A VERY MOODY MILANO
Byline: Samantha Conti
MILAN — Peek through Milan’s looking glass, and you’ll see the topsy-turvy world of the upcoming fall ad campaigns. Gucci and Missoni are there in black and white, Versace has an eerie Renaissance mood — and all of them are radical departures from past seasons.
“The simplicity of black and white looks fresh this season,” said Gucci creative director Tom Ford, describing the latest campaign shot by Steven Klein. “Our goal was to strip the campaign down and be graphic; the images are clear, crisp and simple. The mood is serene; the models are calm, in control, almost statuesque.”
The campaign features models Bridget Hall and Chris Walters “looking beautiful — and never fully dressed,” said Ford. In some images, Hall wears only a skirt. In others, Walters has a coat tossed over him. Ford said those photos will be mixed with still-life black and white photos washed in shades of pale blue, violet and pale brown.
Ford stated that Gucci’s budget this season would remain 6.5 percent of sales, and the company would continue its media-buying strategies.
Missoni switched to black and white to emphasize the product “without the distraction of color,” said commercial director Vittorio Missoni. “It’s a modern, aggressive campaign that shows off texture, volume, lines and surfaces. In these photos, you see everything,” he added.
Mario Testino shot the campaign that features the 17-year-old Gisele Budchen. Missoni said the company, which didn’t raise its budget this season, would continue with “traditional magazines and newspapers.”
Donatella Versace has a Renaissance revolution in mind.
With the help of photographer Steven Meisel, she revamped the Versace campaign, giving it a Botticelli-on-the-moon feel. Venus in a metal mesh embroidered dress rises from a crater; a red-haired beauty wears a sword in her cleavage and another fingers a string of rosary beads.
Other houses, including Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, Trussardi and Alessandro Dell’Acqua, have opted for more subtle changes this season, making products, rather than mood, the focus of campaigns.
Dolce & Gabbana’s black and white campaign was shot by Steven Meisel in a studio in New York. The duo chose black and white and a bare studio to “underline the sumptuousness and richness of the clothing,” a spokeswoman said.
The background light in many of the shots is bright, showing off the technical aspects of the clothing such as stretch, mirrored fabrics. The models are Carolyn Murphy and Franco Musso.
Ferragamo, too, chose to emphasize products over mood. “We’ve learned from experience that centering on the product pays off,” said Ferruccio Ferragamo, managing director of the family-run leather goods and apparel house. “Our details and finishings are so important, why not show them off?”
The campaign, shot by Nadav Kander, shows models with their legs crossed wearing the Ferragamo shoes, bags and clothing.
Steven Klein shot Trussardi’s edgy campaign on a construction site at Milan’s Malpensa 2,000 airport. Model Kim Iglinsky wears a black python sheath that glistens in the sun. Detail and texture are at the heart of the campaign: the finger marks on a suede dress, the sleeve of a leather jacket bunched on the forearm, the drape of a silk dress on a bare shoulder.
“The modern consumer is increasingly interested in details, stitching, the move and feel of a garment,” said Nicola Trussardi, chairman and owner of the company.
Alessandro Dell’Acqua hired Juergen Teller to shoot the model Devon for his product-based campaign. “Dell’Acqua’s first four campaigns featured photographs that relayed the atmosphere of the collection. Now he wants the consumer to know about his product,” a company spokesman said. The campaign shows a sensual, supine Devon cocooned in a fluttery gown.
Alberto Biani also hired Teller to shoot his color campaign, which he describes as ambiguous and trite. “The girl could be ugly, she could be beautiful; this could show off the clothes — or it couldn’t. The ads express banality to the highest power,” said Biani.
Other designers are continuing on the same path as in past seasons. Giorgio Armani, Krizia and Alberta Ferretti all enlisted Paolo Roversi for their campaigns.
Armani’s is shot in black and white on the streets of Paris with the model Natalia Semanova. Krizia’s is in color and resembles a Caravaggio painting with chiaroscuro lighting effects. Ferretti chose identical twins Lida and Alexandra for her campaign, and plays on the mirror effect of the two faces. Aside from advertising in traditional publications, this season Ferretti plans to place the ad on some Alitalia airline tickets.
Both Genny and Moschino are forging ahead with black and white campaigns. Patrick Shaw shot the Genny campaign on location in Connecticut with model Chandra North. The French photographer Cometti worked on the Moschino campaign with models Karen Elson and Amy Wesson, giving the photographs a feel of 1950s movie studio portraits.
Ferre and Valentino have taken flight for fall. Ferre hired Michel Comte to shoot model Eva Witwoska clinging to the Eiffel Tower, the train of her dress streaming from behind.
“The idea is a futuristic space, technology tempered by feminine clothing,” said Ferre spokeswoman Rita Airaghi. “The whole mood is fantastical.”
Ferre, along with Alessandro Dell’Acqua and Byblos, plans to feed photos from the campaign onto its Internet site.
Valentino’s campaign was shot by Michael Thompson and features models Angela Lindval and Kirsty Hume. The campaign is a continuation of last season’s “bird’s-eye view” theme. The company said its ad budget has increased 30 percent over last year.