NEW YORK — Julianne Moore isn’t the run-of-the-mill activewear model and her five-year-old son isn’t a typical commercial photographer, but their collaboration is one of the unexpected combinations Nuala has used in its fall look book.
The days of using standard product sketches — not even photographs — seem to be drifting away for active-inspired companies trying to reinvent their brands in a more artistic light. This marks a real switch for the industry, which tends to be less trend-conscious than other categories.
Christy Turlington, who heads up Nuala, a Puma-backed label, recruited a few friends and staffers including Moore and actress Carey Lowell. Their assignment, as well as her own, was to take a self-portrait and have a loved one take one of them, too. Turlington’s husband, Ed Burns, shot her resting on a park bench, Moore’s son captured her playing with toys, Heather Mills McCartney photographed herself in a yoga position, Visionaire founder and creative director Cecilia Dean caught herself embracing her boyfriend David Selig, and Lowell photographed her own midsection.
Snowy street scenes and portraits of Turlington’s dog, Micky, are also featured in the look book. Nuala’s sales and marketing manager, Rebecca Dobrick, said, “We never have a total concept. Christy contacted some friends and women she knows. It’s more organic and evolves over time. You can see everyone’s voice is different and their personality could be anything. That’s the philosophy of what we’re about.”
Information about Adopt-A-Minefield, a nonprofit group that Turlington supports, is also featured in the books, which are available at 100-plus stores. Each season a different charity will be the focus.
“We really like to communicate the philosophy of the brand rather than the just the fashion of the season or the message of the brand,” a Nuala spokeswoman said.
Original Penguin by Munsingwear is passing out look books to shoppers at its new store at 1077 Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. (See related story on page 12.) Women’s apparel will not be sold there until February, but this gives female shoppers a hint of what’s to come, said Chris Kolbe, brand manager.
“Basically, our whole look book strategy is to invest in bookshelf marketing, as in things that will stick around for a while,” he said. “The package also shows where we’re going in the season and the personality of the brand.”
Penguins’ current version plays off the Sixties sitcom, “Get Smart,” with an exotic-looking spy and a more wholesome girl next door.
“We always want the dynamism of two different models,” Kolbe said. “We don’t want to be too singular.”
Hummel is using a color tabloid with racy photos and such cheeky phrases as “Don’t Believe the Hype” to show off its looks. The front page, for example, shows a model lifting up her micro miniskirt and wearing a midriff-baring Hummel shirt and high-heel sandals with mismatched socks, with the cover line, “Reality Bites.” There are also images of a woman dressed in a Hummel jacket, scarf, sunglasses and underpants smoking a cigarette and another of a woman licking a banana — neither of which relay anything remotely athletic about the 80-year-old soccer brand.
“We do not tell people what to wear,” said Brian Kukon, president and chief executive officer of Hummel America. “We let them put together their own unique looks.”
Christian Stadil, president of Hummel Fashion, developed the newspaper look book, which was shot in Copenhagen, where the brand is based. The book is meant to have a fashion edge and a conflicting approach, Kukon said.
“It’s a brand that has its own beat,” Kukon said. “It’s very much a clash of style meets soccer.”
Another page plugs Tibet Charity, a nonprofit group Hummel supports, and Hummel’s small collection imprinted with mantras and images of smiling buddhas. The opposite page has an image of the Dali Lama, a friend of Stadil’s.
Hummel does not advertise, but the look books are distributed in 50 doors in the U.S. The company also is considering using some of the images in its new U.S. headquarters in Burlington, Vt., and its new 1,400-square-foot showroom at 588 Broadway in New York.