesthetic about-face, Seven faded out the black-and-white palette from Kerr’s promotions shot by Sebastian Faena. Instead, it saturated the hues to accentuate Wixson’s brassy blonde tresses, the rich blue denim and supple black leather jackets sported by her and Watkins, and the raspberry red walls, plush green pillows and parchment yellow furniture in the modern décor of the Beverly Hills home that served as the backdrop. The entire time, the duo remained fully covered in denim, whether it was a skirt with shiny buttons and high-waist jeans enhanced with braided detailing for Wixson or dark jeans from the Luxe Performance line for Watkins. In a couple of instances, however, the clothes stayed out of the frame to afford striking portraits of Wixson’s full pouty lips and Watkins’ sharply cut cheekbones.
“It’s much more cinematic, something from the luxury world than the denim world,” Griffiths said. “What the denim category has missed is the selling of the dream. We have to give the image for people to believe in it, than the quick sale of the jean you want to push that season. The interesting thing about this is when we got through the creative, the jean became the ultimate accessory. And it was about the characters.”
Seven didn’t push the cinematic motif too hard. Opting not to produce a short film as it had done in the past with James Franco or a TV commercial, which it had made with Kerr, it’s going to post 15-second video snippets of the new campaign on Instagram. Moreover, it’s slotting print ads in the September issues of Vogue, Elle, GQ and Interview, and is readying to splash billboards in Los Angeles and New York a month later.
“This is about trying to differentiate the denim brands,” Griffiths said. “It’s more visually stimulating than putting the jean of a season in a picture.”