Byline: Samantha Conti

MILAN — Do clothes make the woman?
Judging from Milan’s spring ad lineup, it’s the other way around. The Italians’ focus this season is on a woman’s personality and soul; the clothes, however dramatic, are secondary.
Models projecting their inner spirits this season include Kate Moss for Gucci, all droopy eyelids and parted lips, lounging on cream-colored sheets and gazing at the camera; Stella Tennant for Giorgio Armani, steely and determined in her black-and-white world; and the contemplative Olouchi, in her African-inspired fringes by Gianfranco Ferre.
For some firms, such as Valentino, Armani and Missoni, ad spending is up considerably for spring, while others, such as Prada and Ferragamo, have flat budgets.
Here following are some highlights of the spring ad campaigns.
After experimenting with color, Armani has returned to black-and-white images. Peter Lindbergh shot the Borgonuovo and the Armani Collezioni ad campaigns. Armani Collezioni was shot at the designer’s new Emporio Armani megastore on Via Manzoni. Armani’s ad budget has increased 5 to 10 percent this year, and the company’s spending strategy had shifted — it is concentrating its advertising in fewer, more mainstream magazines.
“We have also begun collaborating with L’Oreal [Armani’s fragrance and cosmetics licensee] in the advertising buy,” said an Armani spokesman.
Armani wasn’t Lindbergh’s only ad campaign this season: the photographer also shot models Anastasia and Olouchi for Ferre. Ferre said he wanted to recall “those extraordinary ‘regal and tribal’ black-and-white portraits” of the early 20th century.
Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Valentino all worked with Steven Meisel.
Dolce & Gabbana’s woman has many faces: cowboy, punk, biker chick, squaw, Madonna fan and Sicilian damsel. The ad campaign, which features Gisele Bundchen.
Versace’s spring ad campaign was shot at a 19th-century villa outside Manhattan. The ad campaign, featuring Malgosia, takes place entirely in the villa’s bedroom.
Valentino’s party last season has moved from poolside to luxury yacht, where fabulous young things sip cocktails in the blazing sunshine. Valentino also unveils the first campaign for his new line, Valentino Roma, that was shot by Robert Wyatt at the IBM Executive Center in New York. Valentino’s ad budget this year is 10 percent of sales and is 42 percent higher than the corresponding season last year, when the company only released a small ad campaign.
Jil Sander, Fendi and Gucci all focus on faces. Jil Sander zooms in on its models — Jo, Fanny and Tasha — emphasizing expressions more than clothes. The ad campaign was shot by Craig McDean in a Manhattan studio. Fendi, photographed by Karl Lagerfeld, features a brunette Bridget Hall. Bathed in neon lights, Hall has a tough look about her, all the way down to the studs on her handbag.
Gucci’s ad campaign was shot in a Paris apartment by two photographers, Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. Its $94 million ad budget is flat against last year. New publications Gucci has taken on board include Dazed and Confused, Jalouse, Index and Smock.
Krizia, Missoni, Alberta Ferretti and Romeo Gigli all preferred to look at the soul of the woman behind the clothes.
The background for Missoni’s ad campaign — shot by Mario Sorrenti — is spare and the ad was shot horizontally. Missoni’s ad budget this year is 7 percent of annual sales and the company increased its spending in the U.S. by 30 percent.
Krizia chose Sarah King for the ad campaign shot by Javier Vallhonrat, a Spanish photographer and artist. For the Krizia Uomo ad, Vallhonrat did a self-portrait. Ferretti’s ad campaign, shot in black and white by Paolo Roversi, shows an intense Stella Tennant posing in a private home in Paris.
Romeo Gigli’s ad campaign was created on the computer by Franz Ankone, who used Gigli’s spring 2001 runway shots — and then elaborated on them.
Prada’s inspiration was “beach glamour” in a color ad campaign shot by Cedric Buchet in a studio. There, on the sand, among the beachgoers in their stripes and pastel skirts, are ladies in black socks and heels and men in suits. Prada’s ad budget is flat against last year’s.
Moschino continued to focus on its off-the-wall characters. “This season, the ad campaign plays with two aspects of the same person: feminine and masculine, simple and sophisticated, good and evil,” said a Moschino spokeswoman. The photographer is Nathaniel Goldberg.
Ferragamo’s ad campaign was shot by Patrick Demarchelier and features model Karolina Kurkova.

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